In Which Molly Goes to the Clinic… and We Learn Some New Vocabulary

Alana and OceanBurning have been accompanying me to clinic all week, and I didn’t realize until yesterday how valuable a role they played. Yesterday I was by myself and had two consultations(!!) back to back at the clinic. I hadn’t asked anyone to come with me, so I took Molly with me instead. At first, I was a bit self-conscious about it, but then I figured that anything beat crying on the floor in the bathroom while throwing my cell phone at the wall because Aaron lost his phone and I don’t have any way of calling him (which is my typical recourse for crying on the floor in the bathroom.)

faithful MollySo I brought a bag big enough to fit Molly into, and then I brought Molly with me to the Clinic of St. Jude. I got some strange looks from people, but no one said anything. Most of the strange looks were people thinking, oh, that’s different rather than there goes the weirdo (fortunately.)

And it turned out that Molly was a great friend to have yesterday. I spent over one hour waiting for my PMR consult. During that time period, I would have paced the waiting room floor except that I was really exhausted, and I didn’t want everyone else in the waiting room to have to endure my nerves. Molly and I worked on browsing the internet, reading books, eavesdropping on conversations, skyping my sister who lives in Europe, and periodically bothering the receptionist and asking her random questions. We learned (from eavesdropping) that retired truckers who enjoy driving to Alaska can also be really loud and that grown men who are separated from their wives (but not yet divorced because they’re too lazy to get around to it) tend to also have mothers who are very loud and nosy and accompany them in the waiting room. We would have been more sympathetic if they had not fed our growing insecurity about being in the clinic for (seemingly) pointless consultations. Oh, and by “we”, I suppose that I actually mean “I”. Molly is pretty chill about everything and everyone.

Molly did enjoy the fact that every consultation room at this clinic has a private sofa. (Seriously, some doctors’ offices (like the XXXXL exam rooms!) should pick up on this feature. Anyhow, during the actual consultations, she just sat on the sofa, patiently waiting for everything to be over until I needed her again. The PMR doctor did ask me at the end of the consult if I bring my pink teddy bear with me everywhere. I said, Only when I’ve been in clinic for far too many days in the row and I just can’t handle it any more. He was cool with that, and we were cool with him!

We learned some interesting things in our visit to the clinic. Pieces of the puzzle started falling together yesterday. It seems like we had all the pieces already (or most of them). But we just needed the right people to all put their heads together sequentially to notice that some things actually went together. Dr. Leo was a big help with that, as St. Jude’s coordinating physician kept going back to him to review things and ask more questions about my previous care. I’m really, really grateful for his help with that.

More details in the coming days as I continue to process and think about long-term implications of new ideas. I’m driving back home on Monday, but I’ll still be on leave so I’ll have some time to think, some time to rest, some time to be on vacation, and some time to have wifi without driving around town trying to track it down! (Abigail vacationing without wifi does not a good combination make.)

Until next time,
Abigail

At the clinic

I’m at the clinic now. It’s a bit aurreal. Things at not rxactly going very well because of scheduling rrrors but it remains to be seen how things will pan out pleasep pray

Also my mobile posting options are a bit flawed!

They Keep Saying, We’re Going to Miss You

My coworkers at my new job are warming up to the fact that beginning tomorrow I’m on leave for three weeks while I travel to the Clinic of St. Jude. Everyone says the same thing. I’m going to miss you so much. I’m counting down the days until you get back. We love having you here, and we can’t wait until you get back.

It’s so uncharacteristically different from the ravenous lion. It warms my heart. It’s nice to feel loved and needed and part of a team. I love it.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!
Abigail

little pieces of news…

- I’m getting used to the greeting “hey, dude” at work. No one has called me “dude” before.

- I gave myself the day off church so that I could get enough sleep to go to work… and then I worked a nine hour shift!! What was I thinking??

- I can’t believe we’re right on the cusp between being snowed in and being in swimsuit season. Weird.

Abigail

Leaving in Eight Days…

I’m leaving for the Clinic of St. Jude in eight days, and besides being really nervous, now I’m worried that I’m not going to have enough time to get everything done on this end. I think that’s a complicated side effect of trying to stay distracted before I go.

Anyhow, I accomplished a few things today that make me feel a little more ready.

I bought this shirt at Old Navy. It’s symbolic for me of my journey and my thoughts on the future!

I bought a new pair of glasses — my first new pair in four years. It’s been a long time coming, especially since my current glasses are about to fall into pieces. Fortunately, the technician replaced the nosepads on my current glasses, so they have a new lease on life. But seriously, how long should one wear glasses where the finish is coming off the lenses? Especially if her insurance covers glasses??? They’re scheduled to be ready in 7-10 days. Let’s hope that’s more like 7-8 and less like 9-10!!

And I bought new nail polish in “sunset bronze“. I’m going for subtle understatement in a Valentine’s color. Plus it goes with the new shirt.

Sense of accomplishment? Check. Status of bedroom?? Aftermath of hurricane Abigail.

I guess there’s still work to be done!

Abigail

Getting Nervous…

I just got the patient itinerary for my first week at the Clinic of St. Jude. I’m really nervous now. Actually, I’m freaking out. My coordinating physician down there already has me booked for the first five days with lots of testing and consultation. (Well, I knew that was going to happen but now it’s in solid print.) I can’t believe that I’m going down there all by myself and am going to have to deal with this 24/7 for days on end. I can’t believe that I’m going to be in a new place with new doctors doing all this stuff. I feel overwhelmed already.

I’m trying to remember that I have friends there that will support me. Alana lives there, and so does Bethany and her husband. Other friends live close by. One of my best friends from elementary school(!) is doing her medical school rotation in town just for those three weeks!! And I know my coordinating physician personally.

I can do things like tell them that fasting from midnight to 4:00pm two days in a row is just not going to happen. I can make people actually read my records and not just endlessly rerun tests that have already been done (just for the sake of doing them again.) I can (and I will) decline certain treatment “options”.

The thing is though that all of that takes a lot of energy: physical, emotional, and mental. I’m not even there yet, and I’m already overwhelmed.

It’s so ironic that I have to be this involved in the management of something that’s out of my control.

Please pray. A lot.

Thanks,
Abigail

February 2014: Polaroid Block

This post is part of Hive 2 of the Stash Bee.

Interview

What is your name? Abigail Cashelle

Where do you live? in the United States

Tell us about your family. I’m single 20-something girl. I grew up as the oldest of three girls in a fairly traditional evangelical Christian home.

Tell us about how you got interested in quilting. I’ve wanted to quilt for as long as I could remember. I remember going into my mother’s crafting book stash and secretly reading pages on quilting that were in there. She had a Sunbonnet Sue book that I practically memorized. But I never actually started quilting until I started graduate school in 2011. By then, I had summoned up enough self-confidence to dare to learn to quilt without a teacher (or really knowing anyone who quilted.)

How do you organize your fabric stash? It’s organized chaos really. I have a set of drawers with current works in progress, including projects that I have in my head but haven’t even seen the light of day. I have a big box of fabric scraps that I’ve collected from various projects, from a sewing friend, and from remnant bins at various fabric stores. Then I have a box of stash fabric (not organized, just folded.) On top of all that, I collect vintage sheets, so I have a box of those, organized by color.

Who is/are your favorite fabric designers? For a while, I loved everything that Cosmo Cricket came out with. I love Sarah Jane‘s style and have used some of her prints here and there, primarily for baby quilts. Mostly I just love anything with a retro flair or that reminds me of someone that I’m quilting for.

What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you first started quilting? I wish I realized how creative sewing is. I’m not an exact person (as you will come to find out), and so I always imagined that sewing would be impossible. To tell the truth, I am learning to be more exact, but I’ve also discovered that quilting has a tremendous amount of creativity and freedom to it. You don’t have to follow a pattern to the hilt and there’s no exact requirements for the length and width of a quilt. It helps if all your blocks are the same size, but if they’re slightly off, people can’t really tell once it’s on a bed and definitely not when they’re sleeping under it.

sewing edges for block #3What is your favorite sewing/quilting tool and why should we all go out and buy it? It took me a while to hop on the washi tape craze, but it’s come in really useful for quilting. I’ve used it to mark a 1/4″ sew allowance on my sewing machine. I use it to tape my schematics to the wall or to tap the rest of a fat quarter package back together. It’s super nice also to make those packages seem extra special when you’re mailing a quilting gift to someone. Right now, I only have green washi tape, so it would be nice to have another color. But this girl quilts on a budget, so I tend to go for the basics. Plus I figure that if I’m frugal on the tools, I can spend more money on the actual materials!

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? I’m a huge Jane Austen fan. I’ve listened to Pride and Prejudice as an audiobook so many times that I have entire sections memorized. However, I still discover new things in it every day. To the high school English teacher who said that it was not a work of literary merit, I would have to say that that put it in a special category for me and made it one of the only books from high school that I still go back to all the time. I love all the movie/TV adaptations that I’ve seen, including the two BBC versions and the Kiera Knightley version. I think I like the Jennifer Ehlre/Colin Firth version. I’m a devoted fan of the Lizzie Bennet diaries; I love the way in which they’ve adapted the story to modern life and the ways in which they’ve interpreted the characters’ personalities. I’ve read a ton of fan fiction but am not a fan of the zombie/vampire twists (simply because I avoid that genre altogether.)

A few other things to note about myself:

- I am a historian by trade. I specialized in the antebellum South (which means the era before the Civil War and the area where slavery was legal.) I’m fascinated by tradition and by modern adaptions of the traditional.

- I have a chronic illness which has had a fairly significant impact on my life. I’ll be at a medical clinic undergoing more diagnostic evaluations for at least part of the month of February. Although I might be a little harder to get a hold of than usual, I’m really, really grateful for a distraction as preparing for the visit and even thinking about it has been kind of stressful (and scary). [My blog tells you much more about this journey.]


The Quilt Tutorial

My first memory of a Polaroid camera is a Sunday School class when I was four years old. One of the teachers owned a Polaroid camera, and they would come up with crafts that involved taking a picture of each of the students. My four year old self loved the idea of instant photos and watching the photograph develop. In sixth grade, we spent at least one week in art class altering photos we took with a Polaroid camera. We discovered that if you used toothpicks or q-tips, you can draw rings of fire around your subject. The bride at the first wedding I attended as an adult used Polaroid cameras to take photos of the guests for her guest book. So lots of memories!!

I’m excited about the possibility of a Polaroid quilt, one that can showcase some fun prints, can bust part of your stash, and can celebrate the past (and the present)!

fussy cut: block #3

Note how close to the edge of the fabric this picture is. Remember that Polaroids are a form of amateur art, so it’s totally fine if part of the image is missing, which is good since this scrap of fabric I bought from another crafter doesn’t include another full image of this scene.

The final block will be 9.5″ square (including seam allowances). Your block can showcase as many Polaroids as you like. I’m asking that your background fabric be at least 75% green or blue. Prints or solids both work; I just want to keep a color theme going. Keep in mind that Polaroids are not professional photos, so if your subjects are off to the side or partially cut off, it’s part of the theme!! (I told you I wasn’t exact.)

All measurements are merely suggestions. If different sizes or ratios work better for your particular feature fabric or your 9.5″ square block, be creative!!

1) Select a feature fabric. Find something that you can feature in your photograph. The broader the spectrum of choices, the more fun for me!! Cut out a square or a rectangle. My pears are about 3.5″ by 4.5″ plus seam allowances. The initial “A” is about 3 inches square plus seam allowances.
February 2014 block

2) Using a white or cream solid fabric, cut strips about 1″ wide for three sides of your fussy cut piece. Sew the opposite sides to the piece and then sew the third side connecting them.

3) Cut another strip about 1.5″ wide for the remaining side and sew that down.
making it a polaroid

4) Now you have a Polaroid (in fabric)! This is the perfect moment to square the edges if you want to.

Decide at this point whether you would like to feature multiple Polaroids in your block. If you do, follow steps 1-3 for each Polaroid. (Keep in mind that if you’re appliquing the second Polaroid on, you won’t need as many seam allowances when you cut the strips of white/off-white fabric.)

5) Select a contrasting or complementary fabric for the background. It can be a print or a solid, but please make sure that at least 75% of the fabric is green or blue.

adding the sides

6) To add the background, add strips of fabric to two of the sides. Then add strips of fabric to the other two sides. I intend to cut these blocks at an angle with a final side of 9.5″ square. If you make your blocks somewhat bigger (maybe 12″ square-ish), that will give me enough room to manipulate my ruler.

block #3: ready for trimming
7) To add a second Polaroid to your block, I would suggest appliquéing it to the block you completed in step 6. I used Steam-a-Seam to attach the “C” to my “A” block and then zigzag stitched it down with white thread. It could have been cool to use blue or orange thread although I didn’t think about that until later.

applique ready

8) Please mail me your block without the final cut. Once I have everyone’s block, I’ll make the final decisions about angles and placement and then cut everything all at once.

finished block

Polaroids came in different sizes and shapes over the years, so draw your inspiration from your feature fabric. I’ve seen Polaroids taken with the thick edge off to the side. I’ve seen square and rectangular Polaroid prints. I’ve also seen mini Polaroids taken. Use this as an opportunity to celebrate the spontaneity of layman’s art and don’t be over concerned about the tiny details. Just make sure that I can actually fit my 9.5″ square ruler over your whole block!!

I’m so excited to see what you all come up with and I can’t wait to put this whole quilt together. This is definitely a quilt design that makes more sense in a bee because it thrives on the diversity of stashes.

Email me directly or post questions to Flickr if you run into trouble as you piece these blocks.

Best wishes,
Abigail

P.S. Please be sure to use my name as it appears on the address list. It’ll help the mailman get less confused!