Thursday, January 29, 2015

Bird Watching

The feeders are full and the boys are chattering and watching the birds and everybody is mesmerized at our house.  First up we have Chanceman, he's watching from a distance and hasn't a clue I'm even around and taking pictures




 And then Rascal jumped on the table I left bare for them to bird watch.  I wish you could here the chattering sounds he makes - Chance does it so quietly you can only see his mouth move, but Rascal is vocal.





 The last picture of Rascal looks like he's looking back at Chanceman like - hey did you see that?  So cute.

Then there is my little quiet introvert Scotchie, he was in the bedroom on the headboard watching.



 Apparently he got tired though and came into the living room to take a nap on his Dad's computer chair.  It's the best and most popular seat in the house - poor CR.  I just love this little guys soulful eyes and his little pink nose.  I really shouldn't call him a little guy, he's 18+ pounds and even though he's been on weight control food (they all have) for several months now, he's still holding his 18+ pounds.  Chance actually lost some weight and is now a petite 15 pounds.  Rascal is around 15 pounds also.  Tiny little guys, aren't they, hahahaha.



I'm off to the Dentist in a few to get my crown on and again it's a grey, dark day which makes me want to just stay home.  At least the morning fog has lifted. 

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Surrounded

This past Friday and Monday, Cliff had his second round of them taking white cells and then super charging them at a lab, then infusing them back in.  Poor guy was so sick with flu symptoms yesterday he just stayed in bed for the most part.  The animals were very confused by this because Cliff is never sick and this wasn't the normal routine.  Today, he is back to himself and the animals won't leave him alone, even while he's on the computer trying to catch up on news, etc he is surrounded by them.


Nice to be loved but it makes doing computer stuff a bit difficult.  He's a very patient man and just pets the boys and talks to them.  Eventually Chance (half on the keyboard) got bored and left. 

I don't think I posted anything last week because I was sick with the real flu and had nothing much to say.  Thankfully I was better by the time it was time to go to Spokane for Cliff.  I did make a fabulous Tortilla soup on Thursday last week though and forgot to share the picture.


I got the recipe here.

I also got some of the fabrics for the pattern I posted to make a king size quilt for our bed:


I still need to get the light fabrics and the border fabrics, but this is a good start.  I might have what I need in my stash for the light fabrics, I haven't looked really, but I'll definitely have to buy the border and backing fabrics.  Which means a road trip to Portland and Fabric Depot is in my future on one of their 35% off sale weekends.

It's been so grey and foggy and misty around here, I'm about to go to a tanning bed to see some sun.  This is when winter starts to get to me.  It's a boring month, nothing going on with the holidays over with, the ugly and depressing weather, ugh.

That painful cortisone shot I got in my hip was working pretty good till the last couple of days.  I have a feeling a hip replacement is in my future, possibly sooner than I'd like.  I told CR that when they cremate me there will be a huge amount of metal parts left over - oh look that's a knee and a couple of hips, hey is that a spark plug? 

We are looking at getting a new car.  Our Camry is wonderful, but it's a 2007 and has front wheel drive.  I won't drive it on bad roads, it's all wheel or 4 wheel drive for me.  So we are looking at a Subaru Outback.  CR's brother has one and they love it - we like it too and it's a very comfortable car, sits a tad higher than a regular car and of course the all wheel drive feature.  Also we'd like to have the back up camera, that wasn't a feature on the cars in 07, oh and the feature that warns you if someone is in your blind spot.  There are so many great features on cars now days.  My Aunties new car has it all and then some, I loved it.  I think hers is an Impala, in NC she doesn't have to worry so much about snow and a lot of bad weather driving.

This weekend is the super bowl, we'll be here at home rooting for the Seahawks and having chili for our game day dinner.  Personally I watch for the great commercials, but I do enjoy the game too.

So what will you be doing, if anything, on Super Bowl Sunday and who will you cheer on?

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I Survived

I survived the flu and let me just say I haven't felt that bad in years.  They weren't kidding that the flu shots we got this year don't do much to help with what's going around.  I had a good amount of miserable days but I'm back to the land of the living.

Yesterday CR and I went to see the movie - American Sniper.  WOW, if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend that you do.  At the end of the movie it was so silent in the theatre, not like a typical movie at all.  I was very moved by the movie and yes I did shed a tear or two at the end.  The woman a couple seats down from me sobbed so loudly I figured she cried for the both of us and then some.  I just can't do that in public.

While I was sick the cats and our dog and CR stayed as far away from me as possible.  In fact Chance and Scotchie shared one of the dining room chairs and watched CR do his checkbook to stay away from me on the couch in misery.  Where did the love and caring go I ask, haha.

 


We've had the boys on weight control food and while Chanceman has lost a pound, Scotchie is up a few ounces at a hefty 18.6 pounds.  We are worried about him getting diabetes.  He's just a big boy, but if he gets any bigger he may have health problems.  Rascal has really helped to get both of these boys running around the house and being more playful, so that is good.

Remember all those squares I cut out a while back, well they are finally taking shape:


 Speaking of weight issues, two of my boys are total treat piglets.  Scotchie and Rascal hear the treat bag rattle and come running every morning, it's so funny to watch them.



The other day I dug out a pattern that I purchased at the local quilt show a couple of years ago and decided to use it to make a kings size quilt for our bed.  I have even ordered the batiks 2&1/2 inch strips for the colored blocks from a place in Portland that I love and that has good sales.  Here is a picture of the front of the quilt pattern:


I still need to figure out the light fabrics and the borders.  I'm excited to get started.

I hope you all have remained healthy this winter and not gotten the dreaded flu that is going around.  This Friday we start Round 2 of CR's treatments, so a busy and exhausting few days are ahead of us.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam



Friday, January 16, 2015

A Second Christmas

The other day I received a big box from my Aunties filled with lots of beautiful goodies.  A gift store in their area that we all loved was going out of business and things were half price and many great deals and they sell Jim Shore, so guess who scored some awesome Jim Shore pieces - yep, me, the Aunties are far to good to me.  Take a look:








So gorgeous and everything but the Santa's and the Scarecrow are out.  I always keep all my Angels out and the Snowman is perfect for this time of year too.  Check it out:

Woodland Snowman and Woodland Angel by my picture of CR and Maddie

Pretty Angel is by my chair

The cornucopia is so gorgeous I had to have it out, I don't care if it's not autumn

Isn't the little watering can to cute.  It might move around a bit, but for now I like it here.
Can you imagine getting a box like this.  It was so much fun to unpack everything and even CR said it was like Christmas again.  He supports my love of everything Jim Shore.  He's a good man.

Speaking of CR, except for fatigue he's done really well after the infusion and for that we are grateful.  We don't go back till next Friday for round 2, so he's just taking it easy.

I've not been feeling well, CR thinks it's the flu, but I don't have a temp, so I'm not sure about that.  Whatever it is has my intestines in major distress and pain and I have a horrible headache.  Since I don't get headaches except for rare occasions, it's horrible, but nothing compared to headaches people suffer from at all.  I'm whining.  But it is day 4 and I'd like things to settle out already and return to the regular scheduled programming.

I haven't even been sewing or doing embroidery.  I did go to the dentist on Wednesday for a crown, came home and the stupid temp crown broke off, had to return to the dentist for another temp.  Ugh, if the darn thing breaks off again I am not going back.  Currently one corner has broken off but the rest is still there.  Now how'd that happen.  I've been living off of mostly liquids and some greek yogurt and a banana or two.  I don't know how any of those could break a temp crown, but it did.  Oh and speaking of not eating much, do you think I've lost a pound, heck no, not even an ounce, what gives.  Pain, torture, hardly eating and still not a pound lost after 4 days.  I can't believe it.  My body must really love it's fat and is hanging on for dear life.  Sorry, that was more whining, huh.

Any plans for the weekend?  My plans are to clean house, grocery shop and hope that this bug goes away.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Kitchen Time

I think I spent my whole weekend in the kitchen and I really need to get back to my lap quilt.  Oh well, such is life.  Tomorrow we go back to Spokane for the infusion of the treated White Blood Cells.  Another long day.

So here is what I was up to:

I like to watch The Chew on ABC, Monday through Friday and I've gotten so many really good recipes from there.  Three of which I made on Saturday.  One was this super delicious Mac and Cheese that used butternut squash as part of the cheese sauce to make it healthier and less calories.  Man it delivered on taste it was so good. 

The other 2 things I made are pictured below:

Breakfast Bars that use cooked dates to sweeten them.  They are really delicious.

Panna Cota using greek yogurt to cut a few calories, simply delish
and then I topped it with mandarin oranges and honey.

I also mixed up the cookie dough for Chocolate Chip cookies on Saturday and put them in the fridge.  I think cookies bake more evenly and don't spread out if the dough comes from the fridge or freezer.  Today I baked the cookies and filled my new huge ball jar - cookie jar.


Because Cliff's infusion isn't till 2pm, and will take a couple of hours, we probably won't be home till after 7 and so to make dinner light and easy I've got a chicken noodle soup on the stove that I've been making today.  I'll add the noodles tomorrow when I reheat it.

 

Other than doing a lot of dishes and some laundry, I have not gotten much of anything else done.  I need to clean house on Tuesday and then probably Wednesday I can get back into my sewing room and have some fun.  There are always responsibilities that get in the way, right!

We don't go back up to Spokane till Friday, Jan  23 when they will again take white cells and we do the process again.  At least it's not every week, Cliff gets a bit of a break in-between the 3 rounds.

So what did you do this weekend, did you get to sew, stitch, knit?  I hope you had fun whatever you were up to.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Saturday, January 10, 2015

First Part of CR's New Treatment


Well the take blood out, put blood not used back in happened yesterday.  Poor Cliff was strapped in this chair and not able to move from 10:30am till 2:00pm

The arm with the blood pressure cuff, used to keep that vain nice and plump and ready to give was the arm the blood came out of, the other arm was where the blood was put back in.  Sadly no coffee was administered and he really would have liked some.  He could have had some, but he couldn't get up to "go" so he just suffered for the sake of the treatment, poor guy.
 
The purpose of this procedure is to take out white blood cells and platelets, and give him red cells and anything they don't need back.  He did really well, but man was he stiff when they finally let him get up.

 
Blood going out and blood going back in minus the white blood cells they are capturing
 
This is the machine that is used to do the magic of separating the platelet, white, cells, etc.

The machine that does it all
 

The bag on the left is saline, the bag in the middle with the yellow fluid - platelets and the bag on the right is the white blood cells.  They can’t totally separate red and white, so the bag looks red.

They also warm the blood to body temp before it’s returned to him, which we thought was cool.  Also included in the process is calcium that is put into the returned blood.  There is a concern about depleting calcium, so I'm making sure he gets not only his usual supplements, but also more in his food.

The white cells fill the bag to where you see the bottom of the label, then they mix the platelets into the bag of white cells to nourish the white cells for the trip to California. 

You should see the huge and very well secured and padded box that is used.  A room temp cool pack is set in a slot with the white cells, then on either side of the middle slot are slots for true cold packs.  It’s all very fascinating.  And all very precise.

So that is the blood draw or as they call it a “mononuclear cell collection by apheresis” or just Apheresis for short – which the first time you hear them say that it’s like – what? 

The 2 ladies who do this process monitor it at all times, watching the centrifuge as well as the color of the returned blood, etc.  They were great and explained everything to us with every step.

It was an exhausting day, but good to know what to expect for the next 2 times.  Monday Cliff will have an Infusion of the white cells after the lab in California gets done with them.  That process is about 1&1/2 to 2 hours.
 
Today we are just plain tuckered out.  We were up at 5:30am, on the road about 7 and not home till 6:30.  It was a long day.  We are just praying that it's the answer we are looking for and when we see the Oncologist again we are going to ask her how she will measure if the treatment is indeed working.  We've been told that his PSA may not be an indicator and may not go down.  It's presently at 167, so if it doesn't go down, how will they know?  I'll let you know when we know. 
 
I hope you find it as fascinating as we did.  The ladies told us they do this same type of thing for exchanging platelets that helps with some diseases, for collecting stem cells and a multitude of diseases that can be helped with an exchange like this.
 
Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Working on a New Wall Hanging

I've been doing quite a bit of embroidery in the evenings.  I just love it, it relaxes me and unlike knitting I don't have to keep count.  I can sit and watch TV and embroider and get a lot done.

A new wall hanging is what I'm about to get done:





The fabrics are what I'll use to put the four season embroideries together for a cute wall hanging.
Right before Christmas I had my right hip x-rayed and found out it's going to be replaced someday due to arthritis.  Yeah I'm falling apart and I don't know what I've done to deserve this.  I figure by the time I'm 80 I'll be all bionic and spare car parts.  Anyhow this week I had a cortisone shot in that hip to see if we can relive the pain (mostly groin pain) and keep it going for a while.  Wow, that shot hurt and nothing feels better yet.  But some shots I've found take a few weeks before you notice that they are helping, so I'm reserving judgment for a while.

Tomorrow we go to Spokane for Cliff's first Friday blood draw, then Monday for the infusion.  Not knowing what to expect is always nerve racking so it will be good to get it done and know what goes on.

I've got him all set up with snacks and juices and the Ipod is charged with soothing music.  I'm hopeful that they let me go back with him so he has company, but just in case, the Ipod will help.

The next 2 months are such grey and gloomy months for me, not much going on and it's cold and hard to feel motivated, I always look forward to March.  This year March should be especially fun as we will be taking our postponed Thanksgiving trip to the beach and celebrating our 29th Anniversary there.

Tell me, do Jan and Feb get you down too, or am I just strange?

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam


Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Weatherman Got it Right

The weather man got it right this time and we woke up to snow on the ground, and not just a dusting, but some actual coverage.  Still it's not a lot, which I'm grateful for.  That said I took these pictures from the windows of our warm house, no sense if freezing to get a picture, right!




I took the Christmas decorations down yesterday.  I always enjoy putting them out and discovering all the pretty stuff I have that I forget about through the year, but putting it all away is such a chore.  Plus you have to dust and vacuum, ugh.  But that's done now, so onto other things.  When I put the one living room that we don't use much back together I decided to put the larger coffee table up to the one window.  Our bird feeder is out that window and the cats have really been enjoying "bird TV" as I call it.  Rather than to have things knocked down, I decided they could have the table all to themselves for bird watching.


They seem really happy about the changes, so it was a good rearrangement.

On Friday while I was out to grocery shop and run errands I stopped by a favorite fabric shop and found some really pretty fabrics to make a nice and larger table cover for the bird tv table:


I also found a couple of stash fabrics - all of it was $6.00 a yard, now that's a good sale:


I also worked hard on Thursday cutting out millions (well not millions, but it felt like it) of 3&1/2 inch and 3&7/8's inch squares for a new lap quilt with a new pattern.  I started sewing it yesterday after all the house work, but the pattern confused me and I needed to ponder it and also my right hip is going bad so it was aching from all the house work, so I gave up and embroidered instead.

And look what came in the mail yesterday - my February block of the month:


This coming Friday we go to Spokane to start CR's treatments.  Poor guy has been a bit nervous and hasn't been sleeping well, but last night that changed and he got a good nights sleep.  I hope once the first go around is over he can relax a bit as he'll know what to expect.

So how is your New Year so far?  We went out to dinner with friends on New Years Eve and then crashed about 10 that night and only woke up because of the neighbors fireworks.  Then for New Years Day my wonderful hubby put together his delicious lasagna for dinner - YUM!!  Now to get through his treatments and the 2 most boring months of the year in my opinion.  The grey days are getting to me and I'm more than ready for spring.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year

Just in time for January 1st, I finished my Jack Frost block of the month and it is proudly hanging on my door.


Did anyone stay up till midnight and watch the ball drop in Times Square?  We didn't, this was us last night after a wonderful (and early) dinner out to a lovely restaurant on the river with friends.

Me either!
 
Today we are making lasagna for dinner and we'll freeze several portions as well for travel days while CR has treatments.  It will make for easy heat up meals after long days.
 
I'm feeling so hopeful for this brand New Year and I'm praying that my honey's cancer is in check and he remains healthy and strong and full of life.  I'm also hoping we can do some fly fishing this summer - no home remodels or repairs for us.
 
Happy New Year, Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy Eve of the New Year

Wow, 2015 is just a few hours away.  So do you make resolutions?  I don't do that anymore, I figure I just need to be who I am and try to improve on it whether it's weight, or de-cluttering the house or whatever.  I don't stress, I just figure I'm a work in progress.

We've gotten some great news to start our new year - CR has been approved for the Provenge treatments and we've gotten the financial help needed due to the expense of the treatment and we begin on Jan 9th.  We'll do a Friday/Monday schedule for 3 weeks with a week off in between.  We even received a call yesterday that we'll be getting a debit card with quiet a large amount of money to take care of food and gas expenses because we travel to Spokane (2.5 hour drive north of us) for the treatments.  Wow, that was such a surprise and a welcome bit of assistance.  Just pray that the roads and weather play nice for us as it's not the best time of year to be traveling.

In other news, I ordered an adorable butter dish and it came in earlier in the week:


Yesterday I got the stitches out in the finger I had fixed and I have to say it's wonderful to be pain free.  The stitches weren't bothering me, but they were snagging my embroidery thread, which was a nuisance. 

This weekend I'm taking the Christmas decorations down.  I would prefer to take them down soon after Christmas, but CR like to wait till New Years, so I hold off and wait, yesterday thought I told him I can't wait to put the house back in order and he just laughed and said he wondered when I was going to say that.  He knows me so well.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas or whatever it is you may celebrate and that the New Year brings you peace, happiness, and good health.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam