Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cross Stitch Birthday Party

We recently celebrated my stitching friend, Sylvia's, birthday. She's the one in the rose-colored jacket in the front of the bottom picture. My other quilting friend, Peggy was in the back of the picture. There were about 8 at our table at the country club. We had a cake artist do her cake with a cross stitch theme. I think you can see it best at top. There you can see the embroidery ring and other things a bit better.
These girls and I have a fun time together, and I'm feeling much, much better, but it's going to take a long time to get to where I need to be. I'm nearly done with my yard work, and TA DA!!! I've started stitching again!!! I'm finishing up a scriptural thread pack (shown previously on a brown linen) to give my dad, who thinks his time is about up. I have to get it finished!!! Though I'm hoping he's wrong, anything can happen at the age of 87, and he just feels he's running out of steam...... says the only thing keeping him going is his pacemaker. I just don't know what I'll do.

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's Not Easy To Talk About...

but I got back today after a trip an hour away to see a psychiatrist who was instrumental in my treatment for a week just lately. I was at the Carle Pavilion in Champaign, IL. They don't treat dangerously mentally ill where I was, but they do treat depressed, anxious, detoxifying persons, persons who have planned, or have tried, suicide. I fit in the first group of depressed and anxious patients, and I was desperate for help. No amount of stitching helps when you get as low as I was. There is a large number of mentally ill, none dangerous, people in my family. One managed to take his life and my brother nearly got the job done, but he's so very happy to be alive now that he has his first grandchild. That also helped me, but they grow up, and genetic, clinical depression returns.

There is no magic pill, though I'm taking the maximum dose of Cymbalta, and a new one for me is Abilify. They're really monitoring the Abilify with me because of its tendency to cause weight gain. I'm overweight anyway, after many years of prednisone for lupus, and am taking it again after 5 or 6 years of being away from it. I had gained 80 pounds during a 12-year period with prednisone, then gained 20 more when I quit smoking, which, if I wanted to breathe (lupus affected my lungs). I lost the 20 pounds slowly myself, but the bottom dropped out when I was diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatica, thus putting me back on the dreaded prednisone again. I was not happy to hear that Abilify was yet another drug that had the same weight gain tendency.

My self-imposed tharapy was to plant flowers and trim our unbelievable amount of bushes. My mother brought me her little left-over flowers from her own house and sat them in spots on either side of the front of our garage. There was no artful way to plant them, so I just planted them hither and there, and the moment those pansies touched my soil, they went wild. I took a few pix of my two little spots of artless color, and though I'm not done with our bushes, I'm showing off my artful trimming of a mean bush. I still have some gorgeous perennials of ground cover and flowers to put around the bases of our mail boxes just off the street in front and our post lantern so there's no need to trim when mowing the lawn.
I truly wish I could stitch up a storm, but I get nowhere fast. I think it's going to take a bit of time to metabolize the meds and be able to concentrate on the counting and placement of stitches. I get a little confused at times. I started reading at the Pavilion, and I seem to absorb that a bit better for the moment. They kept us very busy with group sessions constantly, but during breaks, I read. The most important thing I learned was that there is no magic pill, and ultimately, my success and ability to cope is up to me. So, even now, when I feel the sadness wafting up, I have to reach deep down inside and pull up tools of coping I've learned to keep me from giving into the darkness. The light-hearted, cozy books I'm reading seem to be just the ticket.

I hope someone will enjoy the pictures. This is the first year I've done anything like this and been proud enough to call it therapy and look at it as an artform. I'm really enjolying it, and I lose myself in it. It used to be hot drudgery. God has answered my prayers. I want to live and enjoy life.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A Little Stitching

As I am a slow stitcher (but enjoy it just as much), this is what I've been stitching on when I take breaks from the mundane clean-up, and today, I hauled all my stash into my sewing room where it still sits. I'm just glad to see how much is left before I put it to rest in a safe manner.

These are Scriptural Thread Packs from Little House Needleworks, the lighter one for my mom named "Heart" which will be spelled out on it; the darker one for my dad named "Faith," which will also have a lovely scripture. I'm finishing these both before working on anything else. I know they'll enjoy them, and at their ages, you never know when I'll be losing one of them. I grieve already and don't know what I'll do without them.

I'll see if I can get some graduation pix up soon and maybe even another progress pic of one of the above. I need so badly to stitch my cares away.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Totally Quiet On the Internet, But...

Not around the house! This has been one heckuva winter and spring for me. I hope I never have to go through anything like this again. We were hit with a basement flood and as always, called a professional to do the job right so there was no possibility of mold. I had just talked to my son-in-law about building my much-needed shelves under the basement stairs which housed much of my stash... the overflow of what didn't fit into my shelves and cabinets in my adjoining sewing room. We have done everything to this basement the experts have advised during the years of many floods, but of course, when neighbors across the street go digging in their yard to get to their weekening part of this pitiful drainage system repaired, it was left dug up and piled up because of continual downpours; therefore creating a dam that pushed the water right back to our sump pump(s), and it overworked our system, got hot, and tripped the breaker. It was in the middle of the night, and it had been so long since we'd had any trouble at all, we didn't have our generator ready to go. Truthfully, with the volume of water there was, there's no way that generator could have kept up.

Thank goodness not all my stash was vulnerable; much was in plastic, but much wasn't, and I was heart broken. I washed and soaked in Oxyclean (fabrics were already ruined so I had nothing to lose), ironed charts; tried to keep kits (you can't imagine) together as I had to rinse the flood water out of fabric and floss. I had to do so many at one time, it was hard to keep everything straight, and it was like an assembly line for days. I cried a lot, and there were older charts I'd bought on eBay that shredded in my hands as I dropped them in the barrel. I know these are only things, and I've suffered real tragedy, that besides losing my daughter, I don't even want to get into here. However, this was like rubbing the salt into the old scars and opening them up again. My stash is precious to me and I was leaving notes for my daughter about what to do with which stash for her to get as close to the value as she could.

A word of warning: the Floss-A-Way baggies are not waterproof, nor are the bottoms of the mesh zipper bags. In fact, nothing but deeper (depending on the height of the water) Rubbermaid, Sterlite, or other inexpensive thick plastic containers keep out the water.

In the meantime, we got through a Junior-Senior Prom, graduation, parties while trying to put things back together so we could live. I'm a very proud grandma of a beautiful, hard-working girl with high honors (many scholarships). I have pictures coming. It's a miracle I was able to find the camera.... I should have taken a pic of the downstairs before progress began. I'm still trying to put my stash back together in an organized fashion and be sure that it is completely safe.

Now we're looking for the perfect house without a basement. I know it's out there. I look around at this house we built and I designed 20 years ago, and with all the stuff in it, it's overwhelming. It's a comfortable house, but it's too big for us, and as we face the fact that we're seniors, and my lupus makes it difficult to get up and down the stairs, we have to scale down and toss, sell, donate (I've already done a bunch, but it's not even a dent), and have you ever tried to get rid of collections??? I cry every time I think about it. I've worked so hard, I have one hip killing me and my bad knee is worse. Now the bushes are beckoning and have gotten out of hand with all the rain we've had. I started yesterday, but this house has waaaay too many bushes; another thing we're looking for is a much smaller yard and not many bushes. Trees are fine, but this is a nursery's dream in my yard. I may sell those too if they'll dig 'em up.

Needless to say, the stitching department here is not productive, only working like the dickens to save what I can (and I keep finding more that I at first thought was safe... in the zipper bags), and it's sickening to see see things all wrinkled and dried, but readable, go into a plastic bin because of something I really would like to do before I die, hopefully not by drowning.... and snakes (ah... yes, with the water came little green garter snakes... OMG).

I'll try to get caught up with my Yahoo Groups, pix I've taken during this horrifying experience of my lovely granddaughter, and once I completely get everything put away, I'll be able to get stitching again. I've never worked so hard in my life!