Breathing Room

2014 NewFO Challenge

Click right here for the linky party and giveaway!

Before I go on, I just want to say that you have through the end of the day tomorrow to link up for the 2014 NewFO Challenge Kick-off party and giveaway. There's an opportunity to win some pretty fabric, so don't miss out! And don't forget that there is still one more party left in the 2013 Challenge with one last needle nanny up for grabs. That linky party will go live on New Year's Eve.

Okay, with that said, here's what's been going on. And may I just say, Phew! The last two days have been kind of hectic and crazy (emphasis on the crazy). I'm really kind of a homebody, as a general rule, and I need a lot of alone time in which to charge my batteries. The last two days I've been on the go for most of the day, and by the end of the day yesterday, I was really needing to get out of the rat race. And have you noticed the expression on the face of the general public?

Or the number of folks who are out and about?

Without getting into too much detail about my many neuroses...I'll just say that being out this close to Christmas gives me the heebie jeebies. It makes me very glad to live in a small town, a quiet town, an old town, with lots of old people. Just look how festive and calm McMinnville, Oregon, looked yesterday.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh. As opposed to downtown Portland where I was on Wednesday, where there was absolutely, positively no place to park. And the parking patrol was out in force.

Yeah, I didn't take that picture. The sun was not shining yesterday. It was cold and drizzly and I had to walk a long way on my sore knee. (Cry me a river, please.) It was late in the day by the time I finished up there and I still needed to go to the grocery store. I considered going on Thursday, but I am soooooo glad I bit the bullet and went Wednesday because the day got even later on Thursday.

As for Thursday, I checked in with my orthopedist. I must say that with all the trouble I had back in August finding a doctor who would even physically lay hands on my knee, I've found a really great one now down in McMinnville. I've been very happy with him. When I went in yesterday, it was more of a check-in appointment. I wanted to ask him how much I should expect of physical therapy, and how long I should expect it to take to see more improvement. My knee is quite a bit better, and physical therapy has been very helpful. Still, I feel as if I've sort of plateaued on the amount of improvement I can expect and so I was secretly hoping he would bring out a bigger gun in the form of a cortisone injection. I didn't say that right up front, but when he offered it up, I nearly kissed him. (And he is sort of cute...just sayin'.) I held back on the kissing, however, and just started blabbing while I waited for what seemed like three years as he loaded up the syringe. 

I avoided looking at it and just kept babbling with anxiety. As much as I wanted the shot, I didn't want the poke, if that makes sense. Anyway...he did a good job. It really didn't hurt. He also prescribed another round of anti-inflammatories. My knee started to ache deep inside as I was leaving his office. I still had physical therapy that afternoon, so I headed off to lunch so that I could take some medicine. Then, after lunch, I had some time to kill.

Of course, any good quilter knows how to kill time. Am I right about that? I just headed off to my favorite fabric store, which is where I took that image of downtown McMinnville above. I've written about this quilt shop in the past: Boersma's. It's amazing, really, that such a small town is blessed with such a great quilt shop, but there you go. It speaks to the quilting population in this area. I actually had an objective beyond killing time. I wanted to get some more fat quarters for the quilt I started this month, "Raining Cats and Dogs".

When I made the first block last week, I came to the startling conclusion (given the size of my stash) that I was short on the pastels I needed. To make the block, I ended up turning many of the fabrics to the wrong side in order to get the lighter value. 

So that was my (ahem) excuse for going into the store...aside from my need to kill time...and I walked out with these lovelies. 

Boersma's also has a "skinny bolt" rack where they mark down the remains of a bolt to about half price. I grabbed these turquoise polka dots. One can never have too many cats, quilts, or polka dots, in my humble opinion.

They also have a drastically reduced supply of fabric in their basement. I was glad to come across this one. About a year ago, I purchased a yard of this to use for the back of a baby quilt. When it was all used up, I wished I had bought more because it is so cute in a quilt. So when I found it marked half price yesterday, I snapped up three yards.

Then, I was off to PT. The therapist couldn't do some of the things we usually do because of my injection, but that didn't stop him from working me pretty hard on the exercises. By the time I left, my knee was starting to swell and to get stiff. I still needed to pick up some medicine at the pharmacy and I needed to pick up a roast I'd ordered specially cut at the grocery store. Oy. (See expressions of the general public above.) And I was exceedingly glad that I didn't still have a whole week's worth of items on my grocery list. 

I breezed in to get the roast, then unwisely decided to get some white chocolate and candy canes for my peppermint bark....so tasty. But when I looked all over the candy and baking section and couldn't find a single effing candy cane, I started getting weird, nervous, and thirsty. And my knee was hurting pretty badly by this time. I was in no mood for any stupidness. Nearly ready to give up, I grabbed an employee by the scruff of the neck (only in my mind, you understand) and asked where they kept their candy canes. She turned away pointing approximately three miles away at the other end of the store, indicating I could find them in the "garden section". WTF? Are you effing kidding me? In the garden section? (I told you I was getting to my last nerve, didn't I?) She turned back and saw the lightning bolts forming in my eyes and wisely offered to go and get them for me. "Thank you." I graciously accepted her generous and life-saving offer...that would be her life, not mine. When she returned, I paid for my stuff and then fled the store and the madness.

So by the time I got home, my knee was absolutely killing me. I wasn't worried about this because I've had cortisone injections in the past and found them to be very helpful. I expected it to feel better within a few days, but that didn't help for the pain I was experiencing right in the moment. But then, I was blown off my feet to find the most delightful surprise from my blogging friend, Sher. Sher has been a valued member of the Doll Quilt Swap since the beginning, if I'm not mistaken. She surprised me with this package that included the cutest stuff. Look at these socks! Cats!

And since I'm a person who loves crazy socks, these are absolutely perfect for me! But that's not all...she also included these two fat quarters of Sock Monkey Santas! And you know I'm a sucker for anything sock monkey. (Note to self: If you ever rename your blog, call it "Sock Monkey Sucker".) Take a look at these:

But look very closely. The Sock Monkey Santa is holding a "Naughty" list. And look whose name is on it!

What a total hoot! Sher, your gift is just delightful, and you could not have chosen more perfectly. Thank you, thank you, thank you, dear friend, and a very Merry Christmas to you too!

So I was supposed to walk with my friend Sue this morning, and my knee is feeling ever so much better. I think it feels better even than it did before the injection, which is very encouraging. I'm hoping the injection will get me off the plateau (if only weight-loss plateaus were so easy to end). But then Mike pointed out that it was 28°F. and raining. In other words, freezing rain. And just to test out his theory, he stepped out into our breezeway to find about half an inch of ice. So that meant my walk with Sue was out. We rescheduled for Monday morning. Hopefully, the weather will improve by then.

And with all of that said, I have some breathing room now until after Christmas. The kids will be up for our annual Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve, and so I'll be doing some cooking that day. Christmas dinner is so much easier than Thanksgiving, however, and so it shouldn't take too much of my time. Besides, I'm looking forward to seeing the kids.

Before writing this post, I took some images off my phone, and I wanted to share this one with you. Christmas came early for Smitty last week with this fantastic box.

It momentarily turned him into an electric cat. When he came out for a bit, we stuffed the packing paper back in just to see what he would do. Well. That made it ever so much fun to be stealth cat.

Do you see him? If there's anything a cat likes better than a box, I don't know what it is.

So today I have some housework to do. I assign myself chores to do on my calendar and I've missed the last few days since I've been running all over Hell's Half Acre. (Did you know that is an actual place? I first learned about the one near Casper, Wyoming, but there are several around the country.) Anyway, housework, then sewing. I'm also hoping to make some fudge this weekend and some peppermint bark. There are only a few days left until Christmas when all Christmas baking must cease, for obvious reasons.

So that catches you up....in case you were feeling behind....and honestly, isn't everybody feeling that way right about now? Enjoy your Friday.

17 comments from clever and witty friends:

gpc said...

Little paper dixie cups and pipe cleaners. Those are the things that my cats liked as well as boxes. I'm glad your knee is better. I am too afraid of shots to get that kind of relief. My foot is still giving me trouble and I'm not walking lately either. The slippery slope to a dreaded increase in fat-and-out-of-shapeness. I hope we both get moving again!

Sher S. said...

You have had a few days....I won't complain about mine now, you topped it. LOL So glad you got the package and it met with your approval. Just couldn't resist the socks or fabric. I'm off to cut and sew 3 pair of pajama bottoms for my grandsons, their request this year for Christmas. I always made them for both daughters for Christmas and now the tradition continues to the grandsons. Oh well, I should get them done in time. Have a great day!

Marei said...

LOVE the sock monkey Santas! And of course your name would be on it!! I didn't find mine. Big surprise. Glad the cortisone is working. I've had it 2 times and the first was great; the second my face exploded into a bowling ball and I got severe hot flashes and thought I was going to die. But I didn't so that's the up side. I lied to you about not baking. I am, at this very moment, making a choco-pecan pie. And this weekend I'm making that cranberry walnut bread you've posted and then cinnamon rolls (the best ever) will be made for Christmas morning. Enjoy your relatively quiet day at home. Now stop bothering me as I have to sew!!!

Betty said...

Glad your knee is better! I'm with you about the crowds this time of year. I made a run into town yesterday, but planned my stops in a way to avoid the mall and the worst place of all, Walmart! I'll need to pick up a few more things at the grocery store, but that can be managed at a smaller local place.
Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Diane Wild said...

Your post made my day all that much more brighter. An LOL moment. Hope that knee settles down for you but don't push it just yet. The sock monkey fabric is a hoot.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Bad enough to walk around in a crowd, but with a painful knee - I would growl too. I am surprised he didn't recommend skipping therapy after an injection. I am allergic to Cortison (found out the hard way), boy I hate needles! Hope things improve - put those cute socks on and put your feet up for a little while.

crazy quilter said...

So glad the knee is better even if you had to get a shot! Ouch ! Smithy looks like he did enjoy his early present, my cat loved paper sacks which are hard to find these days. I truly enjoy reading your blog each day. Merry Christmas and happy new year. Oh and a late congrats on seeing your quilt in
Quiltmaker Mag.

quiltzyx said...

Eeewww! I'm not a fan of cortisone shots. I had a couple, back in my 20s. They didn't tell me that the shot included a pain killer & that I should go straight home (until the next day - "oh by the way..."). I did a bunch of errands like you did, and when I woke up the next day, my knee was swollen up about 4X normal size & I couldn't walk at all! Sheesh. I know they are helpful to some - and it sounds like it was a good thing for you, thank goodness! I wonder if it also caused your killer instinct to kick in faster than usual? Steroids. Humph.

You got some wonderful fabrics at the LQS! Hurrah! Retail therapy also does wonders, doesn't it?

And GREAT goodies in the mail too! Wonderful!!

Quilting Babcia said...

Well darn! You were in Mac yesterday and so was I (for the umpteenth time) and we didn't link up at Boersma's! Know exactly how you feel about crowds, shopping Amazon is such a peaceful experience, and so much more to my liking. And those sock monkey santas look positively mischievous - great gift!

Junebug613 said...

I'm with you on being a homebody. I think I'm getting worse the older I get. Living in the most densely populated county in the state, I can relate with the faces in the picture! I hope that your knee continues to improve. I am looking forward to spending time with my family, but I will be relieved when Christmas is over. What an awesome surprise! Smitty knows how to enjoy the simple things.

kc said...

My gosh, you've been busy - waaay too busy for me to even think about keeping up! You scored some beautiful fabric tho - looked like it was EXACTLY made for that pattern! Wish I had your eye for color - I go trying to match a color scheme, never find what I want, so go off on my own & make one up that I like. Of course, it takes me HOURS, soooo...I annoy most of the people in the store, and often Driver as well.

We did our grocery shop today - keeping it strictly to the list, walked out, after a full hour, trying to pick up salad stuff, fruit, fruit, pasta sauce & taco seasoning....halfway to the car, realized, I'd better go back and get some eggs, just in case I felt like baking this weekend and Driver felt like an omelette...went back in, and I swear, had to travel the same 3 miles as you to get my dozen & a half eggs. They used to be right up front, sort of in the middle, but then the powers that be decided to spend FOUR MILLION DOLLARS (oh yes, 4 million) on a store renovation, and SOMEone had the bright idea to move milk & eggs to the FAR CORNER...??? And the previous hour? spent a lot of it looking for that elusive taco seasoning, now that you ask.

Ugh on your knee - could be aggravated by your weather methinks. and yeah, PT is only good up to a point, and when you reach that point, well, let's just say it's time for plan B, so hope you have a good one. It's been my experience that when your therapist reports you've reached that plateau, well, that's when insurance decides you've had enough, too. :(

Love, love, love the socks & sock monkey fabrics - what a thoughtful friend, and what great timing! Thanks for sharing Smitty's grand adventures with us too - having only the puppy, about all we get anymore is "throw this" and "walk me" and "feed me" anymore. Mostly feed me's....and with puppy-dog eyes like she has, well, we often do....what can I say?

Enjoy your holiday & your stitching!!

Tami C said...

I'm with you on the crowds of crazy people that come out this time of year. I don't go out unless it's absolutely necessary. We take my mother-in-law to lunch on Wednesdays and I go every other Sunday afternoon at the Green Bag Lady. I skipped our last meeting as well as lunch with Mom because of the snow and freezing conditions. You've added some very sweet pastels for your "Raining Cats and Dogs" quilt. As big as the Denver metro area is, I haven't found a quilt shop that I'm in love with. I guess the really great ones are in small towns. The Sock Monkey Santas and Cat Socks that your friend Sher sent you are just adorable! I'm sure Smitty had a great time in his new box. My cats enjoyed the mountain of Christmas totes as soon as my hubby brought them in from our storage room. There's always one or the other of them playing king (or queen) of the mountain!

Jacque said...

I try very hard (read that: refuse) to not go out this time of year! Love how stealth cat hid, just like my Moses....
Is there any way to know a source on the socks? I;ve been searching, cos some of my kitty socks are looking a little worse for the wear...LOL

Little Quilt Shop said...

I also loved McMinville when we lived close by in Lafayette!....had friends all around and especially near Dayton...Dunwoody Wedding Cakes...Millie taught me so much about cake preparation....she had the apple blossoms down to a pat..her speciallity...thanks for that pic!!...eons ago but still wonderful!...and yes, great folks!!....I am in too....praying again for our son...he had a fever after hemodialysis...back in hospital for 2 days....hope his access is not the cause....praying for that transplant!!.....God Bless!!

jan said...

I love your Raining cats and Dogs block. It is going to be a terrific quilt. Glad your knee is better and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!
xo jan

Brown Family said...

We have Christmas with my Sister and all of our kids the weekend before Christmas. That way every one can be home for Santa, especially those that still have little kids. Then I discovered that I needed three more gifts for my grandsons. I have shopping. I hate the mall. I am right there with you on this issue. I drug myself out tonight to Sears in the mall. I could not believe it! In and out in less than thirty min.! Then across the street to Barnes and Noble for a book and I was home within an hour!

I am glad your knee is doing better!

Kate said...

Glad the knee is doing better. While I enjoyed the holiday, I am happy that all the running around is done.