Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Books: The Cellist of Sarajevo

The Cellist of Sarajevo, by Steven Galloway -- This book tells the tale of several individuals who try to keep on living in a city battered by war -- constant bombardment of shells and snipers from the hills above the city. When one goes out and about, it is a crap shoot whether one will survive another day or will be cut off by a sniper.

A cellist sits in a rubble-filled street and plays a tune to honor 22 people who were killed by a shell attack while standing in the bread line.

A man with a load of bottles traverses the city to get his family's water supply for the next couple of days.

A man still has a job (a rare thing, indeed) in a bakery and runs the gauntlet of the war-torn city while attempting to go to work.

The bread line deaths and the cellist are a true story. The rest is fiction, including the story of the cellist himself. This is a clear, sad, moving story of life amidst modern warfare that makes no sense. There are some happy and redeeming moments, too. It's an excellent look at the human spirit and the will to live.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Quilt Show - First Glimpse

Our guild's quilt show started yesterday, so I ran over to get my first glimpse at it.

First quilts you see as you enter the museum and then enter the display itself:

Our friend, D., who died in February, made this wonderful Harry Potter quilt, and the one next to it is a tribute to her grandmother. I'll get a picture of that one later.

Below: I like how they decorated with umbrellas to fit our theme of "A Shower of Quilts."
Some beautiful machine quilting on this piece!

Recognize my bookshelf and then my Teeny Tiny one made out of teeny tiny scraps?

I've never been crazy about crazy quilts, but I like this modern take on it. And there's my scrap Trip quilt.

Below: My friend, M., made this fabulous outdoor scene quilt, with some 3-D pieces. All those items on the clothesline stand out from the background, in a 3-D way. Wow!
K. made this scrap one using a pattern out of the book "Sunday Morning Quilts." Those pieces are really small!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Daze

It's been a whirlwind of activity around here. My mom, as you may recall, has been in and out of the hospital. They finally got a diagnosis: Palindromic Rheumatism, which means sudden onset of joint pain and swelling. She kept having these attacks which came out of nowhere and seemed to go away just as mysteriously. We were relieved when they finally got a diagnosis. Apparently it's a fairly rare condition.

In addition to that, they found tumors on her ovary. At first they said it looked benign, but the oncologist thinks it is cancerous. There are also spots on her liver, so they are going to biopsy the liver spots. (They won't biopsy the ovarian tumors because of fear of spreading it into other parts of her abdomen.) The biopsy is today; we have several days to wait for results, and then we'll see.

As Mom is 93 years old, I'm sure she won't choose much treatment for cancer, IF she has cancer. But we need to wait and see what her options are. I don't want to jump the gun, but it sure is a weird and scary thought that my elderly mother may have cancer.

The other thing happening to me is that I have been the victim of Identity Theft. What a pain in the everything! It requires so many phone calls and changing things around and filling out forms and watching this and watching that. Ugh. Thank you, Low Life Hacker Person, whoever you are. Get a life.

I have also been sewing, through all the "stuff" going on; it keeps me sane. I am working on a quilt top. It is made of a block design that I might have made up. I don't know, really. I put these pieces together, years ago, and named it "Minnesota Nice," as I didn't know if it was already a true block design or not. It certainly could be, as it is traditional parts just put together... anyway, I lost my drawing of "Minnesota Nice" until just recently. I was happy when I found it, because I'd wondered over the years what it was and how it would look in multiples. Here it is in progress. I have a couple more rows to go. It's going to be a little bigger than the usual kid quilts I make. Not sure yet where this one will go.

Husband has been super busy doing two jobs, and winter seems never-ending. This morning it was 11 degrees F, and yesterday it snowed. Yesterday there was a 61-car pile-up due to the snow and slippery conditions. Happy Spring, Minnesota!

A quilt I finished recently:

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Books: Mr. Penumbra

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan: This book is of a type that I rarely read. I suggested it for a book club, so I had to read it. The story includes wizardry (sort of), code-breaking, computer geeks, technology, and trying to solve hundred-year-old mysteries. This is a book type that I usually avoid.

I was a little curious to see how the story would unfold, but I kept feeling uninterested, and I was impatient for the story to end. I didn't feel any sort of rapport with any of the characters. The only redeeming part was that it revolves around books and a bookstore, two things that I love.

Not my cup of tea; I can't recommend this book. Use your time to read something that is engaging and stirring and makes you think. This book did none of that for me.

a bookstore in Czech Republic

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Round and Round We Go

This is getting old. Mom went home from the hospital and was feeling GREAT. But during that first night at home, she once again was in pain, and it has been getting worse.

I came back home, because I have things to do, and I thought Mom's pain was at a bearable level until she sees the doctor again this week. It was true at the time, but after I left, her pain got a lot worse.

My sister is staying with Mom tonight. She lives in the same town and has been overburdened with Mom care. That's one reason I like to go to help out -- not only to be with my mom, but to give my sister a break, too.

We're worried about our mom, and my sister is getting exhausted and losing sleep along with my mom's loss of sleep. This is frustrating. No one seems to really know what is going on with our mom. Prayers and good thoughts are being requested once again.

Hoping to have good news that is lasting good news.... soon.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Mom: Good News

My mom is doing very well! She recovered from her awful bout of "inflammatory gout." They found a couple of other slight issues which they will be watching - nothing life threatening. And she'll be getting physical therapy at home, which is nice. She is going home from the hospital today!

Thank you so much for all the comments and thoughts and prayers. I REALLY appreciate each one!!

Now I have to figure out when to drive back home. We got about 5 inches of snow overnight, and more on the way. With snow also about to start back at home... who knows when is the best driving?!

Spring is coming... spring is coming...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

My Mom's Struggle

My mother is in the hospital for the second time this week. They are not sure what is going on with her. I am going to be spending time with my mom, so I probably won't be blogging for a few days.

I'll admit I'm feeling nervous and a tad freaked out. Prayers and good thoughts are appreciated.

my mom with her most recent great-grandchild

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Left-Footed Sewing

Lately my right foot has been bothering me. I thought I might have injured it while kicking ice chunks off my car (near the tires). Then I thought it might be repetitive motion injury from constantly sewing and using my foot on the foot pedal too much over the last 15 years. So I have started left-footed sewing, to give my right foot a break.

It doesn't seem to be making much difference to my right foot. It still hurts. I told husband it is probably bone cancer. I probably shouldn't joke, but that's what came to mind. I suppose I'll have to break down and go to a doctor. Maybe it's gout! My mother has had gout in her foot... and the doctor thinks her recent heart attack scare was actually gout (in her arm and hand). Maybe I inherited her tendency to experience gout. Lovely. I always thought of it as an "old person's" condition. I'm not old enough to have gout!! Am I?

Anyway, I have been sewing left-footed, and for the most part it isn't too bad. It's a little bit awkward, but not as bad as writing left-handed. I've been able to make a boat load of blocks. Over at Sunshine we are having a Lent challenge: make a block for every day of Lent. That's over 40 blocks. I got a head start, knowing that some days I won't want to do any sewing. I think I am done with the month of March, or almost done (Lent started on March 5). Here are my blocks so far:

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Books: The All-Girl Filling Station

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg

A 60 year-old woman discovers a secret about herself that rocks her world. She takes a look at herself from childhood on up and re-discovers herself. Meanwhile it switches between the past and present with a parallel story (of course, the stories merge in the end). It is quite humorous; I giggled often. The ending dragged a little; otherwise it was a good read and an interesting look at women's lives from the 40s to present day.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Scare at 1:00 A.M.

Last night I went to bed late, about 12:30 P.M. After reading in bed for a while, I dozed off and had just slipped into a nice sleep when the phone rang at 1:00 A.M. I had to move to another room, because it was our land line, not our cell phones.

I didn't get to the phone in time, but I could hear my sister's voice on the answering machine saying something about "Mom" and "hospital." When one's mom is 93 years old, and this call comes at 1:00 A.M., one doesn't think pleasant thoughts. I immediately called my sister back, and found that she was in the car, following an ambulance carrying our mother to the hospital. (They live 150 miles from here.)

Mom had been experiencing chest and left arm pain; she doesn't willingly call doctors, or even complain about pain, so you know it was really bothering her when she called my sister in the wee hours. My sister told her to call 911, and then went there to follow them to the hospital.

That was all I knew. I went back to bed but lay there wide awake, thinking of all the possibilities. Is my mom scared? What are they doing to her? What will it be like if my mom dies? We four siblings will be "orphans." (Our dad died 12 years ago.) If she is really sick and becomes feeble, will we need to put her in a nursing home? She'll hate that. If she is hospitalized for more than a day, I'll need to go visit her.. what shall I pack? When this happened to my dad, I ended up staying in town right through his funeral, and I had not been prepared. (I had to go shopping for funeral clothes.) My son just moved to Korea. How will I get word to him, and how will he feel, being alone so many miles away?

I finally got back to sleep, but woke up much earlier than normal this morning and found a message from my sister: they determined it was not a heart attack. They don't know what is causing the pain. They gave her pain medication and an arm sling and sent her home.

What? It's a relief, but... what was causing the pain? I'm glad that I don't have to live through any of the scenarios that went through my mind in the middle of the night. Some day, yes, I'll have to. But not this time. *whew!* I still have my mom.

Monday, March 10, 2014

My Mom is 93

We had a fun weekend celebrating my mom's 93rd birthday and my niece's birthday. Sister from NY came, so the three sisties were together which is always fun.

Our bro from KY couldn't make it.

Here's Mom:

and other family members... I guess I mostly snapped the little kids and missed a few people in my shots (bummer):

H with his legs straight up in the air.. funny boy. That's the quilt I made for his sister.

and a quilty treat for you.. this beauty hangs in my mom's church. It was made by a former pastor's sister: