Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Disposable Society

I did some investigating the other day about getting my camera repaired. We like to repair things rather than replace them in our house. But, the way that things are today, it is easier just to throw things away and buy new than to have things repaired. Especially when you are considering the cost.

On 12/20/04, DH bought me my camera, a Sony Cyber-Shot DSCW1 with all the bells and whistles...2.5" LCD screen, 5.1 megapixels (this was great for 2 years ago), Carl Zeiss lens, 3x optical zoom. He paid $331 not including taxes or memory cards for it. That is a good amount of money.

(pictures found online)

Fast forward almost 2 years and the camera is not functioning well. Our friends K & J went and bought the same camera a week after we got ours and they replaced theirs this summer because the lens wouldn't retract when you shut it off. We aren't having problems with the lens, it is just everything else!

So, I went to the Sony website to get an idea about repairing it. It will cost a flat fee of $181 to repair it!!! I could buy the exact same one brand new off of ebay for $150.

They (the manufacturers & retailers) make it so easy to just throw things away and go buy new. Financially it makes sense, but having a responsibility to our environment speaks otherwise.

Think about all of the things that you throw away today. I know people who eat off of paper or foam plates exclusively so that they "don't have to do dishes". Think of the things that you are putting in the garbage that could be recycled, repaired or reused. Sure it takes a bit more effort, but once you get used to it, you don't even notice the change. Our landfills are overflowing by things that don't need to be there.

This whole camera repair business really set my mind in motion about how "disposable" our society is. Shoot, my Granny only uses disposable cameras. Ironic, huh?


P.S. I finished my knitted scarf last night. Will post a picture in the next post. One more thing to cross off my 50 project listing!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Warning....LOTS of pictures!!!

Recently I read suggestions from other bloggers about how to add pictures to your posts without blogger freezing up or only working for one or two pictures. They said to upload all of your pictures at the beginning before adding text.

That's what I just did and it worked!!

I have been updating my blog recently with more of my "links" and such (see sidebar). I have more work to do, but I am liking how it is turning out. Considering my limited HTML skills.

Mom sent me a nice care package this week. I love the new USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes!!! For $8.10, they will ship all that you can cram fit into the box and ship it priority. That means that we get it in only a week! I mentioned to her that I was looking on ebay for more knitting needles and she went through her stash and sent me TONS! So, I have one more thing to add to my 50 Project Challenge...making a knitting needle roll-holder-thingy.

I have been able to mark some things off on the list. But, I have been adding to it to get to the 50 things. This is hard! It is for a good reason though. To finally go through my stash and prioritize.

In the past few weeks, I have finished the scarf on the far left (not included in the challenge), and last week, I knitted the scarf on the right (included in the challenge). I cast on for the scarf at the top and have made significant progress on it at night when we watch a movie (since we cancelled cable). I should finish it in the next night or two. I used #11 needles for all of them. For the one on the top and the left, I used Red Heart's Light & Lofty yarn, and for the one on the right I used some unknown "leftover" yarn (read: knotted together every 3 feet) that I got in a box of yarn off of ebay. It is slightly funky looking. Maybe not in such a good way. But, it will serve the purpose. For someone.

Some cross stitch finishes that I got around to photographing since it is a sunny day (my flash doesn't work anymore):

"Love" by BOAF
Stitched on 28 ct evenweave
DMC Flosses
Changed eye colors & hair colors to match DH & I

"Merry Yule" 2005 Just Cross Stitch Ornament Issue

Stitched on unknown piece of linen scrap 28 count

DMC floss "Molly To The Rescue" 2005 Just Cross Stitch Ornament Issue

Stitched on 28 count evenweave scrap

DMC floss "Goodnight, Sleep Tight" by Bent Creek

Stitched on 28 count evenweave

DMC floss "Noel/Lighthouse Ornament" by Homespun Elegance

Stitched on linen that it came with

DMC floss

This is for Dad & J for Christmas this year...just have to sew it into an ornament shape!

It has been so rainy and humid here for the past 3 weeks. Although I love the rain and overcast days, I could do without the humidity. This screen shot of my weather pixie was from yesterday. Notice that it says that the humidity is 94.3%? Ugh. No wonder why my antique wooden furniture is warping and molding. Good thing that we decided previously that we were going to sell all of our furniture when we left! It is all getting ruined here, which makes me sad. My bedroom set is pretty and it is Art Deco from the 20's or 30's from what I have been told. C'est la vie!

And finally, a picture of a picture. This is Madeline and me in Australia. We went to the Billabong Sanctuary that is just south of Townsville VIC. This has to be the best $10AUD that I spent the entire trip! She was so lightweight and cute... And you can't really tell because the picture is bad, but I am just *starting* to really show in this picture. I was about 20 weeks. And, yes, it is the yellow hat again that I am so desperately fond of. When I wear that hat out, I guess it will be time for another trip to St. Lucia to replace it! : )


Thank you everyone, for your thoughts and prayers for Mom. I am going to be calling her tomorrow so I will see how she did with her most recent Chemo treatment.


Blogrolling is not working for me, so I put my links into Google Reader yesterday and I really like it. If anyone wants to switch and needs a gmail invite, let me know, I have a bunch of them left. I don't know if you need a gmail account to use Google Reader, but I had to log in using my Gmail account. Gmail rocks by the way. I liked the simplicty of Blogrolling, and how it looked on my sidebar...I think that for now I will keep my Google Reader where it is at and figure out how to share it later. It is still in the "beta" stage, so it will only get better!


On Friday, DH & I went and saw "The Guardian" at the theater. It is a Coast Guard movie that was pretty good. DH thought it portrayed the Coast Guard pretty accurately, except he didn't know what it was like at Swimmer Response A school...he is a Marine Science Technician so he went to a different A school. The only thing that bugged me was they were lax with the uniforms. There were a couple of times when Ashton didn't have on an undershirt, or he took off his hat outside, he wore his hat into a bar while on liberty *gasp...big no no*, or his button wasn't buttoned up far enough...but that is just me being picky.

I did think it was interesting how they showed the Coast Guard / Navy personnel interactions at the bar. It was right on. The mindset of many of the military people is that they don't think of the Coast Guard as military or they think that it is beneath them. The Coast Guard has many advantages over the other branches as far as I can see, but that is my opinion. And yes, it is a part of the military. You enlist, have rules, ranks, schools, etc.

Go see it! *stepping off my soapbox*


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Quick update

This has been a trying week for sure! I appreciate the comments and emails, I can't tell you all how much you mean to me. Thank you!

I am in a much better state of mind than I was earlier this week, that is for sure.

I have talked to Mom a few times since then and this is what is going on:

She went to her Oncologist on Wednesday (a day sooner than planned) and had Granny & Great Aunt K. with her. The Oncologist talked to them for a long time. He is optimistic and said that he thinks it is treat-able. Not curable, but hopefully it can be slowed and put into remission.

She has numerous cancerous spots on her chest, 4 cancerous areas on the lymph nodes under her right collar bone and "cluster areas" (as she calls them) on the bony formation of her ?thoracic? spine in 2 different spots. She wasn't sure how to describe where they are on her spine, just said that it is about mid back, which would be the lower thoracic or possibly uppermost lumbar. I am thinking thoracic.

Anyway, she got another PICC line inserted in her arm on Thursday and had her first combination Chemo treatment that same day. She thinks that she will have to do 12 weeks of Chemo and they will reevaluate. Here is how they will work out the schedule, she only has to go one time per week:
Week 1: Breast Cancer Chemo
Week 2: Breast Cancer Chemo
Week 3: Breast Cancer Chemo followed by the Bone Cancer Chemo once the Breast Cancer one is run through.
Week 4: Off. No treatment on 4th week, but starts again with week 1 the following week.

Once she is done with the Chemo, her doctor wants her on a weekly blood draw routine to check for increasing cancer indicators. He basically said that this will have to be treated as a chronic illness, just like Diabetes or MS. He doesn't know why she keeps getting it, and why it is spreading, but he is going to treat the new areas as they appear.

She is incredibly optimistic and truly believes that we are all here for a purpose and that everything happens for a reason. She is willing to try experimental treatments if it comes to that. She said, "If I do an experimental treatment now and down the road it proves to work, then maybe it will save your life someday." But for now, it seems that they will do a standard treatment on her.


I have been reading on other blogs about the "50 Project Challenge" and I think that I am going to jump in!!! I might not have 50 things to list just yet, but according to my notes here, I have at least 24 and I know that I am forgetting some finishing. I will be setting up a seperate blog for that. Plus, I need to go find the link for the originator and look at her rules so I can figure out my own.


We are losing our borrowed laptop tomorrow morning until possibly Thursday. I wish that the freaking motherboard that DH ordered would arrive soon, but you know what they say about wishing. So, I will be offline again for a few days.


Today is the 11th day of this Monsoon Trough that is over us. It has been overcast and raining off and on since Sept. 27. I am starting to feel waterlogged. You know it is bad when your wooden furniture starts to mold. GROSS! Good thing I have a giant bottle of vinegar ready to go!

Stay happy & healthy, everyone! I will be back soon!


Thursday, October 05, 2006

An Unexpected Phone Call....

That has rocked my world.

More on that in a minute. Let me just say thank you to everyone who read my last post and especially to those that commented on it. I cannot stress enough how important it is to get checked regularly. You will read why in a minute.

First, I figured out a way to get some of my pictures on here. My nice Sony camera is dying a slow death. First the LCD screen in Australia, now the flash is gone. But here you go:

I stitched this last year, it is a Bent Creek design. I stitched it on some kind of linen with DMC. I just finished it into my very first flanged pillow.....not thrilled with the draft stopper looking results (remember those things that you put in front of the door to stop the draft...yeah), but I figure that next year I can take it apart and sew some loops at the top and hang it from a dowel or something.

This is the baby blanket I crocheted. I used a basic granny square design in mind while doing it. I used a cone of the baby pastel and a cone of the white from Peaches ' N Cream (1# cones). I really like using the cotton yarns. Much nicer feeling than the old acrylic. This will be put away for a while since the baby won't really need it here as hot as it is.

I finished this quilt top a while ago. Mom sent me the squares for it, I just pieced it together. Easy peasy. It really made me realize how important seam allowances are though! (I think that I lamented about that a while ago) I haven't started basting it together or quilting it yet...not sure when I will do that, but it will probably be this year yet.


Back to the phone call.
My Tuesday started out normal...nothing out of the ordinary. Then I got a phone call that changed that.

*ring, ring*

Me: "Hello."

Her: "Yes."

Me: *slightly confused since I don't recognize the voice and who the hell says "Yes" when someone answers the phone with "Hello"?* "HELLO".

Her: "I am trying to reach someone at this number for someone in Australia."

Me: *even more puzzled* "I am sorry, I don't know anyone in Australia." (besides Madeline the Koala, the Tricare Insurance Guy and Anne in Melbourne, but Anne doesn't have our number. Neither does Madeline the Koala.)

Her: "Ma'am, can you please tell me your name so I can check to see if the person on the other end is trying to reach you?"

Me: "Umm, okay. My name is Melissa and my husband is James." (Just incase they are really looking for him.)

Her: "Okay, please hold the line while I check."

Me: "Umm, okay." *at this point I started to think that this was a prank or some kind of reverse charge call where they try to keep you on the line for as long as possible and then you end up with a $999 charge from Bermuda or something for the call. I seriously was thisclose to hanging up.)*

Her: "Ma'am. The person on the other line IS trying to reach you. I am going to connect you now. Go ahead."

Me: "Uhhh...okay. Hello?"

Her # 2: "Missy?"

Me: "Yeah."

Her # 2: "This is Jill."

Me: "Jill? I don't know a Jill in Australia."

Jill: "Jill. You are Lauri's Mother."

Me: *slightly panicking now putting the name Jill with Lauri* "Actually I am Lauri's daughter." *At this point I have realized that Jill is Jilly...Mom's unofficially adopted daughter*

Me: "Jill...what is wrong? What is wrong with Mom?" *now thinking the worst, that her & Todd have been killed in a car accident or she is in the hospital in a coma...wondering why Jill would be the one to call me instead of my family*

Jill: "Missy, your Mom's doctor called her tonight and her cancer is back in both breasts and in her spine."


That was all I needed to hear. I lost it. Seems Jill couldn't figure out exactly how to call Saipan and thought it was somewhere near Australia so she called an Australian operator to help her. And she thought that Mom was scared to call me and didn't want to stress me out before she went and saw her doctor.

I talked to Mom a while later. Her calmness is absolutely amazing. She does have cancer again in the chest where both breasts would be. She also has it in the lymph nodes under her collar bone on the right and all along her spine.

She goes to see her Oncologist on Thursday (mainland time) and we hope that she can start Chemo by the beginning of the week to help slow the metastasis to other areas.

Please keep our family in your prayers. There is no way that I can fly to Chicago (a 16 hour flight) right now, since I am 6 1/2 months pregnant.

And please go get checked before it is too late.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

October is....

Finally here!

And it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Getting the word out about breast cancer is especially important to me and women in my family. My Great Aunt is a survivor after a Mastectomy, My Grandmother is a survivor after a Mastectomy and My Mother continues her battle with breast cancer to this day.

Mom has had numerous surgeries over the years to remove lumps and finally ended up having to have a bilateral Mastectomy (medical jargon for removing both of her "lady lumps") in 2004 followed by a round of Chemotherapy. This year they found more of the cancerous tissue so she just finished a 15 week round of Radiation in August.

She has 6 new lumps and had more nuclear testing done this past week. She is now preparing herself mentally for another long Illinois winter housebound and a repeat performance of the Chemotherapy routine. Last time she had Chemo, the side effects were pretty drastic and linger to this day. She is now on permanent disability at 49 years old due to nerve damage in her legs from the Chemo Cocktail. She ordered a new car in 2005 and it sits unused in the driveway because she is unable to drive a manual transmission and push in the clutch anymore.

Surprisingly, she continues to be upbeat. She is looking forward to turning 50 in February and also the birth of her first grandchild in January.

So, ladies (and men as there is a small amount of men who do get breast cancer), please do your monthly self examinations and get a mammogram done routinely. They really don't hurt that badly...I had one already and the few seconds of discomfort are nothing compared to what Mom is going through. If you have a family history of breast cancer, be sure that your doctor is aware of it.

To learn more about breast cancer and ways to donate, please visit the Susan G. Komen website here.

And if you have a minute, please send a message to your lawmakers to urge them not to cut funding for Medicare participants that are undergoing breast cancer prevention, diagnosing or treatment. Please click here. It is a quick little fill in the blank with your info form.

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I am hoping to be able to post some pictures of finishes and other stuff maybe later tonight or tomorrow.


Sunday, October 01, 2006

The crazy book lady

You know how some women are crazy cat ladies (my Mom for one, who now has 15 cats...anyone in Illinois want a cat?)? Well, I am the crazy book lady. I have resorted to piling books up next to the 8 foot tall bookshelf that DH built because we have too many.

I am on the third book of the "Chronicles of Narnia", I think that it is called "The Horse and his Boy"...this particular book is moving a bit slowly, the other two in the series were a snap. Only 4 more to go after this one.

DH & I went to a garage sale yesterday (did I ever mention how much I love garage sales?) and the lady there is a bookworm as well...I could have easily spent alot more money if I had the patience to go through all of the books more carefully. We (DH did get 3 books afterall) only spent $10...on 19 books and a cat toy.

Here is a listing:

At another garage sale, I got a 4 pack of bobbins for my sewing machine for 25 cents!!! What a great shopping day!

After our garage sale adventures, we dropped off our newspapers, cardboard and shredded paper to the recycling center. I think that it all ends up in the dump eventually but at least we try.

Then we took our dog, Lady to the beach. She is a good swimmer, although she would rather just walk along the beach and sniff the hermit crabs. DH spotted a really cool blue starfish while he was swimming. Made me regret that we didn't bring the underwater camera. It was vivid.

While at the beach (Aqua Beach & south of it), we picked up a canvas shopping bag full of aluminum cans. Budweiser is truly the king of the island if you were to judge by the amount of cans that we picked up. I don't understand why people don't recycle their aluminum...they pay you for the cans for pete's sake!


I am almost done with the baby afghan that I am crocheting. I am using Peaches n Cream cotton yarns, and doing it in a big Granny Square pattern. Not like the baby will need it here as hot as it is. I will get a picture once it is done.

I haven't picked up a needle or any cross stitch in forever it seems like. I did get a bit of new stash recently thanks to Jenn. She gave me a gift certificate to Down Sunshine Lane for my birthday back in March and I have been hemming and hawing about what to get. Well, I placed my order last week and here is what I got. BTW, let me just say that I love Amy at Down Sunshine Lane! Great service, I plan on using her much more. Thanks again Jenn for your generosity! You really surprised me when I needed it most.

2006 Just Cross Stitch Special Christmas Ornaments Issue

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The magazine exceeded my expectations this year and I am very happy that I got my grubby hands on a copy!

Lizzie*Kate "Work Pray Trust" S69

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I knew when I saw this new release that I had to get it. We are planning a low-key Christmas this year, but I know that this will be stitched a couple of times for special people in our lives.


I have uploaded a couple of new pictures into my webshots album...a few that DH had on his work computer of our trip to Australia, some recent tummy shots (don't mind how babelicious I am looking), and a few new ones of the pets. Go to my webshots album to see.