Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Good News

My friend Cathy came through her lumpectomy surgery very well. The doctor did not think it had spread, but they did send tissue for a biopsy just to be on the safe side. I now have her hospital number so tomorrow I'm going to call her. Thank you again for all your prayers. I'm sure they helped.

On another front, my son once again auditioned for the principle trumpet position with the Colorado Symphony in Denver; once again they did not choose anyone. He was one of the final three. I'm very proud of him for that, but I sure wish they would pick someone. This is the second time he's auditioned for them. He did much better this time.

A holiday letter arrived yesterday with some not so good news. Betty, my former boss, mentor and very good friend has cancer. She smoked for 52 years so I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise, but it really made me sad to think of what she has to go through now. She has been diagnosed with adenoid carcinoma.

She started chemo the day before Thanksgiving. I'm going to the Bay Area to visit her the day before her next chemo. That way she will feel about as good as it's going to get before they dose her again. She is a quilter so we can talk quilts endlessly. My quilting buddy Linda is in Mexico on vacation so I have no one to talk to about quilts except myself, which I do very well thank you.

She is being cared for at the UCSF Cancer Care Treatment Center in San Francisco. They are very good .

I guess we are not done praying yet.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Meet My New Sewing Machine

I've actually gotten it to sew. It looks a lot more complicated than it is. The top flips up; that's where the thread holder and bobbin winder are located. It's a little taller than my old one but much lighter in weight because it's all plastic. I get classes on how to use it. I'm going to take them; I learn much better when someone shows me how to do something. Although the manual is pretty good.

It was on sale; 40% off which brought the price down from $1100 to $700 plus tax. My limit that I wanted to spend was $700 so this worked out nicely. The saleswoman sat me down in front of a Bernina and told me she'd be right back. It was the most expensive machine in the store, $6,000. I quickly moved to another location and told her that I was not buying a Bernina.

Once I decided I really liked this one she still tried to move me up $400 to an adjacent Janome.

We took my old machine to the place that repaired it five weeks ago. I was getting ready to complain loudly when the manager of the store told me I had it on the wrong settings. I had fabric with me so he readjusted the settings and it sewed beautifully. This all occurred after I had purchased the new one. Oh well, every house needs two sewing machines. Now I have one to lend.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Grinch Has Moved To Lincoln And He Broke My Sewing Machine

It is not working...AGAIN. One minute it was fine, the next it won't feed the fabric through. The feed dogs work just fine. Grrr!

I was in the middle of piecing a quilt block when it happened so now I am hand sewing the block together. Actually it's sort of fun to do it and think about the early quilters who had no choice but to hand sew. I'm sure that will wear off.

I had pledged fidelity to my ancient Sears Kenmore machine, but now I'm having second thoughts. I went on line to look at sewing machines on Consumer Reports. I'm going sewing machine shopping tomorrow in Sacramento. I'm going to a store that sells nothing but sewing machines and has reconditioned ones as well.

I'll get my old machine fixed and then just use it as a back up. I had decided to buy a new iron because the old one leaks water when I use the steam spray. Joann's fabric is having a sale on Rowenta irons so I may get one this week.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Prayers And Positive Energy Needed

The lovely young girl in the bottom right hand photo is my friend Cathy. We grew up together except that she got polio and ended up in that chair. Now she scoots around Phoenix in a bright red scooter, very cool. As if polio wasn't enough, now she has breast cancer. She's been through all the tests and on Monday, Nov. 26th she will have a lumpectomy on her left breast; ten days later she will start radiation treatment (the seed kind).

She called me this morning to tell me about it and to ask for my prayers. I agreed and then decided I should get the universe of bloggers involved. So whether you pray, send energy or just think good thoughts, she needs them starting this Monday morning.

This is sort of a double whammy because she will not be able to use her left arm for ten days after the surgery. When your legs don't work you count on your arms to make up for them. So she will go to an extended care facility where her needs will be taken care of and she can heal until she can use her left arm. Good news is that her dog Buddy can visit and so can her husband Ray.

The dorky looking girl standing alone in two photos to the left is me. I look like I'm ready to enlist in one photo and practicing for my wedding day when I will cut the cake in the other one. The other photos are some of my friends in Robbinsdale, Minnesota probably around 1953. Notice the ugly wallpaper on our dining room walls. I remember it vividly. It was on all the walls. It was liking having a forest cave in on you if you were in the room too long.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Palm Desert And Carnegie Hall

There is a relationship between the two. I was in Palm Desert when Mark told me that he will play with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on Friday, Feb. 15, 2008. I know, it's a pretty feeble connection. I am so happy for him and so very proud.

Several years ago I bought him a T-shirt that said "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" The answer on the back said, "practice, practice, practice." Well he did and he's going.

He auditioned for a spot with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra last year, came in second and has been called periodically ever since to substitute or play when there are additional trumpets needed for a piece. Two weeks before Carnegie Hall he will play the same program in St. Louis.

He hates it when I brag about him so when he reads this he will probably not be really happy. But, why have children if you can't brag.

Palm Desert was very relaxing. One day I spent the whole afternoon in bed watching a show about the "juiciest Hollywood couples of the year." It was so trashy but I loved every minute of it.

I did get quite exercised each night as I sat on the patio and watched the sprinklers turn on on the golf course in front of our villa (condo). This is the time of year when they reseed both courses. That means they water a lot. It just irks me that no one there thinks about it what they are doing to the Colorado River. I never saw a single purple pipe the whole time I was there. Waste water would be just fine for their precious grass.

I managed to not eat any beef the entire week. Kerry succumbed the last night we ate out but he only ate half of a very small steak. I just ate fish, a bit of chicken, cheese and salad and was just fine. One of the best dinners I had was a tamale stuffed with goat cheese and smothered in cheese and tomato sauce. The sweet tamale was perfect with the tart goat cheese.

The drive back and forth (533 miles each way) was uneventful and boring. The Prius got about 47 mpg, but we were driving 75 most of the time or it would have been better. I need to have my tire pressure checked again. You get better mileage when the pressure is up around 40.

We went to a quilt shop in Palm Desert; I was going through fabric withdrawal. Great shop. I bought some fabric, learned an important trick for keeping the quilt backing from wrinkling and got a nifty new tool to help me pin the quilt for quilting without destroying my fingers. Plus Susan found some beautiful fabric that she bought for a Thanksgiving table cloth.

Tomorrow I get my real crown for my mangled tooth. I got my Visa bill today. It would have been a whole lot less if I hadn't had that Tootsie Pop.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 08, 2007

When Is A Desert Not A Desert?

Answer: in Palm Springs, CA. All the water you see in the photo is from the Colorado River. This is one of several reasons why the Colorado River is in danger. It's the Marriott Springs Resort in Palm Desert.

This is where we will be staying starting on Saturday night for seven days. The family timeshare is not in the hotel proper but is on the grounds of the hotel. It's a condo-type arrangement.

I'm always outraged at how the area around Palm Springs makes use of water. This hotel has a lake in the lobby! If you are staying at the hotel, you can take a boat from the lobby to some of the rooms and the restaurant. It's a big enough boat to carry life jackets plus it has to be inspected by the Coast Guard. As the boat leaves the lobby dock, two very large glass doors open and the boat passes out into the sunshine.

The timeshare is something that Kerry's dad bought several years before he died. Now the family enjoys it in November and February each year. Very laid back; lots of good food and company. I may not get a chance to post but I will be thinking about all of you...right.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Food, Glorious Food

We are having BLTs tonight for dinner. All the ingredients are within the 100-mile diet, except for the lettuce and the mayo. I know the lettuce is from California. The mayo is Best Foods.

Yesterday I got the bacon at the Farmers's Market from Bob at Coffee Pot Ranch in nearby Sheridan. The tomatoes are from Mulberry Lane Organic Farm ,which is across the field from me and the bread is from a small Roseville bakery which is not far away. I don't know where the wheat was grown. Kerry likes to have an egg on his BLT. Those are from our neighbor Mulberry Lane Organic Farm.

When we read "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and discovered some things that we didn't like about mass-produced food we sort of talked about trying to eat differently. Slowly over time I've taken on the role of foraging for food. Not in the sense that cavemen and women did but in the sense that your supermarket does not have everything that is good for you. You search for what is good for you and in the process meet all kinds of wonderful people.

I never thought I would be this way. To me food has always been comfort; I didn't care where it came from as long as it filled me up. That has changed. Today I stood in line at Starbucks, gazed at the sweets and then just ordered a latte. I know, I know Starbucks is not everyone's favorite. But when you live where I live and want coffee you know that at Starbucks it has not been sitting on the burner for hours, you go for what you can count on...Starbucks.

Last night we had steak from a nearby rancher in Nevada County; it was delicious. The vegetables (three types of zucchini and tiny Japanese eggplant and onions) were from a local organic farm.

I'm sorry if I'm boring you with all of this, but I just feel like I have discovered food all over again. Just like "Oliver" said, it's food, glorious food.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 04, 2007

An Iris Blooms In November

I've never had one bloom this time of year; it's one of the ones I transplanted because they were getting too crowded, which limits their blooming. I moved the rhizome in early September and here we are two months later and it's blooming.

It's been a busy weekend. We went to buy our tickets for the Placer County Art Tour that we do each year. We got the map and headed out to one of our favorites, but the gate was closed. So then we decided to go to a nearby winery that we like: Fawnridge. It's small and unpretentious with nice people running it. The husband still has his day job teaching psychology at two community colleges. They were the ones who told us we were a week too early for the art tour. So we tasted and bought some delicious wines including a port that I'm going to use on a pork roast I'm fixing today.

A photographer from the Sacramento Bee was there; she was delighted to see tasters because she was hoping to get some photos in the tasting room. There is a brouhaha going on in this county about wineries and their tasting rooms. Most of them are small and you travel down, sometimes private, and usually dirt roads to reach the tasting rooms. The county has written an ordinance that would restrict the operation of tasting rooms during most of the year. It's 18 pages long. Nevada County, which is right next to Placer, has a one-page ordinance. Anyway the Sacramento Bee is doing a story on this and wanted to have pictures at a small winery's tasting room. We obliged. I was ready for a nap after tasting wine at noon. The winery web site is: http://www.fawnridgewine.com

The Fawnridge winery owners also told us about the "100-mile diet" during the course of our conversation about the importance of buying wine locally. No, you don't have to walk 100 miles but you do try to make sure the food you buy was grown and produced within a 100-miles radius of your home. It's a great way to reduce carbon. The web site is: http://100milediet.org The web site allows you to put in your zip code so you get a map of what 100 miles looks like for you. Ours includes San Francisco. The couple who wrote the book live in Vancouver, B.C. so the web site can handle Canadian postal codes.

Thanks to them I've discovered more sources of locally grown meat and vegetables. My favorite place is Flying Mule Farm. They actually farm the old-fashioned way with mules. The farm raises goats, lamb and vegetables. In addition I found a farmer's market that stays open all year in nearby Auburn. It's a lot more fun to shop this way. My Prius produces less carbon than those huge semi trailer trucks that deliver to big grocery store chains.

Today, I just got off the treadmill and am going to spend the rest of the day quilting. It's 80 here today.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 01, 2007

My Only Trick Or Treater

came to me on his mother's blog this morning. Max unfortunately decided he didn't want to go outside so there is a limited showing of his fantastic costume, which his mother made. Max is my sister's grandbaby; he lives in Minneapolis with mom, Minna, and dad, Michael.

We've never had trick or treaters at this house; we are too far off the road and the houses are too far apart. Kids go into town so they can get a lot of stuff in a short distance.

But every year we are prepared. The first few years we had a bag of bubble gum. That finally got so hard that no one's teeth could have survived biting into them. So Tuesday Kerry bought a new bag of bubble gum. After my expensive tootsie pop you can bet I'm not going near bubble gum.

My brother reported an interesting thing at Don's funeral on Tuesday. In Kentucky, where it took place, you can still smoke anywhere you want. The funeral home had ashtrays with their name and logo on them. And the ashtrays were being used. All sorts of ways to drum up business.

Well, that's all folks. The weather is warm and sunny here. My iris is even further along in the blooming process. I'll post a picture when it's open.
Posted by Picasa