Thursday, March 30, 2006

Getting Ready

Hi everybody, I'm still here. It's amazing how many things there are to do when you are preparing to "drop out" of your life for a while. Everything is moving ahead as it should, medical pre-op tests are done, work and home are organized. I feel like I have turned a significant corner mentally and emotionally and I completely credit the power of prayer and positive energy. Thank you all.

I have been "Preparing for Surgery with Mind Body Techniques". It is a structured way to achieve a state of calm preparedness and enlist your mind's power to assist in your own healing. It's almost uncanny, but once I reached this point of absolute calm, everything fell into place as if by magic. I unexpectedly have the full assistance of a marvellous and talented co-worker who will take care of my department and my students in my absence. My doctors are great, my insurance is fantastic, and thanks to disability and my excellent benefits I will lose very little income. My house is clean, my pantry is stocked, and all that is left to do is to pick up a few items for my hospital stay. Twelve more days 'til surgery. I have lots of fun things planned to fill my time until then, and some of them even relate to art and quilts :) I promise next time to post something at least a little bit related to these two topics.

Friday, March 24, 2006

March Journal Quilt

This is a small piece from my "cityscape" series. It is made of hand-dyed and hand-painted fabrics, fused directly to the batting a la Melody Johnson, and free motion machine quilted. I had so many ideas for a journal quilt this month that I found it hard to choose, so I ended up finishing something started months ago. I think April will be the month I address what is really going on in my life through art. In the meantime, here is a small colorful exercise.

My consult with my surgeon went well and I think I like him. He is direct and has a sense of humor, both qualities I appreciate. Jerry went with me for moral support and to get himself up to speed on what will occur. I will have a total hysterectomy, meaning that they will remove both ovaries and the uterus. While they are in there, they will be looking to determine the cancer's progression, and if they think it is necessary, they will remove some lymph nodes also. (Let us hope we don't have to go there.) My incision will be a vertical one across the abdomen, no short cut methods I'm afraid. That means 4 or 5 days in the hospital and 5 or 6 weeks at home afterwards. This seems like an awfully long time, so I hope I will get well faster than that.
In the meantime they have started me on medication to lower my blood pressure before surgery, and there will be a couple more medical appointments as well. I am feeling a bit swallowed up in the machinery of medicine (there's another art quilt theme!)

I appreciate the comments on the small quilts. ( I think some of you didn't recognize them as my January and February journal quilts. ) When we post these nice large close-up views of our small works, they look so different than when viewed from a distance. Just a quick word about the other quilts I shared. The reason my friends made identical quilts in different fabrics is so that they can be used as samples for our friend Pam Tobias' Quilt In A Bag quilt kit business. They are not art quilters, but they all do make beautiful traditional quilts, usually with much more variety.

Today I am off to a workshop entitled "Protecting Library Collections, Emergency Preparedness, Response & Recovery". Do I lead an exciting life or what?

Thank you all for your comments and kind support. They mean the world. I hope to spend some time catching up with everyone this coming weekend.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Update, sort of

We have another rainy day in Southern California, and while I am starting to feel a bit waterlogged, it is a good thing. Although it hardly seems possible, I heard on the news that we are still 6" below our normal rainfall for the year. If you are not familiar with our So Cal climate, just let me say that hail and snow are extremely unusual here. I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen it in the past 30 years. That's why we get so excited about it, and also why no one knows how to drive in it. Today it is just rain, and hopefully we will get a glimmer of sun by this afternoon. There are new flowers out and I'd like to get some pictures.

Today I am not at work because I have a consultation with my surgeon and some other medical lab stuff. I have had plenty of time to prepare my questions and Jerry will be with me. I have been trying to get things organized at work, but I think I will just have to realize that I cannot make arrangements for every possibility. (Compulsive, who me?) Things will probably go along just fine without me, just not exactly as I would like them to. There will still be an unkown number of working days before surgery since I won't have an exact date until the OR calls to schedule.

The nice pictures are from my last small quilt group gathering. I swear I think I had to try ten times to get them posted with Blogger. I have been working on making a couple of scrap quilts (to use, not art). Funny how that works, I don't think I have any fewer scraps than I did before! They just seem to multiply. I also have some postcard photos to share, so hopefully I can get them posted later.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Not Really Spring

Well, here's what I get for saying it was Spring. We have had rain, hail, snow (snow!) and all manner of chilly and inclement weather. Now, to tell the truth, the snow didn't really stick for long at our elevation, but some of the mountain areas are still digging out.

Saturday's weather was particularly bad, but that didn't stop me from accompanying my quilting buddies to 10 quilt shops. We were involved in a "Cruisin' Quilter's Run", a local promotion where all the quilt shops get together to offer prizes and incentives. Sort of a Quilter's Road Trip. Some of the girls had been to all 20 shops, and I think I made it to about 15 all together. We are particularly lucky here to have so many shops to choose from, and it was fun to discover new ones. I also realized that I am pretty happy with the five that are a short drive from my house.

It's all kind of a blur now, but we did a lot of talking , eating, laughing and shopping. This was a real marathon, something like 14 hours worth. Lots of calls from plaintive husbands wondering about dinner . This cracked me up. I can't imagine being married to a man who can't manage to feed himself.

I got some cheerful looking "retro" fabric to make spring pillows and a throw, maybe a table runner. I chose red, blue, yellow and white, so anything I make will look nice on in to summer. I found one or two "artsy" fabric fat quarters to add to the stash as well. My well meaning friends do make me laugh, though. They are sure I will love any fabric they find that looks well, weird, to them. Sometimes they are right.

Sunday was also a fun gathering of more sewing friends for lunch and an afternoon of stitching. I don't usually have non-family things planned on both weekend days, but I have to say it was a lot of fun. My friend Gayle served a marvellous Mexican corn chowder and a chicken salad, accompanied by hot rolls. Yum! I am awaiting the recipe. Soup or chowder is just the thing for weather like this. I will share the recipe when I get it.

A couple of you have emailed kindly inquiring about my health, and nothing has changed. I had thought everything would move a lot faster, but I will have my next consult on March 21st and surgery presumably scheduled shortly thereafter. My doctor said not to worry, my kind of cancer is SLOW growing. While I am HAPPY that it is a less scary kind, it is still hard to wait. I am plenty busy and have lots of things to distract me, it's not like I'm sitting around twiddling my thumbs, but still...I will be glad when the surgery is finished. Meanwhile, this Californian is wishing it were a little warmer.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Happy Birthday!

Today is Jerry's 54th birthday. We have been married almost 30 years now. Let me tell you just a few things about him that I love. He wakes up in the morning with a song (literally). His first impulse is kindness. Love, for him, means that he can't do enough for you. He is a really marvellous cook. He does laundry. He is a terrific and understanding dad. He has a great sense of fun, adventure, and zest for life. He is my partner, my best friend, and the steady light in my life. I am blessed.
Happy Birthday, Jerry.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

An Early Morning Ramble

This is part of our front yard. Yes, we have a gravel road to nowhere down the middle of it.
The guy who drives in to fill up the propane tank likes it. People park on it if we have a big family party, so I guess that's useful. The big tree in the middle is still bare but there are buds on it.

This is an elephant ear palm. It is growing next to the deck and we have to whack it back all the time.

I love this next bush, although I always forget the name of it.

Ok, I didn't really go that far, just around our little acre. It rained yesterday, so the air was unbelievably fresh and crisp. My dogs loved it and you could just see how happy they were.
I think it's Spring.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Georgia on my mind

Ok that was way too easy. Of course it was Georgia O'Keefe. About the calendar, I meant that I wanted to choose the pieces you don't usually SEE on calendars, not that there weren't any. Here are a few more postcards.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Here are a few of the postcards I made and sent. I didn't make them all the same, but I did have some repeats. The assignment was to pick a favorite artist and make something in that style. It was a lot of fun. I deliberately picked some works that you don't see on the calendars all the time. Can you guess which artist was the inspiration?

Donate Books

I saw this on the Book Arts list and wanted to pass it on.

Seeking Book Donations
The New Orleans Public Library
(New Orleans LA)

The New Orleans Public Library is asking for any and all hardcover and
paperback books for people of all ages in an effort to restock the shelves
after Katrina. The staff will assess which titles will be designated for
its collections. The rest will be distributed to destitute families or sold
for library fundraising. Please send your books to:
Rica A. Trigs, Public Relations
New Orleans Public Library
219 Loyola Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70112

If you tell the post office that they are for the library in New Orleans,
they will give you the library rate which is slightly less than the book