Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Side Tracked


The urge to finish a project hit me last week, and I spent one and a half days of concentrated sewing to complete Side Tracked.

What started as a whim in January turned into a unique quilt top and used quite a few of my pre-cut scraps. I'd like to donate this quilt if I can find a volunteer machine quilter.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Something to Take Seriously

Last night, I watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution on ABC. I was struck by the passion that Jamie brought to this project and angry at the opposition that he faced from the school's kitchen staff and administration.

Having worked in three school systems in 33 years, I understand his frustration with the food that is being served to school children throughout the country. When I started teaching, the meals were made from scratch, and for the most part, they were good and nutritious. The cooks pared piles of potatoes, baked their own bread and pastries and cared about the students as if they were their own children: they had a connection and a pride in the food they served every day. Of course, the government provided commodities, but these products were not the entrees, but merely a starting point for these talented ladies.

Then, in the mid-90s things changed drastically. The types of commodities the school received were prepared entrees which the cooks heated and served to the students - entrees like chicken nuggets, beef sticks, sheet cakes, cookies (yes, even peanut butter sandwiches!). The kitchen staff lost the personal connection with the students and staff.

I was shocked that the first-grade students in the Food Revolution episode did not know the names of the most basic vegetables, i.e. potatoes, tomatoes, beets, etc. Even the teacher was surprised at her students' lack of knowledge and took it upon herself to change that situation.

Later, I shook my head in disbelief that the kitchen staff and principal did not want to give the children table knives and even more astonished when the children did not know how to even use the utensil.

Yes, change is hard to accept, but the kitchen staff, principal, superintendent, and food-service coordinator did everything in their power to derail this worthwhile project. Some of these adults even bullied Jamie in front of the children.

Politicians, physicians, the media, and the general public are quick to throw the word "obesity" around like the children are making themselves that way. However, it is the adults who are making most of the decisions for the eating habits of the children. Even the government is contributing to the problem by supplying processed food to school districts. The politicians need to look at the source of the food that a majority of children eat each day. I know that commodities are important to schools because they allow the districts to feed children. Sometimes the school lunch is the child's only meal of the day, but we need to consider the message those meals are giving to the children.

Simply put, children learn what they live. At school they are living with processed food that is simply heated, and they go home and eat more processed food. It is time to make some changes in the way we feed our children at school and at home.

You can watch the first two episodes of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution on Hulu.

After you watch the show, tell me what you think. Do you think other communities should join this Food Revolution?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I'll Return Soon

I apologize for not posting recently and for worrying some of you. My health issues seem to have worked themselves out for the time being - still light-headed at times, but I find a seat quickly to prevent another horizontal episode.

So why haven't I posted? As impossible as it sounds, I don't have anything to say or share, so I guess a short break is the remedy.

This morning the March winds arrived, so maybe they will whisk my ennui away and give me a reason to grumble.

Until I find my "voice" again, thank you for your support and kind words.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Blueberry Pie

This project lightened my stash by three skeins. I purchased the Red Heart yarn (Blueberry Pie) at a yard sale for about 75 cents a skein. I have enough left to make one teen hat.

It is 27 inches square and knit on size 8 needles. It was my intention to knit a 30 inch blanket, but when I got to 27 inches, I determined I would not have enough yarn.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Thank You

Thank you for your best wishes and prayers in the last two weeks about my health issues and about my weight-loss quest. It means a great deal to me that you take the time to leave a comment and express support.

I was unable to reply to many of your emails because they were set to "no reply." So, if you did not get a response to your comment, it is because I have no way of contacting you.

To all of my "No Reply" readers: thank you for your out-pouring of concern and support. Please consider changing your profile (instructions below) so I can respond personally next time.

If you want to receive emails back from me or other bloggers, you need to:
    • go into your Dashboard
    • click on "Edit Profile"
    • then put a check in the box that says "Show my email address" (It will not be visible in your comment and is not published anywhere on the blog. It only shows up when someone is trying to answer you from their own email account. It allows them to respond to your questions or comments.)
    • the last and most important step is to go to the bottom of that page and click "SAVE."

Monday, March 8, 2010

Purplicious

My section of Purplicious, an Oddball Baby Blanket, was knit with Simply Soft (Lavender Blue) in Seed Stitch. The purples did not photograph in their true colors, simply because of the concentration of blue or red in the yarn, but trust me, they are all purple.

Purple is not one of my favorite colors; however, it was a dominant color for the school where I taught for 25 years, and I grew tired of seeing it everywhere. The building was literally covered with all shades of purple. The bulletin boards above the hall lockers were purple, the carpeting throughout the building was mauve, the bleachers in the gymnasium were royal purple, hallways and common rooms had bold purple stripes, etc. Staff were encouraged to wear purple on "game days" to help boost school spirit. I had a lot of purple in my closet in those days - shirts, coats, hats, etc., purchased from the Booster Club.

Have you grown tired of a color from over-exposure?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What a Difference

~ Wednesday, March 3rd ~
What a difference just ONE day makes 
when the temperatures are in the 50s! 
 ~ March 2nd ~
~ March 3rd ~
~ March 2nd ~

Another storm is due on Friday, but if these temperatures hang around, the snow which has covered the ground since mid-October will be gone, and it may actually rain instead of snow. 

It is hard not to have Spring Fever.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sounding Retreat?

We are not retreating - we are advancing in another direction.
Douglas MacArthur

Could it really be true that Winter is sounding retreat? 

From all appearances, it could actually be happening. Last week, the area around this tree was covered with 12 inches of snow, and warm temperatures this week have caused the snow-line to recede.

No complaints here. Yesterday, I turned down the heat in two rooms, opened the front door (not the storm door as it is not that warm, yet), let in some sunshine, shook out and laundered the rugs, and mopped the floor. Outside, the birds are singing in the trees.

Oh, yes, I think Winter is on the run!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Garter Knitting

Trust me, working garter stitch with acrylic yarn is much kinder on the hands than is cotton yarn, and my wrist is extremely grateful. This project has been on the needles since January and was pushed aside during my bib-knitting blitz during the Olympics. On Monday, I added another two inches during my volunteer shift at the hospital.

I got a great deal on three new skeins of this Red Heart yarn (Blueberry Pie) at a yard sale last summer, and I am nearly finished with the second skein. The final skein should polish off this project.

Look what came in the mail last week from JulieK - a lovely crocheted preemie blanket, just large enough for an isolette. Thank you Julie for your generous donation to the baby blanket project.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Far From Ordinary

My mammogram on Friday was anything but ordinary: it was downright scary for me and for the technician.

The technician had taken all but the last two images and continued to position me on the machine. I was doing well until the room suddenly turned warm, and I became light-headed. I asked to sit down. Once I had regained my head, the technician took another image, and only the final image remained. She kept asking me how I was doing, and I said, "okay."

I just wanted to get it over with and leave; however, my body had other plans. When I came to my senses, I was on the floor with my head on a pillow, a cool cloth on my forehead, and two people huddled over me with great concern on their faces. I answered their questions and rested for a few minutes. When my color returned and my dizziness disappeared, they allowed me to stand up.

I refused to be taken to the ER, but promised to inform my doctor. I sat in the waiting room for about 10 minutes under watchful eyes.

Later, the nurse at my doctor's office scared me even more when, after two attempts, she could not get a diastolic number when she took my blood pressure. I sat and waited so she could repeat the procedure. When she was finally able to get a reading my blood pressure was 108/40 - extremely low for me.

The doctor thought the new diuretic he prescribed on Tuesday was the cause; however, I've had these episodes (minus the fainting) for years, especially at church, which is why I started sitting through the entire worship service. I've also had them while standing in line at a store, while walking, etc. I experienced the same thing at the Winter Quilt Show earlier this month. If I hadn't found a chair when I did, I may have been on the floor then, too. I've also been known to just sit on the curb until the feeling passed.

Syncope is somewhat common, but for those with sick sinus syndrome it can be a sign that the condition may be progressing. My doctor wants me to continue to monitor my blood pressure, cut back on the new medication, and keep a journal of these events.

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