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Showing posts from November, 2008

It's in the Cards

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Christmas is in the air, and it's time to decorate and to play your favorite carols. If you want to find some great photos for your computer desktop, look no further than the box of Christmas cards sitting on the table. Scan the cards before you begin preparing them for mailing. (I scanned the image above from my box of cards.) If you don't own a scanner, you can find some wonderful desktop photos on Jeh's Christmas Page. You will find photos of Classic Christmas Cards and even more on the Wallpaper and Desktop page. Many on this page are animated with falling snow. If you follow the links on the site, you will be taken to a multitude of Christmas pages.

Holiday Mischief

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I may be in handcuffs by Monday, so I want to share my "crime" with you today. Every Monday morning during my volunteer shift, I sit at the front desk at the hospital. For some reason a little tree in the front planter caught my eye about three weeks ago, and I began to formulate a plan. I decided that the long holiday weekend would be the best time to pull off the mischievous act. My mother used to see trees along the side of the highway and comment, "If I had a tree like that in my yard, I would decorate it." Other times, she would exclaim, "Someday, I am going to decorate that little tree." Well, today I decorated the little tree with shatter-proof ornaments in my mom's memory. I also took the suggestion of Teddybear and NatRedKnits and put a wreath on the door of my little shed. I like it. Thanks for the suggestion.

Time for a Face Lift

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Keeping up with annual, exterior maintenance is a nearly impossible chore when I cannot bend and stoop without getting light-headed and short of breath. The alternatives I've used for four years were to ignore the maintenance and to hire someone to do it for me. However, it is getting harder and harder to find someone reliable. This fall, I decided to make as many of the surfaces maintenance-free. It was time for a face lift. The deck has been sheathed in plastic composite material, made from old pop bottles, etc. All I need to do is sweep and hose it off every year. The shed no longer looks like a homesteader's hut but is encased in vinyl siding and matches the house. I am pleased with the outcome, and I am very pleased that these surfaces do not require annual maintenance.

Gifting Containers

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If you are making Christmas treats for your neighbors, for your child's teachers, for your pastor, and for the office staff look no further than your pantry for the containers. You can turn a plastic coffee container into a special gift by using the templates on Folgers ' website. The site has six templates and a blank one so you can create your own, if you wish. The only supply you will need are full-size label sheets and a printer, of course. This is a great way to recycle all those plastic containers and to save some money, too.

Thanks Giving Day

I am thankful for: • my faith helps me through difficult times. My father's illness and death when I was fifteen, a family dispute after my mother and two brothers' deaths, and my illness are the some situations that have tested my beliefs and values. The Lord has been faithful in leading me and carrying me through rough waters. • my sisters anchor me with their unconditional love. • my illness forces me to evaluate my life and my priorities. As strange as it may sound, I see it as a blessing. • my home provides me shelter and security. It is just the right size, and I am blessed to have a wonderful and caring next door neighbor. • my laptop and the Internet are invaluable to me. They help me to cope with my limitations. By using them, I am able to connect with others in all corners of the world as well as gain understanding and knowledge. • my knitting needles keep my hands and mind busy. By making items for others, I am helping myself. • chocolate and f

Down-sizing

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My great-niece called a few weeks ago with a Christmas request: a sweater for her American Girl Doll. I told her that I would try to knit one for her, but I made no promises because I did not have a pattern. A quick Google search resulted in several patterns that could be purchased, but I didn't want to spend money for a pattern that I would only use once. The free patterns I found did not appeal to me, so I asked my sister to measure the doll. Armed with those measurements, I took a baby sweater pattern that I already had and down-sized it. My sister was pleased with the result and asked me to knit another sweater for my other great-niece's baby doll.

Breaking News

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Nearly three months ago I emailed the reporter for the Health section of the only state-wide newspaper in Wyoming, the Casper Star Tribune, and requested she write a story about Pulmonary Hypertension during November. I tried to pique her interest with facts about PH. Then a three weeks later, I presented her with a packet of information and invited her to our September meeting. I hoped that she could attend and interview our members who are scattered across the state. The reporter said she was interested in the topic but that her schedule was full. I was discouraged, but hopeful. Then last week she called and interviewed me over the phone; I gave her contact information for my co-leader and another member and emailed her some photos of our group. Not knowing when the article would appear filled me with anticipation. Sunday's paper always has an ad that hints at the articles to be featured in the coming week, and when I read the paper, there was one of the photos I had sent. Ou

Pinch Knitting

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One of the knitters for Pacific Blues was unable to knit her section, so I offered to "pinch knit" on the preemie oddball blanket for the West Coast group. It knit up very quickly because it is so small. I used the yarn that accompanied the blanket, the same yarn that was used at the beginning. Update: December 12, 2008 Pacific Blues is complete.

Simple Woman's Daybook

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Monday, November 24, 2008 Outside My Window. . . a small crescent moon glows in the approaching sunrise. I am thinking. . . about my day and what I can get accomplished. Hopefully, I can connect with some people on the phone whose calls I missed on Friday. I hate playing "phone tag." I am thankful... that the Pulmonary Hypertension support group is beginning to take root in Wyoming. I think people are starting to feel comfortable with the idea and are now reaching out for more information and help. In the kitchen... the refrigerator is humming, probably because it contains the fixings for the Thanksgiving meal. Hopefully, the turkey inside will be thawed by Thursday morning. I am wearing... my yellow snowman flannel pajamas. I am creating... a prayer shawl from some donated cranberry-colored yarn. I am going... to open an online bank account this week. I thought it was probably time to join the 21st century. I am reading... the many magazines that have ar

Necessary Eyesore

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More and more wind farms are cropping up in Wyoming and additional ones are being contemplated. Wyoming is a prime area for a wind farm because the wind can be quite powerful here, and without a doubt, in some areas of the state, wind is a daily occurrence. In 1965 Lady Byrd Johnson's dream to remove the clutter of bill boards along our nations highway took root. Beautiful vistas were seen and enjoyed for over 40 years. Now, the clutter (in Wyoming at least) is definitely more obnoxious than a bill board: it is the rows and rows and rows of wind turbines that line the ridges. I know that it is important to develop cleaner methods of delivering power to our nation. I know that wind power is a "greener" option, but I miss the view . Update: November 22, 2013 Other than being an eyesore, the wind turbines are also dangerous for wildlife, especially birds. More information can be found here .

Pulmonary Hypertension Association

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The second online community I recommend for those wanting to learn more about pulmonary hypertension is the Pulmonary Hypertension Association . I especially like PHA's site because the medical information is up-to-date and accurate and approved by a panel of medical professionals. PHA's mission is to educate the public about pulmonary hypertension and to obtain funds for PH research. The web site offers information to patients, medical professionals, caregivers, and the media. Members of PHA are supporting expanded research and education, building awareness of PH and public support, and changing the history of this illness. By expanding its membership, PHA can do much more, much sooner. Membership benefits are listed here . PHA hosts an International conference every two years. It is a gathering of patients, caregivers, medical professionals, and exhibitors. The most recent conference was June 2008 in Houston. I attended the gathering and was amazed at the atmosphere: PH

Learning from the Past

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Pioneer Park in Worland, WY "Let us, then, be up and doing, With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to labor and to wait" ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ~

Crowheart Butte

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Several months ago, I drove to the "upper country" for a quilt show. On my way home, I decided photograph this famous and distinctive landmark - Crowheart Butte. The flat-topped butte was named to commemorate a battle between Shoshone tribe's Chief Washakie and the Crow tribe's Chief, Big Robber. Chief Washakie won the battle and cut out the heart of his opponent; thus, the name, Crowheart Butte. Even though Chief Washakie was a fearless warrior, he was also a peacemaker and a progressive leader. He saw the expansion of the West and was determined to be an ally of white men. He assisted U.S. Army operations, with military forces and advice, against hostile tribes, particularly the Sioux and Cheyenne. Washakie granted right-of-way through Shoshone land in western Wyoming to the Union Pacific Railroad, aiding the completion of a coast-to-coast rail line. The Shoshone chief also sought the best for his people, requesting schools, churches, and hospitals on Shoshone

Required Reading

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Pulmonary Hypertension: A Patient's Survival Guide is an excellent book and, in my opinion, should be in every public library. This text gives accurate and up-to-date information on Pulmonary Hypertension and answers all the questions that newly diagnosed patients ask. It provides information on PH and its treatments, tests, and resources. Members of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association can purchase the book for $15; non-members, $25. At any price, the book is a bargain. Purchasing information is available here . This is the third edition of this book, and it has been translated into several foreign languages.

Simple Woman's Daybook

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Monday, November 17, 2008 Outside My Window. . . the sky is clear, not a cloud in sight. I love to step out on the porch and look up at the early morning stars. I wish I knew why they appear closer in the fall and winter than they do in the spring and summer. I am still thinking. . . about rearranging the furniture in the front room. Perhaps, that will happen this week. I am thankful... for my laptop. My posture is better in my wing chair than it is in the straight-back chair at my desk. In the kitchen... something just made a crashing sound. I cannot find what fell, but I am sure I will discover it and then wonder how that item got where it did. It was probably caused by stampeding dust bunnies. I need to get busy this week and cull the herd. I am wearing... my nightgown and robe. I am being a bit lazy this morning, but I need to get dressed soon. I "created"... homemade bath salts during a weekend class at the community college. I was disappointed in the

Journeying Through Time

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My kitchen table is littered with photographs - the old black and white variety. I am sorting and scanning the photos to preserve the images, images of a time long past. Sometimes I wonder why I am doing this because few people in my own family even know the faces in the photos, but then I know that I must do this for that very reason. I don't even know some of the individuals in the photos. My mother rarely wrote on the back of the pictures, but some have "Me" scrawled on the front/back. Yes, even the "young man" leaning on the car, pictured above, is my mother, confirmed by my uncle before he died. He said my mom often dressed like that while working on the farm. While going through the old photographs, I fell in love with my mom and dad all over again. I gained even more respect for them. As near as I can tell, these two photos were taken when they were dating since they are taken the same place. They must have taken turns with the Kodak Brownie came

Today's Thought

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Teton Range near Jackson, WY The man who removes the mountains begins by carrying away small stones. (Chinese proverb )

Lean On Me

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Chronic illness affects the body, but it also takes a toll on the mind and the spirit. Patients walk a very, fine line when they share with friends and family. If they share too much, the listener tunes them out or thinks they complain too much. If they share too little, the family and friends dismiss the complaints and concerns too quickly to get to the root of the problem. Finding a balance is difficult, but necessary. If the patients do not have an outlet for the frustrations, then depression settles over them. Support Groups can offer that outlet for the patient (and sometimes the caregiver) in a safe environment where the listeners understand because they live with the same issues. PH support groups can be located on Pulmonary Hypertension Association and PH Central websites.

A Spoonful of Sugar

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Leslie Polss is a PH patient who uses humor and her drawing talent to create cartoons on the diagnostic process , life with oxygen , medical indignities , and insurance issues . Leslie's humor give a perspective that comes from "being in the trenches." Enjoy her cartoons. These cartoons are posted with Leslie's permission.

On a Roll (finally)

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Getting materials ready to make a rug is messy and time-consuming. About three months ago, I tore some sheets I purchased at a thrift shop into 1 1/2 strips. I contained the strips in an old laundry basket, intending to roll the strips into balls while I watched evening TV. The basket was moved from in front of my chair to the love seat and then to the coffee table and then back to the craft room. I just could not get motivated to roll the strips into balls. Yesterday, I decided I had procrastinated enough, so I tackled the basketful of strips. I removed all the extra strings from the strips and stacked them into neat piles to make rolling them into balls easier. Taking a stack of strips at a time, I folded and rolled the fabric into balls. The balls definitely take up less room than the individual fabric strips. After the holidays, I will begin working on another rug. Maybe, some of these colors will be used.

Where Do I Go?

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Pulmonary hypertension is a serious disease, and without proper care it can be deadly. It is imperative that the PH patient seek a physician who specializes in treating pulmonary hypertension. Often these doctors are associated with teaching hospitals where PH research is on-going. Many patients travel hundreds of miles (I drive to Denver, CO which is over 400 miles, one way) for their appointments with their PH doctors. Since these doctors are also researchers and professors, their schedules are full: it is typical to have a 3 - 4 month wait for the initial appointment. Doctors can be found on the Pulmonary Hypertension Association and the PH Central websites.

Too Funny not to Share

Diane, thank you for sharing this video clip which you entitled, "Why the Printer Doesn't Work." Laughter is good for the soul, and this really made me laugh.

Honor Their Service

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Make today special for some who has served in the military. Here are some suggestions: • write and send personal thank you notes • have your young children draw/color "Thank You" pictures and then give them to veterans • fly the American flag • buy lunch for a veteran • bake and give him/her a batch of cookies • shake a veteran's hand and express appreciation for his/her service

Sock It to 'Em

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A group of knitters on Knitting Help.com are helping with a service project reported in Heart Strings Fiber Arts newsletter. The coordinator, Becky Washburn (beckyknits@comcast.net) is requesting over 850 mini Christmas Stockings. The stockings will be stuffed with small treats and sent to the troops in Iraq. I pledged to knit five stockings, but I discovered that they knit quickly and are very addictive. I used this pattern from Heart Strings Fiber Arts. I plan to knit more of these stockings because they may bring a little bit of holiday spirit to those serving so far from home. Update: December 1, 2008 -- Message posted on KnittingHelp.com Charity Knitting Forum Thirty-six crafters made 1012 socks in time for the deadline. "Some how thank you just doesn't seem like enough for knitting Christmas socks for Becky son's men.You all just pitched in, put your own holiday knitting aside and made this project of 850 socks your own personal goal. Not only socks but

PH Awareness in Wyoming

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I am a leader for the Wyoming Pulmonary Hypertension Support Group. Our group started in April of 2008, and currently, we have 20 members scattered throughout the state. Contrary to the national PH statistics, 35% of our members are men. A majority of our members are in the 40 - 65 age range. Two members have idiopathic pulmonary hypertension (no known cause for the PH) and eighteen have PH that is secondary to other diseases, ranging from sleep apnea to scleroderma. Three members are treated with Flolan, an continually, infused medication. Two use Remodulin, a subcutaneous, infused medication. Others take Revatio and Tracleer (oral medications), beta-blockers, and calcium channel blockers. Nearly every member has or is currently using oxygen. Everyone is grateful for the current PH medications because prior to 1995, PH had no treatments and a diagnosis was literally a death sentence. Research is on-going and great progress is being made. It is every PH patient's hope tha

Simple Woman's Daybook

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Monday, November 10, 2008 Outside My Window. . . I see the newspaper carrier hurrying to complete the route. I am grateful that every morning my paper is in the same place, in a box beside my front door. I am thinking. . . about rearranging the furniture in the front room. I am thankful... for all the veterans and their families who have sacrificed for my freedom. I can never repay them for this gift. In the kitchen... a cheddar cheese bagel is toasting under the broiler. When I was in Lander last week, I purchased some bagels at Wildflour Bakery . They have the best baked goods in the area. I especially like their Pilgrim Bread. I am wearing... black slacks and a pink sweater I am creating... some socks. I am still working on Monster Socks, but I have a pair of blue/black/gray pair rib-cuffed socks on the needles, too. I am going... to cast on a cropped cardigan for myself soon. I don't knit many things for myself, but this is going to be my Christmas present to

It's a Wrap

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Another project is finished, and it's time to celebrate. With this rug completed, my Christmas gift list is officially filled, so I can find the boxes and wrapping paper, turn on the tunes, and grab a glass of wine.

On the Home Stretch

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The end is in sight, and I am on the home stretch. I don't enjoy twining at the end of the rug because the space is so tight. I use Aunt Philly's Toothbrush Needles on the last few rows.

Gender Bias

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PH is definitely linked to gender. Women are more than twice as likely as men to develop PH. At some PH centers across the United States, the occurrence of PH ranges from being twice as common in women to nine times as common. Among 571,461 patients hospitalized with PH between 1995 and 1998, 61 percent were women and 37 percent were younger than age 65. Women usually develop PH during their childbearing years for unknown reasons. For a woman with PH, the question of pregnancy can be a painful one because it is associated with life-threatening risks for both mother and baby. A review of reports published between 1978 and 1996 that looked at maternal deaths within 35 days of delivery, found that the death rate for patients with PH ranged from 30 to 56 percent. Women with PH are often forced to choose between having a family and protecting their own lives – a choice most healthy women never have to face. Even though pulmonary hypertension strikes women more often than men, men are a

Knitting/Crocheting Journal

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Want the perfect gift for your mother-in-law or a friend who knits or crochets? Print out the following templates on some pretty paper and put them in a nice binder with some plastic sheet protectors. Add a pretty pen and some yarn to complete a gift they will use and love. Grace Schnebly's free pdf templates can be found here . Make a binder for yourself, too. It is the perfect place to keep notes on all of your knitting/crocheting projects.

Accountability

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This stocking is not the prettiest piece of knitting that I have ever finished, but it is off of the needles. What did I learn from this project? a) Doing anything "new" is awkward and frustrating b) Practice is not over-rated c) Relax * note the difference in tension on the leg and on the foot d) I am not longer intimidated by two-color knitting My next goal is to finish this rug . Nine inches remain to be twined, so the end is in sight.