Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Finally! I am done with all of my graduate classes and I will never have to go to school again. Its been a long two years since I started taking classes for my Masters degree. For once I am actually doing a first for my family. With 5 siblings, its hard to be the first one to do something, especially when you are number 5 out of 6 children. But I am the first one to get an advanced degree. Wa-hoo!!

When I got home from my last final last night, my husband surprised me with two bags of Lindt dark chocolate (YUM!) and two dozen roses (one for each month of being in school). He also wrote me an extremely nice note about how proud he is of me for actually finishing it. When he finished his Masters degree, his company was forcing him to do it, so he completely understands and is incredibly proud that I made the choice myself to go back to school and I stuck with it to the end.

Throughout the past two years, he has stuck with me through thick and thin. He's supported me and encouraged me to keep going even when I wanted to quit. I can't thank him enough for giving me the courage to stick with it.

Most of all....


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Special Times

No matter what is going on in my life, this time of year always makes me happy. There is just something about getting together with your family and seeing siblings that you haven't seen in several months. When we were kids, we couldn't wait to grow up, get out of the house, and be away from "the fam". But now that we don't see each other that often, its really nice to go back home and enjoy the good times. There's no sibling fighting anymore. There's just everyone enjoying each others company and laughing at the odd little things that happen.

Somehow in my family, we've gotten into the habit of putting puzzles together late into the wee hours of the morning. I think its a case that while we put the puzzle together, we're all chatting and telling stories and laughing about things that happened while we were kids or things that happened recently. We used to spend the time watching TV and movies, but now we actually spend the time talking while we put together a puzzle. Now the puzzles I'm talking about aren't your easy 500 piece puzzles. We're typically around the 1000+ range and if any one person tried to do it, they probably wouldn't finish it. But as a group we're able to tackle it and get it all done. Of course, my husband would say that was because we're a "cast of thousands" (I have 2 sisters, 3 brothers, 1 brother-in-law, and 1 girlfriend-almost-sister-in-law).

Anyway, this year is a little more special to me because in about 4 hours from now, I will have completed the last final exam I will ever have to take. YAY! In 4 hours, I will never have to take another class and I will soon get that nice little piece of paper with my name on it saying that I have a Masters degree. It will be incredibly nice to never have to go to school again and to be able to come home from work and not pick up a text book (unless I need to throw it at someone!).

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Doctors & Marketing

After spending an hour getting fitted for $20 arch supports, I've come to the conclusion that doctors really shouldn't own their own businesses. The "doctor" I went to today tried to convince me that I needed a new pair of $200 sneakers for walking around outside, $200 of "Forrest Gump" shoes that look bigger than my safety shoes, and $200 sandles for walking around the house. My orthopedist wanted me to get $20 arch supports to see if it helps alleviate some of the pain I'm having in my arch. I told this other doctor this about 4 times, obviously without making much of an impact.

At the outset of the appointment, the doctor asked me if my insurance covered orthotics. Thankfully I had called my insurance company yesterday and determined that in my case they do because its related to me breaking my foot. Unfortunately, I told the doctor today that in my case all of it would be covered 100%. After that point, he put me through every analysis, tried to get me to buy $600 of shoes that I don't need and tried to sell me on a custom made orthotic. Doctors should stick to being doctors and actually listen to their patients instead of trying to sell them things they don't need just because the insurance company would pay for it.

Today's "experience" doesn't instill me with any more confidence about doctors, but I guess they are just like every other big business even though they aren't big. If you can make a buck and screw the little guy, they'll try and do it.


Earlier this summer, I ended up breaking a bone in my right foot. I broke the same bone about 10 years ago. Similar to 10 years ago, I twisted my ankle pretty badly (this time while hiking) and while I hoped that I had just twisted it, two weeks later when it still hurt I found out that the bone was broken. I was put into a cast for 4 weeks and then into a walking boot for another 4 weeks. After the cast was taken off, my foot swelled like crazy and I had to go for physical therapy for 3.5 weeks to get rid of the swelling and pain.

It had been feeling pretty good for a few weeks and during that time I had slowly transitioned from wearing sneakers to shoes and things seemed fine. However, after two weeks my foot started feelign sore again and causing me to limp. I finally got the nerve to call the doctor and steup an appointment. After waiting 35 minutes in the exam room, the doctor flew in, spent about 5 minutes with me, tole me to get some arch supports and left. In the 5 minutes, he said that if the arch supports don't work then there are two paths we can take. One is to try immobilizing my foot again with a cast or surgery to remove the bone.

On one hand, I'm glad he's trying the non-invasive route first, but at this point I just wish I had done the srugery 4 months ago. I looked online ( and found my exact problem and how it can be fixed. Recovery ranges from 6 weeks to 3 months, so if it had just been done I would be completely healed by now. At this point after being in pain for 4.5 months, I'm ready to do just about anything. Hopefully things will go quickly and it will finally be fixed soon.

On a good note, I have finished my second to last final exam that I will ever have to take. I have one final left next week before I am completely done with my Masters degree. I'm not so much excited to be done, but more relieved. It will be good to be done. Its been a long haul and I give kudos to everyone out there that have gotten any sort of degree while working. Congrats!!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Annoying Little Kitties

I always know when its starting to get really cold out when my cat decides that she needs to be snuggled up in bed with me at 3 in the morning. I was blissfully asleep with my husband next to me and at 3 am I get rudely woken up by a loud meow and the smell of cat food as my cat, Ellie, was demanding to be given room to sleep next to me. She spent the next ten minutes pawing at the covers to make a "nest" for herself and then plopped down with her rear right next to my face - thanks, Ellie. Needless to say with her on one side of me and my husband on the other, I didn't get a whole lot of sleep the rest of the night. Plus, since my husband took today as a vacation day from work, he didn't even have to get up this morning.

Despite the little annoyances of the cat (the smelly fish breath, the waking up at 3 in the morning, the random pooping outside the litterbox when she thinks its not clean enough), she's all in all a pretty good cat. I adopted her while I was living in CT because I was tired of coming home to an empty apartment. She had been living with a woman who had two Pugs (puntable dogs) that absolutely terrorized the cat. So I took Ellie in. At first she was really bad about chewing on cords, wires, and blinds (thankfully the apartment complex didn't notice when I left so I didn't get charged for the damage). She stopped for a while when I moved into the 2-bedroom apartment in NY, but she chewed the blinds near a table so that she could see out.

After we moved into the house, we bought custom made blinds to fit the windows. We were actually worried that Ellie would chew those, and I knew if she did, she would be in a LOT of trouble. However, as there are lots of windows with big windowsills for her to sit on, she has many "channels" to watch and she doesn't feel the need to chew things anymore. I'm sure she must have done it out of pure boredom at the apartments. But now she has the upstairs channel, the kitchen channel, the foyer channel, and the front office channel, so she has lots of opportunity to look outside without having to find a way to get there.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Quilting Tip #1

Cutting: Purchasing a quality rotary cutter and self-healing mat are essential in making a good quilt. If you take the time in the beginning to make sure your squares or triangles are cut straight and are correct, then it makes pieces MUCH easier.

The first quilt I made (see the picture on First Quilt post) I wasn't very careful with cutting the squares. If you look closely, the corners don't really line up and every once in a while you can see a pucker along a seam line. When I pieced the rows together, I tried to make the seams line up as best I could by pinning, so it ended up with excess fabric in between the seams in certain places. It made the piecing and assembly the borders a bit more of a chore than it should have been.

For the baby quilt I'm working on now, I was very careful with cutting and all the pieces lined up perfectly. I still pinned the rows to at the seams to make sure the squares all lined up, but I didn't have any problems sewing it. I don't have a picture of it yet, but I will try to get one posted soon.

First Quilt

So here's my first quilt that I made for my 90-year-old Grandmother. I was able to get most of it pieced within a week or two, but school caught up with me and I had to stop for a while. All in all, it took me about 3 months to make this, including doing the quilting myself (on a machine) and attaching the binding. The binding was sewn on by machine on the front side, and then stitched by hand on the back.

Starting Out

I know it’s probably a stupid title for a blog, but I thought maybe the title would catch some other “crafters” eyes. I intend to try and document my various projects, tips, hints, and ideas for projects here. I’ve done a lot of different things over the years, and most recently I’ve gotten into making quilts. In the past I’ve done a lot of needlepoint, specifically counted cross-stitch, and I still plan on doing the cross-stitch. There’s something mind numbing about moving the needle back and forth through the fabric and seeing the design on paper come to life in front of you. It’s definitely something good to do after a long day at work and I don’t really want to think anymore. Eventually I will post some pictures of my work on here for all to see.

I’ve also tried crochet and knitting in the past. I’ve never gotten the hang of knitting, but I have made a few afghans using crochet. They’re very simple, but it’s something nice to start in the fall and then once it starts getting cool enough to need a blanket, the afghan is large enough to start keeping me warm.

As I said, my most recent escape is in the world of quilting. I started trying to do quilting two years ago. At the time I was living in an apartment with my husband and didn’t really have the room to cut fabric and use the sewing machine. Plus, the first pattern I tried to do had a bunch of triangles in it and for a beginning quilter with no one to guide me; it wasn’t the easiest thing to do. I made a few blocks that I hope to eventually put together and make into a wall hanging or something, but I eventually stopped when we bought a house (for anyone who has moved, you know how much time and effort it takes to pack everything and then unpack everything). When we bought the house, I also decided to go back to school to get a Masters degree, which of course took up a huge amount of time. During my winter break last year though, I was able to buckle down and make a lap quilt for my 90-year-old grandmother. She absolutely loved it.

So now that I have one full quilt under my belt, I have about 6 in various stages of being sewn and planning. I am currently making a baby quilt for my sister-in-law and I’m also making a play quilt for the baby. Two of my husband’s coworkers are also expecting (one is expecting twins) so I have three other baby quilts planned and I just need to buy the fabric to get started. I also have a queen sized quilt planned for our bed and a large wall hanging planned to put over our fireplace (we have no idea what else to put up there, but it needs some color). Eventually, pictures of all of these will be on here at their various stages.
Well, I hope you all enjoy my blog and I will be posting information about my projects and other happenings around the house. My husband and I are planning on getting a puppy in the spring, so that should be an exciting time. We’ll just have to see how the cat and the puppy get along. :-)