Friday, October 22, 2010

Adios Computer!


Wednesday was a sad day.... my faithful, fully-loaded, hardworking computer died an untimely death.  It got infected with some killer virus and could not be revived.  The computer repair guy was honest with me; he might be able to fix it but he couldn't guarantee it and it would cost about half what a new computer would cost.

So, my almost 6 year old baby is gone.  It's very sad as I got it when I was working from home and my previous company had loaded it up with all kinds of great software, which I am missing big time!  And my fonts!  And my music!  All gone....

Fortunately, my husband just got a laptop at his new job so I have his 5 month old super duper HP Pro Book.  For about $150 I was able to set it up on a docking station so I still have access to all my peripherals, (speakers, pen tablet, scanner, printer, external hard drive. etc.....).  And since I save everything to my external hard drive I didn't lose any important documents or photos...yeah, smart me!

I also still have the discs for my expensive graphic design software so I can download them.  I only have to replace a couple of programs I use regularly.  All in all, it could be soooooo much worse!

Speaking of which, my son just got the all clear from his doctors.  Turns out there wasn't anything nasty or scary going on and we were all able to breathe a sigh of relief.  I spoke with his primary doctor this morning and he admitted that he was pretty worried in the beginning because his symptoms were so unusual.  So, now we're doing 3 month check ups and he'll be able to continue with his sports.

There was one interesting development, and you may want to pass this on.  Turns out that he has a Vitamin D deficiency.

The doctor asked me if he spent a  lot of time in the sun and I was honestly able to say, YES!  We live in California so it's sunny from April - November, nearly every day.  This summer he was playing sports outside a total of 13 hours a week,  which is a lot when you consider the temperatures are often in the 90s. And that's on top of normal outside play time. 

Then he asked me the $60,000 question; does he use sunscreen? Now, my son's heritage is mostly Irish, with some English, Swedish, and a little Native American thrown in.  He's very light skinned and actually is lucky to have a beautiful "peaches and cream" complexion.  So, I do slather him with sunscreen, which I thought was what I was supposed to do.  Well, yes, and no.  It's one of those things where you have to pick your poison; possible skin cancer or Vitamin D deficiency? 

Turns out this is becoming more common amongst kids today.  The parents slather them with 30+ SPF sunscreen, and the kids don't get enough Vitamin D from the sun.  We're going to be amping up all sources of Vitamin D in his diet, cutting the sunscreen back to a 15, and he's going to be taking drops 3 times a week.

So next time you see someone slathering their kid up with high SPF you might want to mention that they are putting their kids at risk for a Vitamin D deficiency.  A lower SPF should do the job and give them the Vitamin D they need.

And you thought this blog was about quilting!

Speaking of which, my studio is in absolute chaos!  I had to pull out all of my computer stuff and reroute it and now there's crap everywhere and I can't get to anything.  So, once again I have to dig myself out before I can get any quilting done.  Sometimes I think there's a massive conspiracy to keep my from quilting and using up my fabric stash.  It's starting to look like an episode from "Hoarders" in here!  Yikes!

So, I'm going to sign off now, and start putting things back into some semblence of order.  I have several projects in the works that I have to get done soon so I better get on the stick (stitch)!

Happy Stitching!

Susan

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

175th Post, and a Giveaway!

Hi Everybody!  Hard to believe but this is my 175th post.  Now, if I didn't take extended breaks like I've been doing lately, well, I'd be at twice that, (bad, bad, bad blogger!  Ouch!).

It's been quite a ride.  I've been fortunate in having some terrific followers and readers, who have put up with my cranky menopausal mood swings, along with a sprinkling of complicated explanations of what I do.  (Good thing it's only about the quilting stuff I do!)

I feel very blessed because within 6 months this blog was named one of 55 Rad Blogs by Quilter's Home Magazine.  How Melissa and Jake discovered me I don't know, but it was a great boost to me and this blog.  It also encouraged me to continue, even though there are times when I really don't need "one more thing."  (I'm sure you can all relate!)

In honor of the 175th post I'm having a giveaway.


It's a DVD from C&T Publishing about Art Quilting Basics.  I received a duplicate of it in my Quilter's Home Mojo Doll Prize Package so I thought I'd give it away here. 

OK, I know that a couple of weeks ago I was on a real bender about "Art Quilting" and all that.  I can be a real horse's patootie about somethings sometimes.  I still believe that "quilts" should have "quilting" but have decided to live and let live on the rest of it, as long as I don't have to wear rubber gloves, we're cool.

Now, I haven't viewed my other copy of this DVD yet.  Between football, baseball, and basketball practice, not to mention the SF Giants in the playoffs, (sorry Phillies fans, but GO GIANTS!), the TV has either been tuned to sports or turned to OFF.   My husband has a business trip coming up so I'm planning to sit down and watch a couple of my DVDs after I put my son to bed.  I suppose I could watch them during the day, but I think I must have farmer genes.  If the sun's up I can't be sitting down watching TV.  I even hate going to the movies during the day....there's light!  Shouldn't I be doing something????

Anyway, here's how it works.  Send an email to thecrankyquilter@gillygaloofus.com.  I will be collecting email addresses until Sunday, October 24th.  One entry only please.

Now, an update on my son.  His MRI is this afternoon at 3:30 pm and I hope to have some good news within a day or two.  In the meantime he's begun his asthma medication and has a lot more energy already.  I'm not sure how it will help him in football as he's effectively benched until we get the all clear.  He's been attending practices and helping how he can, but being a lineman there's not a lot he can do.  The game on Saturday was hard on him, but there are 4 other injured boys on his team so he's not alone.

I feel so sorry for the injured boys, even before my son joined their group.  One kid broke his arm during a scrimmage before the season began, he's missed the entire season.  A couple of our boys are on crutches due to ankle and leg injuries.  This weekend when a boy on the field was hurt the coaches called out for the boys to "take a knee."  Of course, the boys did what the coaches told them but the kids on the crutches had a dilemma.  When they realized there was no way they could "take a knee" they just laid down on the ground.  Poor kids!  They just laid there until the other kid was OK and a couple of their teammates came over to help them up. 

I'm not so sure about this "football" thing.  I've never seen so many injured kids, and I wonder if it's the right sport for my son. It's not because I'm an overly protective mother, it's just that I don't get the point.  I'm actually the kind of Mom who wants my son to grow up to be a "Man" not a "Male."  I like to see the toughness in him and am raising him to use the size and strength God gave him to take care of his family when the time comes.  At the same time, the "Macho" for "Macho's sake" I see in a lot of the football parents really turns me off.  My son doesn't have to prove he's a man, he just has to be one.  There may be a lot of "Males" playing football, but not all of them are "Men."

Oh well, I just hope he gets the "all clear" and has a chance to end the season on a high note.  His team is 7 -1, so they've got a good chance to go all the way.  It would be nice if he won a trophy for his first, (and possibly last), football season.   He has the usual collection of "participation" trophies, which even he knows are meaningless.  He does have one for a second place in his basketball league which he does value, so it would be nice to have another one that means something.  We'll hope for the best.

In the meantime,

Happy Stitching!

Susan




Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Every Cloud....

I can't tell you how many times I've heard the saying, "Every cloud has a silver lining."  There were times when I thought, "Oh yeah, really!" but now I'm a firm believer.

In yesterday's post I asked for your prayers and good thoughts for my son, as he was going to have an MRI for unusual numbness.  Well, as is often the case things did not work out quite as we planned.

We arrived for a 5:30 appointment at 5:15 and discovered that the station where we were supposed to meet the doctor was already closed.  Fortunately, I was able to get in touch with him and he came out and brought us in.  He had to do a preliminary exam before taking us down for the MRI.  He called down to confirm and was told that they didn't have an  appointment for us on Tuesday the 12th, the appointment was for Tuesday the 19th.  Turns out there was a mistake on the pediatric neurologist's report. 

Our doctor was so apologetic because he realized that he'd read the report and had been alarmed at how soon the MRI appointment was, and the content of the report, read within that context, made everything seem very urgent and serious.  The Neurologist had asked him to see us first, set up the blood work, and do a more thorough exam, focusing on certain areas and taking measurements for the MRI techs.  That's why he'd set up the appointment after hours so he could get us downstairs for the MRI in the early evening.

I have to say at first I was pretty annoyed, and then relieved because it all seemed less urgent and hence less frightening.   The best thing about this was that since we weren't rushing to make the MRI appointment and there were no other patients he was able to do a very thorough exam, and have a long converstion with my son.  During this conversation it came out that my son was having problems running during practice.  He'd never been a great runner so he assumed he just wasn't very good at it.  But, he told the doctor something he hadn't told us, that he was having problems breathing after he had run for a while and that he had pains in his chest and felt like his legs turned to lead.

The doctor jumped up, stuffed a breath tester into his mouth and had him blow a few times.  Turns out my son has sports-induced asthma, and it's a fairly serious case.  So, he's been prescribed inhalers, one for before bed and one for 30 minutes before exercise.  He took his first dose last night and woke up this morning feeling great. 

He's been pulled from P.E. and all contact sports until we get the results from the MRI.  So, he can go to practice, he just can't do anything where he'll be jostled about.  However, it's such a blessing in disguise because we'll be able to see how the inhaler works and he'll be able to start out slowly and build up when he gets the all clear. 

Isn't it amazing how things work out?  If he hadn't had the numbness we might never have known about the asthma.  I wonder if the numbness that was keeping him awake was God's way of getting our attention.  I guess we'll find out next week.  In the meantime, we are feeling so blessed that something good can come out of something so scary.

I'd like to thank all of you who sent us your prayers and support, I can't tell you how much it means to us.

OK, now enough of this stuff! It's time to get back to quilting!

Just wanted to let all of you know that http://www.fabrics.com/ is having a 30% off clearance sale.  Some of the stuff is terrific and if you buy $35 before the discount, they will still ship it for free.  I spent about $30 and got 8 yards of great fabric.  The promotion code is CLEAR30.

Also, I'm coming up on 175 posts in a few days.  Stay tuned for a giveaway!  I'll post the details tomorrow.

I haven't been doing as much quilting as I'd like but next week looks clear work-wise so watch out fabric stash!

Happy Stitching!

Susan

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

When Life Hands You Lemons....

I''m sure you've all heard the saying, "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade."  Well, sometimes it seems life doesn't hand them to you, it's more like life is pelting you with lemon grenades!

Everytime I think I might make that small pitcher of lemonade, I end up with enough lemons to make lemon curd, lemon pie, lemon-coconut cake, about 5 gallons of lemonade, and still have some to suck on to go with my mood.

My mother warned me that as you get older things get easier in some ways and harder in others.  I supposed it's a good thing that life has tossed enough lemons my way that I'm an accomplished lemonade maker because now I need to really start squeezing those lemons!

I've been thinking a lot in the past few years about how lemons can be sweet and sour.  I've been thrown some pretty heavy lemons, but for some reason things have so far worked out mostly for the best.  Of course, there's only so much control you have over life, (which is to say....none!), the only control you do have is how you handle that lemon surplus.

My 12 year old son has been experiencing some unusual symptoms of numbness and tingling in his back and hips.  Last Wednesday he had a really bad night so I called the doctor and we went in Thursday afternoon.  His doctor referred the case to the pediatric neurologist who called me last night.  I received the call after 7pm while I was at my son's football practice.  Turns out they want to do an MRI and some lab tests because they're concerned.  His symptoms are very unusual for someone his age and are usually accompanied by illnesses he doesn't have, (otherwise he's the picture of health).  The first thing the doctor said is that football stops NOW, and he mean't NOW.  He's also pulled him from P.E. until we find out what's going on.

I'm sure you can understand what we're going through right now.  The doctors can't tell us what it is but it's obvious they're taking it very seriously.  They could be erring on the side of caution, but they are totally stumped with this situation, hopefully the MRI will help get us a diagnosis.  My hope is that it's just some freaky thing he'll grow out of.

We've been so blessed with this child of ours.  He has always been the sweetest little guy and so considerate; we only lost one night to teething and he slept throught the night after the 2nd week.  He was born about 5 weeks early but after some early concerns has been growing like a weed and has been healthy as a horse.  When the doctor asked me if he had any medication allergies I could honestly tell him that the last prescription he had was for an ear infection when he was 3.  The thought that he might actually have some kind of serious medical condition freaks me out.

He also really loves his sports.  He plays all the major sports and is currently doing football and baseball, and is supposed to start basketball next week.  I don't know what he'd do without them.  The exercise is important but his teammates are an  important part of his life.  Heck, this will be the 5th year he's playing with his basketball team.  He'd miss out on so much, it breaks my heart to think about it.

So, right now I feel like I'm shoveling lemons.

Now, on a lighter note...

Thanks for the advice on the Go cutters.  I did find some cheaper prices on the larger GO, Amazon had it for $209.  I'm thinking I'm going to wait until the Baby Go comes out in a few weeks, they might mark the bigger ones down even more, or there might be a good deal on the Baby Go's.  I'm leaning towards the large GO but I think I'll pass on the starter set.  It's probably more than I need.

Thanks again for the advice, and please send your good thoughts and prayers our way. 

Happy Stitching!

Susan

Sunday, October 10, 2010

AccuQuilt "GO" or No?

Well, I'm about ready to make the plunge and buy myself a fabric cutter.  I'm so tired of rotary cutters and mats and rulers.  It seems to take forever for me to get set up to do any cutting so I'd love something simple and easy.

I'd love your advice on these machines.  I've been eyeing them for a while, but have been turned off by the price and the fact that everything seems to be sold separately.

Joann's has a great price on this "Starter Set," it's $349.99 for everything which is a deal when you look at how much the pieces cost individually.  However, $350, (+tax), is no bargain, and I wonder if I need all of those dies.
 The Standard "GO" cutter includes dies that I would use, and it's $299 most of the time at Joann's.  It's tempting to spend $50 more and get more, but then what good is it if I don't use it?  But then, if I did get it I suspect I'd find a way to use those dies I didn't think I wanted.....hmmm.....

Westminster Fabrics has joined with Sissix to produce a less expensive cutter.  At about $80 it looks like it could do the job, but then it also looks kind of cheap.  The dies aren't much cheaper either, at about $22 each, (and those were sales prices).

 I'm tempted to pre-order the new Baby GO which is coming out in mid November.  It's only $139, and is a great size, (probably big enough for my purposes), but it doesn't come with any dies so that could get pricey at about $30 each.  I'm assuming it comes with the cutting mat, but I'm not sure as it doesn't really say on the website.
So, what do you guys think?  If you have one of these cutters I'd love to get your feedback.  I'm leaning towards the "Starter Set" deal, but price could be a deal breaker on that because I will have to order it online and I suspect the shipping will add up.

Let me know your thoughts, I'd love some advice!

Happy Stitching,

Susan

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Overwhelmed Brain

Hi Everybody!

I just realized it's been a week since I posted last.  Wow, I was really on a roll cranky-wise there for a while.  I wish I could say that the crankiness is gone but it's kind of morphed from annoyed cranky to overwhelmed cranky.  I'm not sure which is better!

What is it about October that seems to stress me out?  I know I'm not the only one as I've heard this from a lot of folks.  It should be the calm before the storm of the holiday season, but instead it seems to be one neverending series of unfortunate events.  Maybe Halloween's in October for a reason.....

What we really need is a whole month where no one expects anything from us and we can just kick back and drink margaritas.  Dream on!!

Anyway, for me a lot of it has to do with my revenue generating graphic design business.  Out here in California October is a big month for events.  Weddings are in season because the weather isn't too hot in the Valley or too cold in the Bay Area.  Also, it's a gorgeous time of year in the Napa Valley.

A lot of conventions are happening, as well as corporate events as it's the last chance for everyone to hold their meetings before things become chaotic around the holidays.  So, suffice it to say, it's been busier than usual for me.  Now, don't get me wrong, I love being busy!  The problem is getting back into the swing of it after a hiatus.  The graphic end is so different from the quilting end, mainly because it involves more client interaction, hence more personal issues.  Nothing serious, just dealing with people who want the impossible for nothing.  Kind of normal, I guess!

My son's fall break also always ends up happening at the same time as the business uptick so he's wanting to go here and there and do "fun" stuff and I have to be the "Grinch that Stole Fall Break."  Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!!!

There have been some good developments.  I have just signed up with Artfire.com and am working on putting some of my quilts and embellishments up for sale.  It's a lot more complicated than I thought so it's taking me longer than I'd hoped.  However, my hubby got me a new camera for our anniversary so I should be able to get better photos, and hopefully be fully operational within the next couple of weeks.  I'll let you know when it happens.

I am disappointed because it looks like I won't be able to go to the Pacific International Quilt show next weekend.  My son has football on Saturday, and I won't have enough time to go during the week to make it worth my while and still get back in time to take him to football practice.  Kind of a bummer because I could use an infusion of inspiration and mojo-ness.  Not to mention shopping and hanging out with like minded folks.  Oh well, that's the way the cookie crumbles....which reminds me, it's time for lunch!

Hope all of you are jamming through some great projects.  I'm still working on my Joann's quilt but haven't had much time.  I guess I better get going because the deadline is mid December!

Happy Stitching!

Susan