Stupid Tammy Tricks: Dog 1, TK 0




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Meet Phydeaux (pronounced Fido).  She’s a 13-year-old yellow lab who was a birthday gift to our son when he was just three-years-old.  Son has three sisters, he needed a dog as a faithful companion – someone to pal around with, run in the fields with, sleep with and be loved unconditionally by.

Phydeaux has lived a pretty good life.  At this point, she’s beyond the ‘normal’ age range for labs.  She’s had a stroke in the past two years, she cannot run around without taking a few hours to finally catch her breath and her tummy is not very stable – but she’s still a pretty good dog.

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This past weekend, my husband and kids went camping, leaving me home alone with minimal supervision (my MIL was just up the hill from our house, if I needed anything).  Which left me in charge of all of the family pets – two dogs and a turtle.  I’m a champ when it comes to taking care of the turtle!  Feed him twice a day, turn on his light in the morning and turn it off in the evening.

Our other dog is our oldest daughter’s dog.  She is a scrappy terrier mix who was a rescue.  She’s six-years-old and still has a lot of vim and vigor in her.  She’s not too difficult to supervise, especially when there’s treats and lots of belly rubs throughout the day.

Now, once a day, my husband lets the dogs out for something he calls a fun run.  He doesn’t supervise them very much but lets them have some time outside to burn off some energy, chase rabbits or armadillos and just give them a chance to sniff everything and anything.  The only reason he may have to call one of them back to the house is if they are headed to our compost heap.

When I am in charge of the dogs, they rarely listen to me.  They go out and come back in pretty quickly in the mornings and then in the evenings (when they know there are food or treats involved).  It’s those hours between breakfast and bedtime, when I’m home alone, where they challenge my authority EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Last weekend?  Phydeaux was the naughty doggie.  ARGH

I let the dogs out before lunch on Saturday. Now, having MS, I’m not too steady on my feet when I’m not in the house where there are things for me to hold onto – and I cannot use a cane because the right side of my body will always be out of whack from of a huge dead spot in my brain. I could see Phydeaux over near my husband’s garden but every time I called her, she moved further and further away from me. I finally got off the deck and go to get her. And the closer I get, the further away she went.

Her goal? The compost heap, of course. And with her rumbly tummy, I was *not* prepared to clean up dog gak all weekend. Her stroke has affected her hearing in one ear but the other hears just fine…when she wants to.

I start walking perpendicular to her and almost catch up with her…when I realize that at some point, my slipper fell off of my foot. I don’t have much feeling in my feet so is easy to throw a shoe without my knowing it. I look back and see my slipper – except it’s turned the wrong direction for me to slip my foot into it easily and it’s also surrounded by thistles. I finally deduce that I can take one or two steps toward it and then pick it up and put it back on my foot. Well, then I encounter MS issue #gazillion – if my head gets lower than my hind end, I get extremely dizzy (again, that dead spot in my brain is the cause). And just like that, I got dizzy and literally fell on top of my slipper as well as the thistles.

And Phydeaux is still taking a leisurely stroll toward the compost heap. ARGH

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    MS and Balance Issues

    First, please note that NO TWO people diagnosed with MS have the same symptoms.  Many folks with MS appear to walk like they’re drunk.  I usually don’t have that problem – at least around our house.  And when I am away from home and in public, I hold onto my husband or one of our kids to keep my balance.  Or a grocery cart.  Or a wall.  Whatever it takes.

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    One thing that some MS’ers have is neuropathy in their feet.  I do suffer from this and it’s been a bit of a bother.  When I needed some podiatry work done a few months ago, the doctor tested my feet and told my husband that he was surprised I could even walk with the lack of feeling and the inability of my brain to tell my feet to do what he was asking of me.  Luckily, my knees still work so although I occasionally walk like I have club feet (or foot drop), it’s mainly because I have little or no feeling in my feet.  Case in point – I stubbed my little toe on a chair last night and except for feeling pressure, I felt no pain.

    People with MS get lesions in their brains where the myelin sheath decides to go on a holiday and it kills whatever nerves it’s protecting in the brain.  The first lesion (even though I had two prior to that but I did not feel any symptoms with those) that sent me to the hospital on 12/25/2006 and the subsequent diagnosis on 12/26/2010 by the radiologist, happened in my left cerebellum.  Which is the control center for many things – including your right body functioning, your balance…and in my case, some serious dizziness.

    Those of us with MS are definitely broken – hence my use of this great image:

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    But just because I don’t walk like I’m drunk, it doesn’t mean I don’t have balance issues – and they’re happening more and more often the further I get into this autoimmune disease.  I fell in my office a couple of months ago while trying to sit in my chair.  Last week, I fell twice – once into a prickly pear cactus (OUCH!) and once while just walking out to help put our chickens in their coop for the night (no damage, minor pain).

    Then, I fell out of my office shed a few nights ago.  It took me a couple of tries to pick myself up after that ordeal.  Only minor grass rash and a bruised forehead above my hairline but the next morning, when trying to figure out why my right hand was itching so much, I realized I had also fell in a fire ant bed (OUCH again)!

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    But also, because of that white spot in my cerebellum where the lesion killed off those brain cells, my right side isn’t ‘normal’.  It’s basically like a person who has had a minor stroke – I cannot use a cane, a walker or even propel myself in a wheelchair because the right side of my body doesn’t always do what I try to tell my brain to do.

    But, this falling?  We are NOT happy about it – and I’m especially not happy with the way it’s increased lately.  But fortunately, I can still get in some quilt therapy as long as my right hand can cut my fabric with a rotary cutter!

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      Quilting with Nature

      The prickly pear cactus flowers are blooming and they have such amazing colors!

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      I took these photos to one of my image programs and wanted to see the quilt-worthy colors in the flowers.  Here is what I came up with:

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      Not only is there natural beauty in nature, but it can clearly become hand-made beauty in quilting!  So, the next time you are out and about and see colors in nature, take a snapshot of them and then see if you can create a quilt that truly exemplifies all of natures colors – surrounding yourself with quilted color love from outside and inside!

      btw – Speaking from experience, I do not recommend photographing a prickly pear cactus unless you are very sure-footed.

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        Another Generation to Carry on the (Frustrating) Household Traditions

        Over the weekend, my husband and three younger kids went to help pack up and move our eldest daughter home for the summer from her college dorm room.  As I got my lunch prepared, I went to get a glass of milk for my lunch.

        Yeah…this is how much milk my kids left me:

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        Now, I vaguely remember my aunt getting frustrated with me a few times in my youth.  The reason why?  Because I’d leave about this much milk in a jug or would not take the time to replace the toilet paper roll in my bathroom.  I’d just pull out a new roll and use it without putting it on the roll.  You know, where it was supposed to be!

        Guess what?  Without any prompting by me, my children are carrying on those very frustrating traditions.  If I told my aunt, I’m sure she would smile and remind me I was the exact same way growing up.

        And I would do my best impression of rolling my (formerly) teenage eyes, give her a great bit (formerly) teenage sigh and then turn around and go back to my room.  Without fixing a darned thing.  Ah yes, I am feeling her frustrations just about now and wondering which teenager, in our house, would be the next one to roll their eyes at me, sigh and then go hide in their bedroom.

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          There’s No Crying in Quilting!

          ahem…ahem…I’ll be okay, just clearing my throat.  R I G H T.  There CAN be crying in quilting.  And, at least in my case, it’s usually because of nutty errors I’ve made and not something more unforgiving such as my sewing machine breaking down, I am on my last rotary cutter blade and have to literally cut apart my fabric with scissors, I ran out of thread and the nearest quilt shop that carries my thread is 45 minutes away, etc. etc.

          This past Sunday, I was ready to hang it all up.  I had designed a lovely table runner and was going to use my signature sew-n-slash methods for making the blocks that would create the table runner.  I had already pulled out some fabric for this table runner so all that was left was to put a single block together and then, if it worked as I planned, I could create another seven blocks for the project.

          My first snafu occurred when I sewed one color of strips incorrectly – so, the green was next to the purple but in my design, the WHITE was supposed to be next to the purple.  No worries, I quickly reexamined my blocks and decided I would rotate them – half with the green next to the purple and the other half with the white next to the purple.  It was all good, and would still look pretty.  And it did!  It all came together beautifully!

          Snafu #2 happened when I sewed the second block – one of the strips of green was too short…I had sewn the strips in the wrong order.  I did a little ripping and figured I’d just sew an extension to that green strip and all would be good.  Unfortunately, I also did a little nipping and accidentally cut the white strip next to the green strip – no way was I going to make that square work now.  hrumph

          Snafu #3 was when I realized I hadn’t pulled enough scraps out from my stash so I asked DD#2 to help me.  She did a great job and found more scraps that I could use, including one we made work.

          I decided, instead of using my sew-n-slash method, I would use a foundation pieced method.  This meant I was able to lay out the strips, to be sure I sewed them all in the correct order but also that I had enough of the scraps to use.  Back to the drawing board…errr, stash baskets for my daughter!  And my snafu #4.

          Ah yes, it couldn’t stop there now could it?  After a little break from it all, I went back and marked the strips onto the foundation piece.  Went to place the fabrics to measure for length and messed up the lines (needed 1/4″ more for each line) so ironed off the markings and re-measured.  Oh yes, I am sure you can see what’s coming!  Snafu #5 occurred when I started sewing the strips to the foundation and went to press them – I erased ALL of the other lines I’d drawn!  ARGH  (mental note:  if using a disappearing ink pen, be very, very careful!)

          Once I redrew the lines, the sewing went pretty quickly – I was pleased with the ease of putting the blocks together.  Until Snafu #6 occurred where I once again didn’t gauge the length of a strip needed and ended up with a mess I was NOT going to fix.

          I was done.

          Turned off my machine and ironing board and left the whole mess for another day – when perhaps, I won’t cry anymore over my mistakes.

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