Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Part Deux: Can this shirt be saved?

I'm feeling so much better, I can't even begin to describe it. When I feel new pain (like it switches from left to right, or my knee hurts) I think "There's nothing wrong with me." It's something I came up with on the drive back to work post-Len on Monday. It seems to be helping. We had a one hour meeting this afternoon in these really awful conference room chairs and my back was NOT screaming like it was as little as a month ago. Pain level is a 1/2/3.

I have acupuncture tmw night, 5pm, be there or be square!!

Ok, so last night I posted more ebay stuff.
Tonight I worked on the shirt.
I snuggled up to my seam ripper and ripped out the shoulders, then redid the pleats and sewed the seam from the inside and that combo seemed to resolve bumpiness issues. I am not going to topstitch it. It's not really necessary and may create lumpiness.
So much better!!  Simplicity 2594

Then I sewed down the sides but it was too tight around the hips, so I did a minimal seam allowance starting after the waist downward, which makes it look better in the front, but the back has weird fabric pooling above my derriere when it's supposed to be all loose and flow-y.

Then I remembered that I cut the tunic length instead of the shirt length so I will either:
A. make side slits
B. if that looks weird, then I will cut the tunic down to shirt length, which should eliminate that problem.

Then I sewed the right side arm hole (fold and fold under again and sew) and it's all wavy. To fix that, I will rip it out and use single fold bias tape instead, clipping it as I go.

Ugly sleeve hem but the other bit is pretty!

Also, I didn't like how the cowl was draping. I tried sewing that down and that looks ugly, so I will rip that out.

Time spent tonight: 1.5 hours, plus 2 on Sun night = 3.5 hours thus far. Maybe I will work on it more tmw night. I'm feeling hopeful for it!!

Tmw is July 1. Holy cow. Time is just speeding by. Crazy!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Can this shirt be saved?

I worked on Simplicity 2594 view B tonight, which I had estimated to be a 1 hour shirt. Ha ha ha ha. Two hours later, here's what I'm at.

just pinned on the side, simplicity 2594, view B

It's just pinned on the side for the photo.

I had trouble with the tucks at the dropped shoulder, so I changed that to gathering.
The directions have the yoke being ironed with the 5/8 seam and then sewn over with topstitching. It's just plain ugly on the right shoulder but not too bad on the left.

this is plain ugly

this is better

Here's the back of the shirt:
back of shirt

Here's an idea I have to cover up the ugliness:
idea to cover up ugliness

But most likely I will just rip it apart and start over, to sew it from the inside and then topstitch.

Or abandon it.

Is anyone else watching Expedition: Africa on the History Channel? I'm hooked on it. It seemed a bit like Survivor, but without the tribal councils and eliminations and whatnot, and with only 4 main "characters". It wasn't a surprise to learn it's produced by Mark Burnett.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Ruffled excitement

I violated my "no sewing after work rule". But I had sort of taken a nap, so it turned out just fine. :) There's been a lot of rain here lately...so the thunder kept me from really falling asleep.

I had cut out Simplicity 2599 view E, minus the bow, plus sleeves from view A/B last weekend, but didn't get a chance to sew it. Until tonight. It took about 2 hours and 10 minutes to sew (and it felt last week like it took that long to cut it out...) It's in a brown double knit instead of a woven. I really wish I had used the gray double knit instead.

Simplicity 2599 view E minus bow plus sleeves

Here's a closeup of the ruffle which was way easier to make than I anticipated.
whole shirt Simplicity 2599 view E minus bow plus sleeves

Adorable, huh? I'm not much of a bow person so I left it off. I was afraid it might look too much like a clown collar, but instead I think it looks very Ann Taylor.

I'm trying to decide, should I make view C or view D next?? It will definitely be in gray double knit. I might go for full-on jabot madness with view C.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Acupuncture ahoy! and a surprise on my leg.

Last night, George Michael songs were stuck in my head. And then I found out, today is his birthday. He's 46.

I had acupuncture today for the first time! Very interesting experience. I went with a co-worker's recommendation to visit Karen. From the moment I saw her, I knew I would like her: tall, thin, cute haircut, graying hair, leaf necklace, cute shirt. She saw me right away--no waiting in a waiting room. She took my medical history in a way no one else has: she asked questions and I talked. No forms where I check off where I'm hurting on a crude drawing of a human, no pain meters, no insurance info, no checking off family history. Unlike all other doctors, she was actually empathetic and acknowledged the pain I'm in. She said all the right things. I only had to sign one form.

She knows my orthopedist Jeff. She knows my chiropractor Len. She said Len is not a traditional chiropractor. She said he's more like a physical therapist because he does soft tissue work (officially called Active Release Technique) and less back cracking (her words). She said she likes the ortho and the chiro. And she said that acupuncture and chiropracty go hand in hand.

She showed me the acupuncture needles (they are really really thin, reminding me of beading needles because of their flexibility) and told me what she would do, and she agreed she could treat both knees and the back all at once. Then I put on a gown. She did this neat trick where she had me take a deep breath and then asked me forcefully blow out the air---so as I was pushing the air out, she stuck me. Loved that as it was a great distraction and reminded me of yoga breathing. The feet are the most sensitive body part, she said, but for me the worst one was a needle she put in my left calf that really really hurt--I yelped out loud. She said that was a great sign--that was for my lower back and the fact that I reacted means this will work--she said that area is blocked and this will release it. She put some needles around my knees and some in my thighs near my hips, and some in my arms and one in each ear. While she was doing that, one knuckle on my hand (not near any needle) started feeling really warm. She said that was also for my lower back--another great sign.
She didn't actually put any needles in my lower back. She said it's already irritated, why irritate it further (a-ha!). Instead, she said something about releasing the blockages through my body first. Then she put a crinkly mylar-type blanket on me for warmth, turned out the lights, turned on the soothing music with bird sounds, and let me lie there for 20 minutes. It was kind of wild. I could feel my lower left back tingling. Sometimes it does that at night on its own. Then I was trying to take deep breaths but it was hurting to breathe too deeply (that also used to happen a while ago). The knuckle started to feel increasingly warm.

Then she came back in and took all the needles out, and massaged my legs with lotion and gave me some water. She told me what supplements to take (sometime else I will write them out, but it was glucosamine for joints, magnesium for muscle spasms, and something else...it's all on a paper downstairs.) She talked about the energy flowing through my body, blocked areas, and other things I didn't understand, but hey, I'll roll with it.

She said tonight I should have a long hot shower. She said I could feel sore because the muscles will release lactic acid, so I should drink a lot of water. and I should massage my legs. She did not assume I wanted to come back! I said I want to come back on Wednesday. She only takes cash or checks (she rents this room in some other acupuncturist's office) and said I could pay next time since I didn't have enough cash nor a checkbook on me. Wow, alternative medicine is wild. (With Len too, they didn't want me to pay my copay the first visit--just wait for a few visits and then pay the co-pay.) She also asked about my coworker and said I should say hello.

Then it was a fantastic warm summer evening in Princeton. I walked around. I entered shops with stairs and my knees didn't hurt again!

I came home and ate dinner outside. I had changed into a dress. I started looking at my legs--could I see where the needles had been? I saw this area that looked like it could be blood?


It was a tick. A tiny little tick. The kind that carries Lyme's disease. Stuck onto my leg!!!

I googled "how to remove a tick". Followed the directions. Seems like it's already dead. I washed down the area with soap and water.

It's always something. But at least I'm not in bad pain unlike yesterday. I'm in good spirits.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Orange you happy for roses?

I am!!
I am feeling miserable today (right side pain hath returned with a vengeance at 3am this morning continuing throughout the day) but these orange roses are very cheery!! Their variety is "voodoo".

Orange roses!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sheer delight!

What does that drawing look like to you?
What does that drawing look like to you??

Week in review

Tuesday: Had massage at the gym. Deep tissue massage for half an hour was a bit too much like physical therapy for me. Next time I want something more superficial--like pampering--and less expensive--like $1 a minute.

Thursday: Had dinner with my friend Ellen from the gym. She caught me up on all gym gossip. I was so happy to talk with someone from that part of my life.

Friday: Saw chiropractor after work. Len is a magician. He worked on my knees and my back. That night, I walked up the stairs for the first time in 5 years without any knee pain at all (the pain has since come back in my right knee but the left one still feels like new!). My back was slightly aggravated from his treatment but I'm definitely willing to give him a shot!! He said his treatments will be 15 minutes each time, twice a week for a month, and that what he does will last progressively longer after each visit. I see him tmw night and then he is off for the rest of the week as the official chiropractor for some track and field event, but thereafter I can definitely see him twice a week for a month. He hopes that I won't have to go back to the orthopedic. His office is conveniently located close to work. 15 minutes a session beats upwards of 2 hours of therapy per visit!

Yesterday: My ebay auctions ended. I somehow entered the wrong amount for postage for one item (much much much much less than it should have been) but it worked out because the buyer wanted to have it mailed Express Mailed to San Diego and asked for a revised invoice--phew! Otherwise my mistake would have wiped out a good portion of what I made on this batch of ebay!!

Today we celebrated my parents 45th wedding anniversary (which was actually last weekend) and Father's Day.

Exterior of Anniversary card
Card I made...much better than Hallmark!

45th Anniversary Refrigerator Cake
Fridge cake I made...with chocolate chips forming "45"

Fabric for mom's sapphire anniversary apron
Fabric for apron I made for mom.

LOVE those numbers!
LOVE these numbers on the box of Thomas Sweet chocolate!!

Dad spent a good portion of the afternoon installing my new double traverse rod with new sheers and old curtains):
The new double traverse rod with sheers!!
They are sheer bliss (heh heh)! I am so in love with these curtains! Plus my parents hauled away my un-ebay-able stuff that I was getting rid of so the living room is looking clean and tidy again. And Hal gave a little dance recital too. Hal is really such a joy!! I highly recommend!!

Sunset over the condos
The sun sets on another day....wish I had tomorrow off--good night!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

You knew this was coming...

Some people post all their MRI images in their online photo albums. and blog.
But I'm only posting one of the 177 images taken that day.

It blows my mind to know that this is what I look like inside.
I blurred some data in the upper right corner.

Here you can see my spine as taken from the side. So neat that you can see the vertebrae and disks.
And for you sewists, you can see my slight sway back!!!
Pretty amazing.

My spine as taken during my lumbar MRI on 5/30/09

Monday, June 15, 2009

Conclusion of Supersized Weekend

Act 1:
Honestly, I don't recall very much of what I did yesterday. Must have been a good day!

Today I returned some stuff from my retail therapy binge, but purchased some other stuff in the process ($1.99 Simplicity pattern sale partially to blame). And I made my very first chiropractor appointment. And spa appointment for deep tissue massage. Sometimes I feel like I'm living someone else's life. I mean, for all of 2008 I went to the dentist, twice. No other doctors, because I had had my eye appt and physical in late 2007. And so far, in not even 6 months of 2009, I have had:
  • 7 visits to "urgent care"
  • 17 physical therapy visits
  • 1 dental checkup
  • 1 eye dr checkup
  • 1 orthopedic surgeon visit
  • 1 MRI experience
  • 1 x-ray (included with urgent care visit)
I have not seen bills for any of the above, yet. Doc visits are all covered, but the tests, therapy, etc...they're 90% covered and have deductibles.

Pain level is at 2/3 for back. I think it's doing really really well. Right knee is hurting again, but both knees are next on the list for "fixing". Plus a physical, another dental checkup, the eye dr dilation visit, etc.

Act 2:
Ah yes, I almost completed a bathrobe to match the nightgown yesterday. I want to make a nifty belt for it. I was hoping Joann's would have some white "rope" but I couldn't find it. So instead I will braid together some white cloth strips or twill tape or ribbon or something to make the belt. In the picture, the "belt" is just a piece of too-short twill tape (or something similar) that definitely wouldn't fit around my waist in real life. Also, I sewed the belt loops on about an inch too low, b/c the last bathrobe I made had the belt loops too high, and I mistakenly assumed they would be too high too for this one (nope).

New Bathrobe!!!

Back of new bathrobe!

Kinda has a New York Yankees vibe to me (even though, I know their uniforms are white with blue pinstriping).

Act 3:
How many blooms do you count (look carefully!)??? This is just one bush, by the way!!
Hibiscus in bloom!  How many blooms do you see??

I wish I had another day off but that's always how I feel when it comes to vacation--always wanting for another day!!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

First half of supersized weekend

I'm having a 4 day weekend. Yeah!!
It started yesterday with the morning in bed, an afternoon of retail therapy and then some cupcakes.
Cupcake trio, side view
Left to right:
85 cent cupcake from Gina's Pastry Shop
$1.70 cupcake from LaBon
$2.25 (or was it $2.50?) rose cupcake from LaBon

Cupcake trio, overhead view

I think La Bon's cupcakes are slightly more delicious but they are definitely a close match. Gina's are certainly cheaper and a bit closer to my home. (I asked the cashier, these are really 85 cents? and she said yes!)

I started sewing again! I know! I shouldn't be sewing but I couldn't help myself. We'll see how I feel tmw. Right now, I don't feel any different than before I started sewing today. I stretched before sewing and took breaks, and set a time limit so didn't sew for as long as I would have liked. But I have been wanting to make this nightgown since I saw it on Kitty Couture! Be sure to check out the last picture in that post--what a hoot!

My new friend piping was along for the ride:
I made a nightgown.

Here's a closeup as it exists now:
closeup of front

Cute, right?

I'm trying to decide how to finish it off.

three square buttons?
Three square buttons?

three white buttons with red flowers?
Three round buttons with red flowers?

one button?
One round button?

Here's the back:

And here it is with the flash, so you can see the embroidery in the fabric:
Front with flash

Of course, I have a lot to say about the pattern, especially since it had bad reviews on SPR. I actually liked it, and will post a review in the next few days to explain why.

I started my next project. Guess what this will be:

Guess what this will be

Good night!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Another diagnosis: SI joint issues

This afternoon I saw the orthopedic doctor. He says my back looks really healthy. Says the disk is bulging on the right side, so it’s not causing my left side pain. If I felt right side pain down the leg that was tingling, numbness or weakness, then the disk would be the cause of that pain. But I don’t feel pain like that down the right side. I've never felt pain down the right side.

He thinks my right side pain is the muscle recovering from the injury in January—esp since that pain is not so frequent now.

He thinks my left side pain is from the SI joint. This was something Janet hypothesized a few visits ago. He thinks the trauma (his words) of my fall on Dec 24 could be the reason.

He thinks I should see a chiropractor next for a month to do joint manipulation, then see him again in a month. If it’s still not better, he’ll inject the SI joint with cortisone.

Now that area is all inflamed from the test he did, I think it’s the FABER one talked about here:

I also enjoyed the SI info found here:

He says I should walk, take Aleeve when I need to, and keep doing the daily exercises Janet gave me to do. But otherwise keep on taking it easy.

Now I just have to find a chiropractor. I asked how frequently I should see the chiropractor and he said that is something I can work out with the chiropractor.

I asked him if he thinks I will be pain free someday and he said yes.

I asked what I can do to keep the bulging disk from becoming herniated or to keep it from happening to my other disks. He said I do not need to worry about my spine or back, that it looks very healthy from the MRI images. He says the bulging disk is quite small.

Tonight was my last appointment with Janet. She seemed frustrated that she was not able to "fix" me and she voiced her concerns about what a chiropractor might do to me. I don't know. I'm skeptical myself. But I also know a few people who really believe in chiropractors.

Oh, and I wasn't all that impressed with this doc. At one point he told me he was running behind on his appointments. He seemed kind of distant and eager to move on. I'm not sure he really cared. But he did the exam and he tested me in ways other docs and the therapist had not.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I love my Roomba!

Cloud picture for June 7, 2009
Today's cloud picture

I really don't know what I did today, seeing as Hal, my Roomba, did all the work. I was wondering if it would make vacuum marks on the carpet. I always made the vacuum marks in a fan pattern. Hal does make marks, albeit of a random variety:
the roomba vacuum pattern

This morning I decided to cut the flowers on the rose bushes. I was right next to the white rose bush when I heard an animal rapidly approaching. Usually that sound indicates a dog that made a break for it, but today it was a deer! It came around the corner of my house and kept on running, then turned and ran into the park behind my house. It was really beautiful.
Roses for June 7, 2009

My week in medical review:

Pain level was at a 2 or 3 at the start of the week. I had a head cold so my nose was a mucus producing machine Mon afternoon at work (nice image, huh?) but at least by that point my gums had healed (another great image).

Tuesday night I went to PT. During deep tissue massage she said it felt like "nothing much" on the right side--that was an improvement over previous sessions, specifically the one where she said it felt like the tissue was immobilized. She held the manual traction for longer than usual on the left side. I felt something happen...then later that night and on Wednesday the pain level shot up to a 5. Plus it was dark and rainy and I was miserable.

Miserable. Three Aleeve miserable. Thinking about how much longer I have to live miserable.

Thursday I felt better (3/4) so I went back to PT. She took it easy on me that night, though she did her elbow-in-the-piriformis and deep tissue massage.

Friday I cancelled my Tues PT appointment.

Saturday night I went shopping and bought the Roomba and two new outdoor lawn chairs.

Today I woke up and the right side was hurting. I haven't felt the right side pain for at least 2 weeks now. Interesting. Pain sort of oscillated throughout the day, right side/left side. Remnants of head cold curiously remain.

Thursday I see the orthopedic!! I have about 100 questions for him. I'm going to type them up soon and leave spaces for answers like when I'm interviewing someone for a job. Plus my boss will buy me a good orthopedic chair if I get a doctor's note. Must get doctor's note!!

And how was your weekend?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Open the Bay Doors, Hal

My new Roomba 530, charging up
I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that.

I bought the Roomba 530 tonight!

It's charging up (and blinking) overnight.
And it's taking over my living room tomorrow...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Japanese English

When I wrote about my heart touching router, Antoinette left this comment:
Sweeeet! Any chance the box was printed (and the copy written) in China or Japan? I lived in Japan as a child and always loved all of the just-missed-the-meaning translations that would get printed on their products. Funny stuff!

I love that she lived in Japan! How lucky!

I spent two weeks in Japan during July 2001. During my cleanout of the last two weekends, I have rediscovered quite a few "funny English" items I acquired during my visit.

9 days wonder: can't recall an important event in my life
Nine Days Wonder: can't recall an important event in my life t-shirt

Back of a shirt

front of same shirt; tags still attached; it was 980 yen (about 10 bucks)

Enjoy your summer vacation.  Best vacation ever.
Enjoy your summer vacation!
Best vacation ever!

Toothbrush: it's my daily magic rite!
Always near to me, making my teeth white and putting a smile on my face.
My magic brush!!

Hmmm..wonder what this says?
Wonder what this says...

I'll post more another time.

Which one is your favorite??