Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Chalk talk for Need a Laugh Wednesday

Posted on MindBodyGreen
If you live in an urban area, as I do, you are accustomed to tripping over the outdoor chalkboard signs that hog sidewalk space outside cafes, salons and boutiques. I always enjoy it when the sign-writers have a little fun with them.

I didn't see any of these signs in real life, but they were fun to round up. The next several are part of a collection published on Happy Place. Click here to see a coupla dozen more.

Before I show you my favorite sign, I will tell you the only personal anecdote I can think of involving a chalkboard in a public space. In downtown DC there used to be a bookstore called Olsson's Books that had an espresso/sandwich bar, as so many do. All of the sandwiches were named after authors, and they didn't have a printed menu--just the names of all the sandwiches and drinks written on a gigantic, lavishly illustrated chalkboard behind the counter.

One of the sandwiches was named the Edgar Allen Poe. As a copy editor, I know that Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most misspelled names in the English language. I pointed out--very politely--to the cashier that Poe's middle name was misspelled. She shrugged it off.

I said, "You know, as a bookstore, I thought you would care about something like this."

She shrugged again.

I said, "You don't have to take my word for it that it's misspelled. You could walk over about 20 feet and check it yourself in the classic literature section."

She shrugged again.

I said, "You know, it's not like I'm pointing out an error in a sign that it's going to cost you hundreds of dollars to remake. It's a chalkboard."

In the end, I was far more irritated by her attitude than the misspelling. I didn't go back to that bookstore because it wasn't in a neighborhood I frequented, but my husband would stop in occasionally and I would always ask afterward, "Did they ever fix Poe?" and he would say no. When the store went out of business a couple years after my encounter, I felt a smug satisfaction.

Anyway, here is my favorite chalkboard, spotted on Pinterest:

Monday, March 18, 2013

Chain of Hollow Beaded Beads for I Might Make That! Monday

This is going to be quick, since it's almost 11 on Sunday evening, but I'm determined to get back to my regular Monday feature (and hopefully soon to my other regular one--Need a Laugh Wednesday.)

I spottend the above pattern on Pinterest recently. What's interesting about it is that is not a series of individually made beaded beads, as most patterns are. It's a chain of netting stitches that you make as one continuous piece, forming the beads as you go, which I think is pretty cool.

The pattern is free, but you do have to download it from a site called Bead-Patterns. (But you don't have to register or create an account or anything.)

And thank you, everyone for the well-wishes last week. It's good to be back.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Grapefruit Chronicles, or Uteruslessness

I really didn't mean to go this long without posting. My recovery is really quite complete at this point. I've just spent the past 10 days or so trying to get back in the swing of things and catch up with my grad school work.

You're perhaps curious as to what I was referring to when I mentioned "health issues" in my last post. I'll keep this as brief as possible: Just before Christmas, I had my annual physical checkup. My doctor felt something unusual in my abdomen. She thought it was probably a uterine fibroid, but told me I should go to my ob-gyn to check it out.

Because it was the holidays, and my doctor didn't seem sound particularly alarmed, I booked an appointment for the second week of January. The ob-gyn also suspected a fibroid, but told me to get an ultrasound to confirm.

Well, the ultrasound revealed not a fibroid but a 14 cm cyst--the size of a grapefruit--growing off my right ovary. The diagnosis was shared with me in a phone call that ended with my ob-gyn saying, "You need to see an oncologist right away."

Is there a more terrifying phrase in the English language?

Within 10 minutes of getting off the phone with her I had made an appointment with the oncologist. The week between that phone call and the actual appointment was the longest week of my life.

Things got better from there. Although the ob-gyn had said the cyst had septations that made her fear the worst, the oncologist said he didn't think it was ovarian cancer. However, it had to be removed, along with my ovary (I got to keep the left one!) and uterus, because everything was all adhered together.

This was done via laparoscopic surgery on Feb. 11, with one night in the hospital. On the surgeon's recommendation, I took three works off work. The recovery wasn't too bad--let's just say I got a reminder of all the ways I use my abdominal muscles all the time, every day. The uterus--well, its career highlight was nearly 20 years ago when it delivered the world's most perfect daughter. It was in retirement anyway, so I don't miss it.

I thought about blogging during my long hours lying in bed or on the sofa, but I had a superstition that I shouldn't publish anything about my surgery until I had my post-op checkup and got the full pathology report, which happened March 5. Thumbs up all around.

I did do some beading during my convalescence. Since I usually publish an "I Might Make That! Monday" tute on Mondays, I'll share a pic of the the bracelet patten I made.

It's quite a departure for me to work in flat peyote and follow a pattern. I much prefer to make beaded ropes and such. But I saw the pic below on Pinterest a day or so before I was due to check into the hospital. The doc had told me I might have to spend up to five days hospitalized if they had to do a full abdominal incision. I decided that beading and following a pattern might be a welcome distraction.

Link for this bracelet:

Peyote bracelet with 15s, 11s and 8s forming undulating curves. Pattern here.

Let me be clear that the pic is not my actual bracelet! That's the photo on the tutorial link. The instructions are in Czech or Hungarian or other language, but the bead diagram is quite clear. Since I can't read the language, I unfortunately can't credit the designer.

Although the pattern might look complicated, the dramatic curves are made by simply using size 15, 11 and 8 beads in the same row.

I made the bracelet in a dusty rose colorway. I didn't have 15s in the right color, so I used Delicas, which are a very small size 11, and Czech seed beads, which are a very large 11, and size 8s. The undulations are not quite as dramatic as that shown above, but I still like it.

Anyway, I finished the bracelet, but I don't have any photos. If I waited until I took pictures, it might be another month before I posted.