Pensacola Quilt Show 2014

Yesterday we went to the Pensacola Quilt Show at the Fairgrounds. It was in the Expo Hall, a rather large warehouse type building. We walked around and enjoyed all of the beautiful quilts on display. Some were large, some small, some grouped together in a theme such as Route 66 or Pensacola.

There were quite a few women there and some husbands, who, I am sure, were dragged there because of their wives.

I did talk to one lady, a member of the local guild. She had entered a Bargello style quilt. It was beautiful. I did get a pic of her with her entry.

Now for your enjoyment:

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Fear of Losing Someone

Recently, youngest was complaining of his heart pounding. This is odd, because he’s not overweight and he’s a runner.

I’m a retired nurse, so I asked him the usual questions: “Is it racing?” “Any chest pain?” “Any shortness of breath?” To which his answer was, “No, just pounding. I can feel it.” So I told him he should get it checked out. But in the meantime, maybe he should eliminate caffeine and nicotine from his daily routine.

He did that and things seemed to be better for awhile. Then one day at work, it started pounding again. So he went to Urgent Care where they did an EKG….Findings: normal rhythm and rate. He was somewhat relieved and so was I. But I kept searching the recesses of my brain trying to recall anything that might cause his heart to do this crazy pounding thing.

Then a couple of nights ago, we were all in the ER because he had an episode of tachycardia (rapid heart rate). Again they did an EKG with the same results. He did have evidence, so to speak, as the EMTs hooked him up to a monitor and ran a strip showing the rapid heart rate. Of course, by the time he got to the ER, it was slowing down.

After a few hours, we were sent home. In the meantime, I’m still racking my brain trying to come up with a possible cause for this cardiac anomaly. But exhaustion overcomes me and I fall asleep for a few hours.

The next day I wake up still thinking about this problem and rightly so. I’m his mom and no mom wants to think about losing their child regardless of the child’s age. So I continue to rack my brain and out of no where a single word pops up…potassium. So I did a little research.

I finally remembered that potassium has a lot to do with how one’s heart works and deficiencies can cause all kinds of problems. But most folks get enough potassium in the foods they eat daily.

Then I remembered youngest ate a lot of potassium rich foods when he lived at home, but he recently moved out (into an apartment with his older brother) and he was evidently not eating right. So I texted him about potassium, sent him several links, and told him to at least get some bananas and oranges. He did that and also checked his My Fitness Pal account, where he logs his food intake. He checked back for several weeks and found that he was getting less than 400mg of potassium daily and on some days none at all. The daily required amount, depending on what site you check, can be 2000mg to 3500mg.

So now he’s checking not only calories on the foods he eats, but also the amount of potassium that particular food has.

I am hoping this is all that is needed to set him right. He did say that he has had no more tachycardia episodes and the pounding episodes have lessened a great deal.

BTW, he does have an appointment to see his doctor on Tuesday. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed for a good outcome.

NSR

Big Lagoon State Park, the Natural Florida

Big Lagoon State Park is an example of how Florida would look if no people had settled here. It is a natural habitat and supports numerous wildlife, which includes numerous birds, rodents and snakes.

For the most part, you won’t see the rodents or snakes, but you will see quite a few birds. Photographing them is something else. I was not able to get a photo of any birds this trip. But the scenery is still beautiful.

Just an FYI, I think the water is beautiful, but you won’t find me in it. There are some huge fish in that water and I am a coward at heart.

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Fort Pickens, Spring Break, and Wrecks

Yesterday afternoon, youngest and I decided to drive out to Ft. Pickens and wander around a bit. I have a Seniors Pass that gets me and other occupants of my car in for free.

Well we couldn’t have picked a more terrible time to go. I forgot this was Spring Break and the beach area was crawling with teens, families and young kids. It was like trying to drive through a herd of multicolored clowns from a gigantic circus. I was glad when we finally reached the entrance to Ft. Pickens. We did have to wait as there was a line of folks headed in the same direction. Once we got through, we made it to the parking area of the Fort, parked and began our little jaunt through the structure and surrounding area.

I took a few pics and will post them shortly.

Driving back we just missed a major wreck. It happened behind us as we were leaving. I’m glad we were far enough ahead that we weren’t caught up in a traffic standstill. Unfortunately, we DID get caught up in the traffic standstill of the wreck much closer to home. Two lanes of traffic was being squeezed into a single lane by emergency vehicles. You would think that seeing a major wreck would make most folks more careful, but that was far from true. Idiots were trying to shove their way into the single lane with total disregard for who may already be in that spot. I was definitely glad when we got home.

Anyway, here are a few pictures for you to enjoy.

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Walking Around the Montgomery Zoo

Yesterday, we took a day trip to the Montgomery Zoo. It took us about 2.5 hours to get there and a little over 3 hours to walk around the zoo. This is where youngest son wanted to go for his birthday, which was Sunday, by the way.

Both sons brought their iPhones to take pictures. I brought my camera (Lumix). I can’t seem to convince them that a good camera is the better option than a phone when taking photos. Well, that is beside the point. We had a good time there.

We ambled along, stopping to take pictures at each exhibit. When we got hungry, we ate at the café in the zoo. I have to say the staff at the zoo are very nice and friendly.

Anyway, here are some photos for you to enjoy today.

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Gadgets for Weight Loss

What kind of gadgets do you use to help you with your weight loss?

I have a couple of things I use. One, I have a treadmill that I use on occasion. It’s a great machine, but it is really boring. I have taken to using a DVD player while walking on it, to distract myself from the monotony of exercising on it.

My latest gadget is a FitBit One tracker. It tracks the number of steps you take everyday, the number of calories you burn, whether or not you are going up stairs, etc. It is rechargeable and holds a charge for about 5 days. I like that…no running to the store to find batteries for it. It syncs with your computer, wirelessly, so you can get on their page and monitor your progress. It’s tiny and clips to your clothing. It also resets itself to zero at midnight. You can wear it to bed and monitor your sleep patterns. So far I don’t see a need for that as I’m retired and can take a nap if I don’t get my required number of hours.

My goal with newest little gadget is to reach 10,000 steps a day. I know I am far from that goal, but I plan on increasing my steps little by little.

I would really like to reach the point that it doesn’t matter what I eat/consume, my activity will outweigh/outnumber the calories taken in.

Wish me luck.

See ya on the good side of healthy.

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Jump Starting the Weight Loss

Since Thanksgiving (2012) I have gained a lot of weight. Some I previously lost and extra. Not a good thing at my age. I also quit smoking and have found that I tend to munch on snacks absentmindedly. Also not a good thing.

Well I decided to try a smoothie type diet. I read up on smoothies and liquid diets. There is all kinds of information out there, pro and con. One of the main things is that it is difficult to get enough protein and nutrients with some of the smoothie diet plans out there.

So this is what I have done:

For breakfast I have a protein smoothie consisting of soy protein powder mixed in water, a fruit (usually a banana), a raw egg white and a low cal sweetener, like stevia. Then I serve over crushed ice.

For lunch I have a protein veggie smoothie. Again, I use the protein powder, multiple vegetables (cooked or raw), and sweetener, all well mixed in the blender. Served over crushed ice.

For dinner, I have a regular meal, trying to be sensible in the portions and calorie counts.

In the last 4 days I’ve lost 9 pounds. That’s a great jump start. But I don’t want to continue losing 2 or 3 pounds a day. I want to ease that back down to maybe 1-2 pounds a week. Rapid weight loss of 10-20 pounds initially is ok, but to continue this rapid weight loss for any longer would be a severe health risk. I’m trying to be healthy not become anorexic.

So how do you jump start your weight loss?

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Today Is My Birthday!

Where did the time go? It just seems like I retired yesterday, instead of 1 year ago. I don’t feel older, but hey I don’t act older either.

I’ve never really acted my age and I sure as hell don’t intend to start now. Life is meant to be lived, not just viewed from a window. Spontaneity is the spice of life.

I do plan to be taken out to lunch/dinner and then I might go shopping or on an impromptu photo shoot. I might even go to the beach. I’ll just do whatever strikes my fancy. After all, it is my day today.

Happy Birthday to me!

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Getting Re-motivated on My Healthy Journey

Since Thanksgiving of 2013, I have gained weight. That was due to over eating and, especially, eating things I should only eat in moderation, once in awhile. Our weather didn’t help as far as my walking regime is concerned. One day it’s freezing, the next it’s in the 60′s. Then it’s raining cats and dogs. Go figure.

Well, now it is time to get re-motivated. I’m starting off with trying to eat right and drink more water. Next are my kitchen sink exercises. These are exercises that can be done at the kitchen sink, especially good for older folks, like myself, who find it hard to get down on the floor and worse yet, get back up from the floor.

Place your hands on the rim, at each corner of the kitchen sink. Spread your feet to shoulder width apart. Now squat, only as far as you can go comfortably and get back up from comfortably. That may be only an inch or two to begin with. Do 9 squats.

Keeping your hand position maintained. Step back about a foot, keeping your feet shoulder width apart. Do 1 push up (lean in to the sink, bending your elbows, push out, straightening your arms).

Next, do 8 squats and 2 push ups. Then 7 squats and 3 push ups. Continue this way until you are doing 1 squat and 9 push ups.

Doesn’t seem like much, but believe me you will feel it later. This is especially good for older folks like myself, who are losing strength in their arms and legs.

My next goal is to get back up to par with my walking. Of course, here the weather during the winter is unpredictable. But I have no excuse. I do have a treadmill and I need to get on it.

Now that I have put my goals in print, hopefully, I’ll be able to stick to them.

Wishing you all good health.

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Keeping Busy During the Cold

Today I thought I would post a couple of knitting projects for any of you who want to keep busy while it is sub-zero outside.

Dippity Dots Mittens and Bucket Hat
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Materials:
1 skein of Bernat’s Dippity Dots yarn in color of choice
3 skeins of Yarn Treehouse Merino Classic in contrasting color or color a few shades darker than main color
US 4 double pointed needles for mittens
US 5 circular 16″ long and double pointed needes for hat (switch to dpns when it becomes difficult to continue with circular needles)

Terms:
c/o – cast on
CC – contrast color
MC – main color
K – knit
P – purl
BO or CO – bind off, cast off
M1 – make one
K2tog – knit 2 together
PM – place marker
SM – slip marker

Gauge: 5 stitches, 6 rows to the inch on US 4 needles

Mittens:
With US 4 dpns, cast on 40 stitches using CC. Divide evenly over 4 needles and K2P2 for 2 inches.
K one round in CC. Change to MC (dippity dots) and K 2 rounds.

Begin thumb gusset:
1. M1 and place marker. K to end of round
2. K
3. M1, K1, M1, SM, K to end of round.
4. K
5. M1, K3, M1, SM, K to end of round.
6. K
Continue in this manner until you have 13 stitches before marker.
Then, K13, SM, K remainder of stitches on needles. Slip the first 13 stitches before marker to waste yarn or ribbon. Remove marker. Continue knitting around and join .
Continue knitting around until you have 6 – 6 1/4 inches above cuff. Begin decreases.
K2, K2tog around
K three rounds even
K1, K2tog around
K three rounds even
K2tog around. Slip stitches to 2 needles and kitchner stitches together. This will be difficult as you will be pulling the dippity dots yarn thru the loops and it will stick. You will have to be patient and manipulate the yarn thru the loops.

Thumb:
Slip the 13 stitches to 2 needles. Pick up 3 stitches at join and divide stitches as evenly as possible. Join MC yarn and knit for desired length (about 2″ from join).
K1 K2tog around
K one round
K2tog around, slip yarn thru loops on needles and secure. Again this will be difficult as the dippity dots will tend to “catch” on the loops. Be patient and you will succeed.

Repeat for other mitten.

Dippity Dots Bucket Hat

Using US 5 circular needles, CO 120 stitches in CC. PM every 30 stitches. Join and K one round. Then P one round.
Begin pattern:
K13, P2 around until you have knit 1.5 inches from cast on edge.
Decrease: K2tog, K11, P2 around x 1
K 12, P2 around for 6 inches or desired length from beginning.
Decrease for top of hat:
K2tog, K4, K2tog, K4, P2 around.
K10, P2 around X 3
K2tog, K3, K2tog, K3, P2 around.
K8, P2 around x 3
K2tog, K2, K2tog, K2, P2 around
K6, P2 around x 3
K2tog, K1, K2tog, K1, P2 around
K4, P2 around x 3
K2tog, K2tog, P2 around
K2, P2 around x 1
K2tog, P2tog. End by cutting yarn about 10 inches out and run through loops on needles. Secure end. Weave in all loose ends. Block hat as necessary. Add decoration of choice.

I crocheted a flower in the Dippity Dots yarn to match the mittens. You could knit a flower or a band or a strip to tie into a bow or an i-cord. Use your imagination.

Notes: I did not block this hat. I like the curled up edge. If you wish, you can block the hat into a more bell shape.

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This is a moebius cowl that I did using US 8 circular needles 47″ long and following Cat Bordhi’s moebius cast on method. Her method can be found on YouTube. I began with a cast on of 100 stitches and followed her instructions for round #1. After that, I knt 4 rounds and then purled 4 rounds and continued in this manner until I was almost out of yarn. Then I did a standard bind off.

The yarn I used was Red Heart Boutique Treasure. It is 70% acrylic and 30% wool. Feels really soft.