Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving Recap...

Quote for the Day:
"That's what the holidays are for...
for one person to tell the stories and another to dispute 
~Lara Flynn Boyle

This week we celebrated Thanksgiving Day in the USA.  Our son, daughter-in-law and 2 grandsons came in from Georgia last Sunday and just left today.  Even though everyone was in different stages of being sick, including Andy, it was still a good visit.  Of course, I could have done without the gift of their illness that struck me down on Thanksgiving evening after dinner.  

Yep..as if falling down 2 steps onto the hardwood entryway floor on Tuesday (after climbing over the baby gate) wasn't bad enough...I finally succumbed to the crud that has been sweeping across everyone else.  

But onward and upward...since there is no where else to go when you are sick...here are some pictures from their visit...

Andrew I and Andrew III



Little Alex thought it was great fun to go up and down the stairs...




...unfortunately, he's pretty clumsy and rolled down about 10 stairs (thank God they are carpeted) so we had to put a baby gate....

...where he spent much time lamenting his captivity and looking pitiful...


Both of the grandsons LOVE LOVE LOVE playing with Grandpa on the floor...




Paul and his two sons...


Wherever Grandpa is, Andrew will be close by...



Bookend Boston Terriers...their dog, Missy, on the left, and our Ginger on the right...


Our neighbors came over to join us for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday and we had a good time chatting and laughing together...


Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday!

Loretta

Saturday, November 22, 2014

"Easy Street"...

Quote for the Day:

Easy street, Easy street
Where you sleep till noon
Yeah, yeah, yeah
She'd repeat, Easy street
Better get there soon.
Easy street, Easy street
Where the rich folks play
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Move them feet
Move them ever-lovin' feet
To easy street, Easy street.
~ "Easy Street" lyrics, from the musical Annie


DONE!  DONE!  DONE!!!  

The Bonnie Hunter 2012 mystery quilt that I started in November 2012 is FINITO!!   Bonnie named the pattern "Easy Street", but I affectionately refer to it as "Scrap Vomit"...because it looks too busy to me.  



For those who don't know what a "mystery quilt" is, quilt designers give out cutting and sewing instructions for a quilt, step by step.  However, YOU don't know what the final design is until the end when they give you the instructions on how to sew the pieces together at the end.  




Before starting this quilt, I had just finished a Christmas quilt in red, green and cream.  I wanted this quilt to be an autumn quilt, so I picked colors of the fall leaves.  

Unfortunately, while I was hoping for this quilt to be mainly brown, yellow/gold and red, it turned out to have a lot more green than I wanted.  It looked like another Christmas quilt to me.  Because of that, I wasn't terribly pleased with the way it turned out.  

I think that adding the yellow and brown borders did help to tone down the "Christmasy" part a little and did help make it look a little more "fallish".



My daughter-in-law saw the quilt top in my sewing room and raved over it, so I told her she could have it for their guest bedroom when I (finally) got it finished.  They are coming in this weekend for Thanksgiving, so I decided that I would finish it before they arrived so that they could take it home with them!   I finished quilting it last week and finished sewing down the binding 2 days ago!  Just in the nick of time!!  

I put it on the bed in our guestroom...the one they will be using while here. Then when they leave they can take it with them.   Kinda like a "door prize"!  LOL   




Loretta


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Catching-Up...

Quote for the Day:
“Being busy is better than being bored. Bored left a long time ago. 
Busy is always around for me."
~ Tabitha Robin


Guess what is FINALLY under my needle!!!


"Easy Street"!!!  This was Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt from 2012! 

I've had the top done for a while, but didn't have border fabric for it.  But when we were in Maine this past March, we went to Marden's and I found the perfect border and backing fabric for it!

I got the quilt top, batting, and backing pin-basted about 2 weeks ago but have been busy with work, so didn't get started quilting on it until today.

I'm using a variegated thread by Coats & Clark called "Fall Leaves"... gold, red, and green.



This past weekend, I attended a 2-day chiropractic conference in New Jersey with Dr. Leonette and Troy, one of the chiropractic assistants from work.  We attended lots of informative lectures and got to see...and try out...some of the newest products to help us help our patients.

(Dr. Barwell lecturing)

 (Troy, a lovely young man that I have the pleasure to work with)


Here I am trying out the Heart Rate Variability test.  This tests just how well your nervous system is working and how well your body is able to recover from stress.  Let's just say...I failed!  :(   My body has worked too long on "high alert" from being a critical care RN for 31 years.  I need to work on learning techniques to deal with stress...meditation, exercise, etc,..and give my autonomic nervous system a break!

Andy went with me to New Jersey and we stayed an extra night so that we could visit my sister, Mary Ellen, who lives in Manhattan.  She came to where we were staying and we spent the evening with her and went to dinner.  We thoroughly enjoyed our visit with her since we hadn't seen each other in almost 3 years!

Loretta

Sunday, October 19, 2014

In-Cognito....



I've been in the Federal Witness Protection Program...and that is my excuse for not blogging for the last 3 weeks!!!   

I've been taking pictures and "planning" in my brain to write blog posts, but I'm either too busy with "life" or I'm resting trying to recuperate from "life".  With our recent vacation to Georgia (that will be a post coming up soon, I hope) and working two part-time jobs, I haven't had much time to quilt, so the little amount of "down-time" that I've had lately has been spent in my quilting room bonding with the quilts I am currently working on (a subject for another blog post soon, I hope).

But for now, let me tell you about a recent event that I was fortunate enough to attend...and not just as a visitor but as an employee!

Enliven Chiropractic, the chiropractic office that I work at, moved into a bigger office/work space this past summer and then recently celebrated their 2-year Anniversary!  To celebrate both of these accomplishments with our patients and community, we held an Open House this past Friday.  

Yvette...the Office Manager

Dr. Leonette and myself...
this is THE DOC that has given me back my life!!!

(Geeze, I didn't realize he was so much taller than me till I saw this picture!  Ya know...I don't realize how short I am till I see pics of myself with somebody else!  Crazy...I know...)


left to right:  Linda (Doc's mom), Faye (longtime family friend of the Leonettes), Yvette, Rebecca (a psychologist that uses a room in our office suite), and myself





We had a good turnout and it was a lot of fun!  For a shy person like myself, it was a stretching exercise to chat with people I didn't know, but I was able to step out of my comfort zone a little and do some tours of the facility.  We were also giving free demonstrations of our Mind Spa, and I set people up with that (which is something I do there, anyway), otherwise, I busied myself with setting up and keeping the food and drink table stocked.

I am blessed to work with such a great group of people! 

Loretta 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Happy Anniversary to ME!!

Quote for the Day:
"It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver."
~Mahatma Gandhi


One year ago today, I sat in my primary care physician's office and heard these words, "We need to think about putting you on disability.  Not today, but soon."

I was at the crossroads.  My pain medicine doctor could only offer me radio frequency ablation of the nerves to help with my day-in, day-out back pain.

  • The physician uses x-ray guidance (fluoroscopy) to direct a special (radiofrequency) needle alongside the medial or lateral branch nerves.
    • A small amount of electrical current is often carefully passed through the needle to assure it is next to the target nerve and a safe distance from other nerves. This current should briefly recreate the usual pain and cause a muscle twitch in the neck or back.

    • The targeted nerves will then be numbed to minimize pain while the lesion is being created.
    • The radiofrequency waves are introduced to heat the tip of the needle and a heat lesion is created on the nerve to disrupt the nerve's ability to send pain signals.
    • This process will be repeated for additional nerves.

    Burn my nerve to stop pain impulses???  Ummm...no...thank you very much. 

    My neurosurgeon said I wasn't "bad enough" to qualify for surgery because "we don't do surgery for pain, we do surgery for function"...and I hadn't lost "function"...yet.  "But call me when you can no longer use your hands or fingers, or when you start falling, or lose bowel or bladder control."  

    Ummm...gee, thanks for that encouragement, but that doesn't sound like fun at all!

    By this time I was in my second go-around of physical therapy, but it didn't seem to be helping at all with the pain.  

    I was barely able to keep up with the part-time work load of my Recovery Room job that was 2-12 hour shifts/week.  I was definitely at a crossroads and didn't know what else to do or try for what was, by that point, a three year stint of back pain.

    As I sat in my primary care doctor's office, I told her that I wanted to try one more thing before we gave up.  I had an appointment with a new chiropractor that afternoon.  She told me to try it and see if it helped.

    Later that afternoon, I sat in Dr. Leonette's office at Enliven Chiropractic while he looked over my MRI and x-ray results that I had brought in with me.  He looked me in the eye and told me, "I can help you".  And that, folks, was like throwing a drowning person a life preserver.  He had such conviction in his voice that I couldn't help but believe him.

    He proceeded to do the initial exam, x-rays, etc.,  When he was done he said he would look over the x-rays and I was to come back the next day for my first adjustment.   

    Here it is, a year later, and not only am I NOT on disability, but I am actually working TWO part-time jobs...my Recovery Room 2 -12 hour shifts/week, AND 8-12 hours a week for Dr. Leonette!!

    Cured???  No.  But my life...and health... have been given back to me, and for that I will always be grateful!!  I am once again able to do activities of daily living that most people take for granted...but I never will again!!!

    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO ME!!!

    Loretta


    Sunday, September 7, 2014

    Kitchen Renovation DONE DONE DONE!!!

    Quote for the Day:
    "Do not plan for ventures before finishing what's at hand."~Euripides


    Almost 3 1/2 years after we started renovating our kitchen, it is FINALLY DONE!!!  You cannot even begin to fathom how happy that makes me!!!  

    At the end, Andy finally threw in the towel and told me to hire our friend, Jeff, to finish up the job.  I had been through enough waiting that I readily agreed.  The last couple of weeks have been difficult as we lived with a torn-up kitchen...everything out of the pantry and the free-standing cabinet was moved into the dining room and living room so that the kitchen could be finished up.

    The remainder of beadboard was applied to the walls, crown molding added, baseboards replaced, walls painted, and new flooring installed!  My part of the job was to paint the walls and shelves of the pantry before the flooring was to be done, so last weekend was spent doing just that.  After painting the shelves, I covered them with peel-n-stick floor tiles, which has become my modus operandi.  Since discovering that little trick on Pinterest, I now cover all of my shelving with them now.  It makes them very easy to clean and won't need to be changed in my lifetime!  And if anything ever spills on it, a sponge and soap and water makes clean-up a breeze!!  I even cover the shelves inside my cabinets with them...makes it really nice under the sink...if there is ever a water-leak, the wood of the cabinet won't get ruined!  It's like spilling water on your floor...get a towel and mop it up!  LOL

    Okay, okay, okay...twist my arm and I'll show you pictures of my new kitchen!!!

    I'll start off by showing you what the pantry looked like after I finished last weekend with the painting and shelving...



    There were free-standing plastic shelves against the left wall and in front of the window.  Those have been removed and have been replaced by chrome wire shelving units. 

    The peel-n-stick tiles on the shelves...


    Now for the kitchen tour...25 cents please!  :) 

    These are our new counter-tops.  They are laminate, but look like granite.





    This is the north-west corner of the kitchen.  The doorway to the dining room is just off to the right that you can't quite see.  I have strategically cropped out anything having to do with the dining room because of the HUMONGOUS mess in there!  ;)  I still have to apply the hardware to the doors/drawers in this bank of cabinets, but that will get done eventually.


    This is the north-east wall of the kitchen and is where the fridge resides...it was still pulled out in this picture because Andy had to run new water line to the ice maker, which he did yesterday.  The doorway to the dining room is to the left in this picture.  The door that you see on the right goes to the basement.  This picture shows the crown molding and beadboard well.


    Continuing on around the kitchen, this is the south-east wall.  The door on the left is the basement door, again, and the door with the window goes to the side part of the wrap-around porch.  


    This is the south wall.  We did the stonework two years ago, but I just got it sealed last weekend...something that has been on my "to-do" list.  It is called AirStone and was sooooooooo easy to install but really made a big impact in this kitchen.  There is a vintage, metal, free-standing cabinet that usually resides between the stove and the outside door.  It had some rust on it so I sanded and spray-painted it last weekend and it hasn't made it back into its spot, yet.  That will come later today.

    If you continue turning to the right, you will come to this wall...the west wall...


    This door leads to the walk-in pantry that I showed you in the first pictures!  Here it is with the new flooring...


    This flooring is Highland Hickory XP by Pergo.  It is 10mm laminate and has the padding already attached.  However, since we have an 86 year-old house, we decided to go ahead and put down an underlayment anyway to help keep down noise, etc.  I can tell you that this floor feels as solid and is almost as quiet as our hardwood floor that we had installed in the foyer!  This is the first laminate floor we've ever had in a house and I am quite impressed!!!

    This weekend has been spent getting things put back into the pantry in an ORGANIZED manner so that we can actually FIND THINGS when we need them!  What a concept!  LOL

    And now...I have to get back at it...there is so much to do with company coming in on Friday!!  Thanks for taking the tour!  :)

    Loretta


    Sunday, August 17, 2014

    A Tale of Two Floorings...




    After getting the last of our cabinets, sink, and dishwasher installed by Jeff last week, Andy told me to ask Jeff to finish up the kitchen renovations.  Unfortunately, that meant that we were going to need flooring much sooner than I had anticipated...like within a couple of weeks.  However, with Andy's and my work schedules, that also meant that we had limited opportunities to go shopping for flooring.

    An opportunity opened up on Friday evening for us to go looking.  Our first stop was a local discount store that carries discontinued items and always has a lot of flooring.  We found three wood laminates that we liked, so we bought a box of each to bring home and test against the cabinets.  Our next stop was Home Depot where we found some manufactured hardwood DARK "cherry" bamboo that they were discontinuing for a ridiculously low price.  I jumped on that because I thought it would be better than laminate and we bought all that we would need for the kitchen floor.

    However, when we got home I looked up the reviews online of the bamboo flooring and people said that not only did it scratch WAY TOO EASILY it SHOWED DIRT way too much!  :(  Well...since our cleaning schedule isn't exactly what we would want it to be, we decided that this flooring wasn't for us.

    That brought us back to the three boxes of flooring that we had purchased at the discount store.  Andy brought them and we tried each of them up against the cabinets.  We thought we had a winner with one of them when we checked them in the daylight hours.  However, when we "checked one more time...just to be sure" at night, it looked HORRIBLE in the artificial light.  There wasn't enough contrast between the cabinet color and the floor color, so I felt like I was in a really weird tunnel...or on a boat (you know how the inside of a boat is all wood...ceiling, walls, floor...all the same color?)  I literally felt like the walls were closing in on me!  :(




    My daughter actually has a degree in Interior Design, so she has been my guide and counselor through some of this.  When I asked her about putting laminate down in the kitchen, she recommended that it should be at least 10-12 mm thick so that is the "better" laminate and can hold up to more use and abuse.   She didn't feel we'd be happy with the way that 8 mm laminate would hold up in a high-traffic area like our kitchen.  She also gave me other pointers...like keep an extra box on hand so that if anything happens, the bad boards can be pulled up and replaced.  The laminate in the above pictures was 8 mm...so between that fact AND the fact that I felt sea-sick in my own kitchen after the sun went down, I knew that we had to take ALL of the flooring back that we had purchased on Friday and go shopping for more.  For the record, Andy was happy with this flooring...it didn't have the same tunnel/boat effect on him that it did on me.  But then Andy is the kind that grabs something off the shelf, installs it, and calls it good...regardless of the aesthetics!  

    We live in a rural area without a whole lot of choice...at least not for us that have limited budgets, so we decided that on Sunday we would get up VERY early (for me, on a weekend, anyway), return the flooring that we had bought, and then head up to Pittsburgh (100 miles away) to the nearest Lumber Liquidators store where, hopefully, we could find some flooring that suited me.  The agreement between us was that the next flooring purchase we made was going to be the final flooring purchase, so better come prepared!  

    This morning, bright and early, we took a cabinet door off of one of the cabinets (so we could put it up against the flooring we were going to look at to see how they would go together) and we returned the flooring to Home Depot.  After we did the return, I headed back out to the car to wait for Andy because he had to go to the OTHER END of the store to pay for one little item he needed.  When he got back to the car he told me about some flooring that they had stacked near the checkout registers that he thought looked "nice" and was 10 mm thick.  I kinda did an "eye roll" because I know that he and I rarely agree on what is "nice"...or even "okay"...but when he said it was 10 mm, I agreed to go back in and check it out.

    So, cabinet door in hand, we went back into the store.  When we put the door up against the flooring display, I think I almost gasped in astonishment!!!  It was PERFECT!!!  And exactly what I had envisioned all along...a darker floor to contrast with the cabinets, but not too much grain to conflict with them...and not too dark as to show dirt and scratches!  



    It is Pergo XP Highland Hickory and we ended up buying what we need for the kitchen, plus extra to keep on hand in case of a water accident, etc.

    What is funny is that the cabinets are hickory...which has a lot of grain lines, so I was looking for something that didn't have much grain line so they wouldn't "fight" with each other.  However, this flooring is hickory, too...just a darker stain!  Totally surprised me that the best flooring to go with hickory cabinets is hickory!  Who knew??

    Anyway, both Andy and I are extremely relieved that we didn't have to go all the way to Pittsburgh today to try to find flooring!  Instead, we went out to breakfast and laughed and joked and had a good time, now that all the "stress" of the whole flooring debacle was over!   We then came home and he installed a cabinet organizer under the sink and I proceeded to put my cleaning supplies away in my nice, new, slide-out basket organizer!  :)

    Loretta