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Archive for April, 2008

Amazingly we got on the road only eight minutes after our planned departure time, which was 9:00. We stopped at the Little Yellow Store and bought some ice for the cooler. We also had a chance to say hi to Jake, an absolutely beautiful black lab pup.

It was a beautiful, sunny day and we made good time, until we entered the Cross Bronx Expressway. We came to a screeching halt and sat in traffic for over an hour, barely moving. The was an accident just before the George Washington Bridge. We only traveled one mile in 30 minutes and it took us four hours to travel 159 miles! YUCK!!!

If that wasn’t bad enough we hit more heavy, slow traffic 40 miles outside of Lancaster. The seven hour trip took us nine and it was 7:00 PM by the time we pulled into the Howard Johnson in Lancaster.

Fuel on the New Jersey Turnpike was only $3.17/gal. but the lines were very long and we didn’t want to spend any more time sitting and waiting. The price was $3.49 in Lancaster when we arrived but by the time we walked to Friendly’s for dinner, half an hour later, it was up to $3.53!

It was beautiful to see the plowed and planted rolling farmland looking just like a beautiful patchwork quilt and the sprawling farms where the fields were rows of light and dark browns and greens. It was a long, aggravating day but we traveled safely and arrived without incident. That’s a happy ending.

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We have been planning this trip since late last fall. Once we realized that we had a time share to use prior to year’s end and wouldn’t be able to do so, we paid a little extra and booked this trip. I’m working tonight and get off at 7 AM; we plan to leave as early as possible in the morning, hopefully by 9. I’ll report on how well that works out; we don’t move as efficiently as we always think we will.

This was a busy day. I dutifully did my 30 minutes at the gym this morning right after work. I went to “coffee club” in Springvale and visited for a little while. Ran home, showered and changed, then out again for some quick errands. I spent the rest of the day packing everything I will need for 6 weeks in Williamsburg. Oh yeah, we are only going for a week. I just can’t seem to pack “small”. I always try to pack only the necessities but always have more than I need. Most of the problem is climate…I need shorts, sleeveless tops and sandals, then I need long pants, t-shirts or blouses, shoes and socks. I need a light jacket, windbreaker and raincoat for the days that we are caught in drenching rain (don’t plan on that happening this trip). On top of all that I need the hair products, styling tools, makeup, etc.

I packed in my small carry-on suitcase. I am extremely impressed that it didn’t explode and spew clothes over the entire bedroom once I got the darn thing zipped. I also packed my large duffle bag with the items I need for the two nights we are stopping in Lancaster, PA. Lancaster is a little out of the way but we love the area and especially the fabrics and Amish crafts. We find that fabric is consistently priced 1/3 to 1/2 less than in our area. A couple of our favorite shops are Zooks and The Old Country Store.

I’m looking for 30’s fabrics in order to participate in the exchange on MQResource. Bee fabric and some Funky Monkey fabric is on my list as I want to make quilts for each of the kids. I’ll be looking for some notions as well. I’m sincerely planning on using some willpower when it comes to fabric. I don’t really need anything as I have more than I can store already. I have been to the Lancaster area several times on bus trips but have never seen Williamsburg.

We have purchased an annual pass for Williamsburg as it includes some evening programs that we would have had to pay extra for with the purchase of a three day pass. We don’t have any specific plans. We are a “fly by the seat of our pants” kind of couple doing whatever seems right at the time.

I talked with Vanessa earlier and things remain status quo. Her Dr. appt. yesterday went well with no changes: continued bed rest. They have a fairly good support system including friends from church. They are bringing some meals, visiting and playing games. That makes the time go faster for Vanessa and takes some of the weight off Greg’s shoulders although he still has plenty to do. They both seem to be in good spirits and tomorrow is week 32. Yeah!

I’m looking forward to working on the “Oriental Flower” when I return. There are several ideas for the background running through my head and Tracye on MQResource has given me some instruction on a diamond background that she used on her “Hell Bent for Leather” quilt.

I bought a sketch book today so I can practice quilting patterns and some doodling. I have been using scrap pieces of paper and trying to keep track of them. I drew a feather that is actually pretty good but I haven’t been able to duplicate it. At least I have proof that it’s in there somewhere.

PS. It was 84* today.

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How many times can a person say WOW! in one day? That was the question that came to mind last night after a day at MQX (machine quilters expo). This is a quilt show in Manchester, NH that highlights machine quilters and their creations. Su and I spent several hours wandering through spectacular quilts exclaiming WOW after every new turn. We also got to see many of the entries in this year’s $100,000 Quilting Challenge. WOW!! It amazes me the creative ideas and workmanship that exist around me (even if it’s not right in my backyard).

Every brand of quilting machine was exhibited as well. Although I yearn for one of these machines, there wasn’t much point in spending time trying each machine or asking a million questions when it’s just not in the cards right now. When I can afford one and have the space for one, I’ll go shopping for one. In the meantime I will just envy the work that is done on one.

I had a wonderful time spending the day with Su. She did very well considering the number of “spoons” it took for her to walk around for several hours. I know she will pay for it today and maybe into tomorrow. It always amazes me how well she copes with her illness; she compensates very well. I wonder how well I would handle the situation if the cards had been reversed and I was the one that was chronically ill. I fear that I would not be nearly as strong a person. I admire her. I know that her time is precious and I’m so grateful that she allowed me to share some of it with her.

I heard from Wendy that Vanessa was home. From what I understand she is staying downstairs in the living room because that is where she can watch the TV. Wendy said that Greg is going to work from home for four days. It should be interesting since Vanessa is not supposed to get up except to use the bathroom or take a quick shower. Everything she needs will have to be provided by Greg. It will be an extended stressful time for each of them.

Wendy went to the baby shower for Ryan today. He is the baby she made the quilt for. Jen and her husband were very appreciative of the quilt and said that it will match Ryan’s bedroom which is blue with stars.

I was able to finish up the “Birthday Quilt” today. Su gave it to me for my birthday about three years ago. Although it is actually a wallhanging and it took me a short amount of time to piece it, I have been using it to practice my free motion quilting. I did some outline stitching in the flower area, some stitch-in-the-ditch, some stippling (which is my downfall) some free-motion outlining of the leaves and some “squiggly squares” in the outside border. Sue N. saw it while I was working on it today and really liked it. She mentioned that I could always give it to her. Soooo, that’s exactly what I will do on her next birthday. That makes it truly the “Birthday Quilt”.

I did manage to meet Bill at the gym after work for 30 minutes on the cardio machines.

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It was warm enough to sit in the sun for an hour today and get sunburned (oops).

Bill and I have joined the new Planet Fitness gym in town. It opened on Tuesday; it’s bright, clean and a pleasant place to be…good energy. I went both Tues. and Wed. mornings after work for a 30 minute walk on the treadmill. There is an audio port which allows the user to listen to one of five television programs or music. I went again with Bill in the afternoon plus did some tricep exercises. My arms have started to look “old” only because I have been lazy about exercising. Other than the yoga and spinning occasionally, I haven’t been doing any work at the gym and it’s definitely showing. We went first thing this morning once we were both out of bed. We did the treadmill and some leg exercises. It was nearly 11:00 by the time we had breakfast.

Once that was cleaned up, we sat outside for awhile. There was a little breeze and we were warmer once we moved to the small area near the tub. Even though we sat out for an hour, I had a jacket on for a short time. I only had about 30 minutes of direct sun but it was enough to give me a sunburn. I am usually very diligent about putting on sunscreen but I didn’t have any with me today. It is kind of nice to have a little color.

Vanessa remains hospitalized but she has been doing very well since Saturday. I talked with Greg this afternoon and she will probably be released tomorrow or Saturday. She is worried about the baby shower on the 27th but her Dr. said there were no guarantees and suggested that they postpone it for a couple of weeks.

Bill has a diagnosis of “frozen shoulder” from the orthopedic surgeon. That’s better than the torn rotator cuff that he was worried about. He will undergo 6 weeks of PT and see if there is any improvement. If not there are a couple of other options, short of surgery. He will be out of work for three weeks.

I haven’t had any opportunity to quilt in the last several days. However, I was able to get the label stitched onto Wendy’s baby quilt on Tuesday evening. She stopped by and picked it up. She seems very pleased and promised to take a couple of photos.

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Vanessa remains in the hospital but things are stable. Saturday was not a very good day. She was weaned off the “anti-contraction” meds Friday night and experienced more contractions on Saturday. On top of that, she started running a low grade fever. The highs and lows of that day were very stressful on both Greg and Vanessa. However, by Saturday night the fever had abated and the contractions had slowed.

Sunday was a good day with only 6 contractions per hour. The Dr. felt that it was safe to move her from the intensive care section of maternity to the prenatal section where there is less monitoring. I spoke with Greg this afternoon (Monday) and she was still doing well. She has to have three good days in a row before they will consider releasing her.

In other news…I was able to get the binding sewn on Wendy’s baby quilt by stealing a few minutes here and there. I finished hand stitching the border to the back on Saturday. It turned out very well; I think Wendy did a great job piecing it. She could have done the border herself if there had been more time before the shower. I drafted a label today which included a short poem about tiny fingers and Wendy was happy with it. I hope to get it printed onto the fabric tomorrow and sewn on before the weekend.

Wendy has made this quilt for the baby born to one of her college roommates. He was due in May but was born in January at only 24 weeks; weighing in at a little over one pound. He has had heart and eye surgery during the last three months and now weighs more than six pounds.

I have spent all my free time the last week getting Wendy’s quilt finished and haven’t had a chance to work on any of my projects. I’m not even sure what to tackle next; I should have some time the end of the week

This week promises to be more like spring with temps reaching into the 60’s. YEAH!!! We heard the peepers last night on our way home from dinner at Billy’s.

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It must have been a frightening day yesterday for Greg and Vanessa. After talking with Greg this morning, I learned that not only was Vanessa dilated 1 cm. but she was also having contractions 1 – 3 minutes apart. Vanessa is wearing a contraction monitor but the report on the baby is that she is doing fine and is not under any stress. They have placed Vanessa on magnesium to stop the contractions and today everything seems to be okay. She has also received two injections of medication that will boost the baby’s lung development. Vanessa will continue on the medication until Friday, at which time they will stop the meds and she how she does. If everything is stable she will return home on Saturday to complete bed rest for 4 weeks. At this time she is 30 weeks along. If she deliver prior to 32 weeks, she will have to be moved to Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston as her hospital does not have the facilities to care for a baby that premature. However, if she does not deliver until after 32 weeks, she will be able to stay at the current hospital.

Greg sounds good and says he is doing okay. He will be working from home today and will go into the hospital to spend the evening with Vanessa, same routine tomorrow assuming everything remains stable. I spent some time this morning sitting quietly and sending Reiki to the three of them. Wendy was pretty upset when I talked to her this morning. She is working so that should keep her mind occupied most of the day.

I’m going to make a cup of coffee and head upstairs to the sewing machine to work on Wendy’s baby quilt. The weather today is beautiful; sunny skies, a little breeze and already 54* at 10:30. If I work fast enough on the quilt I may be able to get a walk in this afternoon.

I did go for a wonderful walk to the grocery store and back. I wasn’t sure how warm it would be so I wore long pants, a long sleeve shirt and a fleece jacket. The jacket ended up wrapped around my waist very quickly and I was very “dewy” by the time I returned home. It felt so good to be outside getting some exercise.

I spent the rest of the day finishing up the quilting and was going to try to get the binding on before I went to bed; however, by the time it reached 11:30 PM I decided I had to get to bed. Tomorrow’s another day…

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My daughter-in-law, Vanessa, left a message on my home answering machine advising me that she was on her way to the hospital. She had a regularly scheduled Dr. appt. today and it was discovered that she is 1 cm. dilated. Very disturbing news; their baby girl is not due until June 19. Greg left a message on my cell phone around 8:30PM that he was headed home and everything was okay for now. I believe he mentioned that she was having some contractions as well (a cell phone message is not always crystal clear).  He was going to sleep at home (probably not very well), work from home tomorrow, then return to the hospital. It appeared that Vanessa would have to spend a day or two there until they determine what is going on.

We are acquainted with several young woman who have delivered their babies prematurely in the last year or so. It is uncanny. I find it very emotional when I think of the stress they have endured and the heavy financial burden they will have to deal with. I am praying that this baby girl will stay put until closer to her due date and sending some Reiki as well.

Bill and I had a very busy day today. We got up early so that I could get to my hair appt. by 10:00, which meant leaving by 9:00 since my hairdresser is in Portland. I had her razor cut my hair today because I love the way Wendy’s hair is styled. I’m not sure how satisfied I am at this point; one side is very layered while the other side doesn’t appear to be and seems longer. I kept it tucked behind my ears most of the day. I won’t know for sure how bad it is until I do it myself tomorrow.

From there we went to Henry VIII’s for a roast beef sandwich. It is, by far, one of the best sandwiches around. We had a dance lesson at Maine Ballroom on Congress Street at 2:00. We purchased a package of lessons prior to Greg’s wedding and still had three lessons remaining. We are working on the silver level Fox Trot as well as some Tango refresher. Deb Cantara is a sweet person and she is very patient when it comes to teaching us to dance. We are not the best and never will be but we have a good time, usually. I find it very frustrating to think of all the money I have spent learning to dance and how little I can remember. Now I’m spending more money to learn most of the steps over again. The fact is…we need to dance more. Just like everything else…practice, practice, practice.

We ran some errands when we returned to town. I picked up the binding for the baby quilt Wendy is making. Hopefully I will get the quilting done tomorrow and get the binding on so that I can hand stitch the back over the weekend. She needs to have it for a baby shower on the 20th.

We took a class at adult ed tonight also. It was Yoga Mudras involving the hands. There were only three of us and we had an opportunity to practice some of the hand positions, feel the energy flow and discuss it among ourselves. I would like to incorporate this energy work into my daily life but I don’t always make the time necessary to meditate and do energy work. I need to make it a priority but I also want quilting to be a priority and exercise and yoga and so on… It was after the class that I found the messages about Vanessa and the baby.

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