More Black Belt Stitching Wizard Stuff

Friday, September 30, 2011

One Last Run For The Cure Plug

Hey everyone!  I sat down and added up my online donations (which you can see on the right there) and my "old fashioned on paper donations" and you know what?  I am only $139 shy of raising $1,500!!!!

That's only 14 donations of $10 each!

Last year I raised just over $1,400 so please if you have the means, help me blow last year's total out of the water by hitting that $1,500 mark!

To donate online at anytime, from anywhere in the world, simply click on "donate now" on the right or click HERE

Ketchup Post #2

On September 14th I took my 2nd of three days off from the hospital during the four weeks my Mum was there.  Months ago Christin and I managed to get tickets to see Pearl Jam.  Pearl Jam is one of the few bands left on my Concert Bucket List.  Do you have a Concert Bucket List?  If you're one of my long time readers you know... I LOVE a great concert.  I can't sing, I can't play a single note but boy can I rock!

 That's Pearl Jam, not Peanut Butter & Jelly!

I've been a Pearl Jam fan since grunge hit the scene in the 1990's, their Ten album is one of their best and I was looking forward to a fantastic show.  That and a break from the hospital.  I made it to the gym after work, Christin and I had a nice dinner out where we got caught up and enjoyed a rock show.

I have to say that sadly I was disappointed by Pearl Jam.  There are so many songs of theirs that I love and enjoy, they just didn't play them!  I mean what is a PJ concert without Jeremy or Daughter?  It seemed to be just a concert, not a show.  Eddie Vetter, the lead singer just didn't connect with the audience, or perhaps he just didn't connect with me?  He played a lot of their "B sides" that night, and if you were a hard core PJ fan you probably had an awesome time!

Pictures anyone???

 Didn't know anyone had lighters anymore!

Click to biggify, caught one guitar player mid-jump and Eddie smashing the mic stand into the stage!

 Not a bad show boys, but could of been better.


 Another concert shirt for the collection

I enjoyed the show but I wasn't blown away, and I've been to some amazing shows!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ketchup Post #1

Back in school I could remember one of my teachers would put a big picture of a ketchup bottle on the board, it was Ketchup Day... in other words it was our chance to get caught up!  So let's get you caught up on the few events I got to attend while my Mum was in hospital.  Tonight, I sat at my computer for over 3 hours going through a lot of pictures, deleting the bad ones, tagging them, and editing photos to use on this blog.

On September 10th things were well enough here, with my Mum that I felt safe making the 2 hour drive and overnight trip for my childhood friend Andrew's wedding.  Andrew and I were neighbours as kids in Montreal, we are 6 months apart in age (I'm older) and we've known each other forever.  In 1987 my family had to move to Texas for a couple of years and when we came back to Canada, we relocated to the National Capital Region.  No matter where Andrew and I have been in our lives we've always known where the other was, how to get in touch and we'd drop life in an instant for the other.  It was important for me to be there and I'm glad I was able to make it.

Not only was it Andrew & Yan's Wedding day, it was Andrew's 35th birthday, and Chelsey's 100th Day Celebration.  What an auspicious day!

Here is a small selection of my shots from the day, a few you already saw when I posted Andrew & Yan's wedding sampler happy dance.

Andrew must of had a word in with the weather gods, what a beautiful day and a beautiful setting for a wedding

Flower girl & ring bearer

 Andrew & His Mom just before the ceremony

The Bride, Yan and her father

 Exchanging rings

 Signing the certificates

Chelsey & Andrew, Chelsey was blessed and her godparents recognized as part of her 100th Day Celebration

 A lovely touch special wine glasses commemorating the day, the Chinese symbol for double happiness

 Lovely centerpieces made by Andrew's Mom

 The First Dance

 Cutting the cake?  Can you say Facebook Profile Picture?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

GREAT news! TUSAL & Ready to Run

While I was sitting down to write up this post I got the best phone call ever, the caller ID showed my parents house, and it was my Mum calling from HOME!  I am so happy and excited that my Mum got discharged from the hospital today!  She has been improving and getting stronger and more stable in leaps and bounds in the last week.  I feel like 200 lbs has just come off of my shoulders!  There's still a long road ahead but this is movement in the right direction!!!

Gosh with the pace life has been going out I'm surprised I didn't forget to post for this month's TUSAL.  Thank goodness to the handy calendar and reminder I have set up on my phone!

Its fall here, the leaves are turning and starting to fall.  Its like a switch had been turned off once September started and the colours are quite lovely right now.  There's not a lot that's been added to my Ort Jar this month, because family comes first.

This Sunday is the CIBC Run For the Cure, a 5K run/walk and its happening all across Canada at the same time.  Its a very powerful event to raise money for Breast Cancer Research.  Boy am I ready to run!  Thank you to the support of many of you out there who have made a donation and helped me reach my fundraising goal of $1000.00 this year!  An amazing feat considering what's been going on in my life, and it also proves the true power of Social Networking because all I've had the time to do was fund raise via e-mail, facebook and this blog. You can still donate (help me KILL my goal), its not too late simply go here to make an online donation.

I want to say a big thank you to my many friends out there!  Your support through my Mum's time in hospital, and my fundraising efforts and MORE!  Thank you!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

One of Life's Proud Moments

Despite all that's going on I am still finding moments for life and commitments I have made and following through with them.  This past Sunday was an event I had committed to back in the spring by registering for the Army Run 1/2 Marathon!  I had every excuse in the book to drop out, to sell my race bib this year.

I used the heat as an excuse not to get out and run often and far enough (wasn't it stinkin' hot this year?).  Then almost 3 weeks prior to Race Day life was turned upside down with Mum's hospitalization.  I didn't let any of those excuses hold me back or stop me ... I spent the week leading up to race day freaking out, worried about how prepared I wasn't and so on.  As Nike says: "Just Do It" and that's what I intended to do.  My goal was just to cross the finish line, I didn't care how I did it, or how long it would take!

This is what Freakin' Dark O'Clock looks like!

I woke up Sunday morning at Freakin' Dark O'Clock!  Not my favourite time of the day.  With my bag packed the night before, and running clothes set out, I made a fantastic protein smoothie for breakfast and set out for what I was considering to be the craziest day of my life!

Can't you tell I LOVE mornings?  Ready to head to Amy's
See the nervous smiles?

I met up with my friends Amy and Marline.  Amy was supposed to walk the 1/2 marathon (21.1 K) but she sadly declared when I saw her at the end of August that she was "broken again" but that she would be my "Race Day Bitch" aka: chauffeur, photographer, Sherpa, water boy and more!  I couldn't turn that down.  Amy was going to take care of both Marline and I that day, Marline was doing her first race ever, the 5K event and I was doing the 1/2 marathon (did I mention that's 21.1K?). 

Marline and I in our Army Run swag.  Black = 1/2 marathon, White = 5K

The morning started off cold, pretty darned cold!  I started the morning in a sweater but I gave it to Amy once I went to find my starting corral.  I didn't want to be burdened and I knew as soon as I got started I would be warm enough.  By the end of my race, it was a perfect day, sunny and 20c the conditions couldn't of been better!

Injured Soldiers at the start line

The 5K race started at 8am.  There was lots of ceremony to the event, the Governor General's Band was there to lead us through O'Canada, there were MC's, lots of press and more.  The start the race with the injured soldiers who get a head start.  That was one of the most emotional things I have ever witnessed!  You saw all kinds of injured soldiers some in chairs, some with one prosthetic leg, some with two.  There were wheelchairs, crutches, canes and more.  It was truly moving to see all these men and women whose life have been changed forever serving our country.  Marline used to serve in the military and she was doing the race with a friend of hers who was injured while in the service, she's in a back brace.  Amy and I both had tears rolling down our faces.  Then the 5K runners were off!

5K runners waiting to start

Not long after they took off, I had time for a quick visit to the porta-potty and I had to go find my corral.  I had initially pegged myself as finishing in 2hr 30min.  I knew after the summer I had that this wasn't a reality, I figured I would be more in the 3hr range.  The next thing I knew the Howlizter Cannon went off and it was time to get moving!  I turned my music on as I crossed the start line and off I went to conquer 21.1 K as best as I could!

Getting a high-five from Marline at the 18K mark

The course took us past Parliament Hill, The Supreme Court, National Library & Archives Canada, National War Museum, across the river and into the province of Quebec for a jog through downtown Hull, back across the Alexandria Bridge, past the National Art Gallery, National Mint, 24 Sussex Drive (the PM's house) and up to Rideau Hall then back towards the Rideau Center, down once side of the Rideau Canal across it and back up the other side to the finish line.

My initial goal was to run as long as I could, I figured somewhere between 5-8K the do the rest of the distance at a run/walk (10 min/1 min).  I even surprised myself and RAN THE FIRST 14 KM!  Well over half of the distance!

Mark who already ran the 1/2 marathon talking me through the last 2K to the finish line

I knew a couple of other people who were running the 1/2 Marathon that day.  My buddy Mark from Taekwon-do passed me when I was at the 3K mark and he was at the 6K mark.  Carrie from work passed when I was at the 14K mark and she at the 16K mark.  It really was a bolster to see friends running too!  I had the best surprise when I hit the 19K mark and I was starting to run out of steam and my body was starting to protest.  Mark who had already ran the 1/2 marathon was waiting for me and asked me if I'd like him to run the last few KMs with me.  I certainly didn't turn down the offer.  Mark was amazing, he kept up this continuous pep-talk to keep my moving and my spirits up when I was nearing the end of my endurance.  Because of Mark I finished, and I finished strong!


I couldn't believe it as the finish line came into sight and I saw 2:55:10 on the clock!  I was going to cross the line in UNDER 3 hours!  2:49:42.6 was my official time when you take into account the time difference between the gun going off and when I actually crossed the start line.

Receiving my medal at the finish line from a Canadian Soldier

Nice touch, dog tags for medals!

 Looking amazingly happy and fresh after running 21.1KM (are you tired of hearing that?  I'm not!)

This was one of the most amazing, empowering, and positive moments in my life!  Right now I feel like I could do anything!  I'd like to think that one of my strengths is how when I put my mind to accomplishing something I WILL accomplish it no matter how hard the challenge is.

Cooling down after the race... got one of those cool silver blankies too!  Made a great super-hero cape!

I went from this fat, unhealthy 200+ pound girl in 2007 who the only time you would of seen her running was out of a burning building, to running a 1/2 Marathon 21.1 K!!!

You can do truly amazing things when you're stubborn!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Finally A Finish

I've had very little stitching time since my Mum went into the hospital just over three weeks ago now.  She is getting better and stronger every day.  She will have a serious condition to learn to live with once she gets out of the hospital, its was really sketchy there for about a week we were truly starting to wonder if she would really pull through.  This last week she has improved in leaps and bounds.

How about something happy, like a Happy Dance????  This piece should of been finished during the long weekend at the beginning of the month, but life got in the way.

My childhood friend, Andrew got married in Montreal on September 10th.  I took one day off from visiting with my Mum in the hospital to go, it was just one of those moments in life I just couldn't miss.  Andrew and I have known each other since he was born (we're 6 months apart), we were neighbours, we made mud pies together, climbed trees together, built snow forts, and built wicked jumps at the bottom of the hill we would go sledding on.  No matter where we've been in life we've always known where the other was and how to get in touch!

Here is the Wedding Sampler I stitched for Andrew and his new wife Yan:

Two Shall Be As One
c2007 My Big Toe Designs
Stitched on 32ct White Lugana
Stitched with Carrie's Creation Blueberry and Monarch

 The wedding was gorgeous, the day was gorgeous!  Here are just a few shots from the day (I've got so many and not enough time to go through them).

The kiss

 Andrew, Yan & their baby Chelsey (it was her 100th day!)

 Todd, Yan, Andrew, and I

Chelsey with her Auntie Danielle!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Run For the Cure 2011 Time Is Running Out

Due to my commitments to my Mum and being with her at the hospital the last couple of weeks my fundraising efforts have really suffered this year.  My goal was to raise $1000 this year.  Currently I've managed to raise $390.00 please help me out by going to my Personal Donation page and making a donation to help end Breast Cancer!

Race day is Sunday October 2nd, under two weeks away!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Quick Update

First of all I want to say thank you so much for all the prayers, wishes and positive thoughts for my Mum's health and recovery.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again stitchers are the most amazing and giving people in the world.  You all just proved that with your comments and personal e-mails I've received over the last two weeks

Sorry folks, there's no stitching here today... I've been lucky to get in a straight 15 minutes stitching in a week lately.  My wedding sampler was not delivered to the Groom and Bride this past Saturday.

Today is the start of the 3rd week of my Mum being in the hospital.  She is still not well.  After she was admitted to the hospital 2 weeks ago instead of seeing her get better and stronger, we slowly saw her condition worsening.  It got to the point where she needed assistance for every little thing, to eat, to drink, to even change positions in the bed.  That is the hardest thing in the world to see your parent so helpless! 

This past Sunday I finally got to "run into" Mum's Doctor and have a talk with her because we're all getting bits and pieces of information second hand from each other (my Dad and siblings).  Even she was starting to feel that the situation was not going to have a positive ending.  She still had yet to consult with the specialists in the city about my Mum's case as we only just had the final diagnostic test on Friday, and MRI.  So through more 2nd hand information through family the specialists have said that her condition is not as grave as we have all been thinking/feeling she may need a transplant but that information isn't clear yet if she really needs it/how badly its needed.  The Doctor is doing her best to deal with my Mum's illness and all the complications that kept popping up the first week and a half and she has been doing the exact same things the specialists would be doing for her in the city.

For the time being I am working full time (and work has been physically exhausting lately), spending 4 hours every evening with my Mum at the hospital, helping her with her dinner and trying to make her as comfortable as I can and do all those little things.  Some nights when I have the energy I make it out to a TKD class after being at the hospital since they're down the street from each other.

On top of this I'm trying my best to keep on top of commitments I've made prior to the shit hitting the fan.  I started a Run for the Cure team at TKD and I've hit the point where it requires paperwork/action on my part with some deadlines coming up.  Also I'm kinda sorta trying to fund raise to meet this year's goal of $1,000 but I just don't have the time to go at it with the enthusiasm I usually do (click on the meter on my sidebar to donate!).  I am going to attempt a 1/2 Marathon on Sunday, which all training went out of the window and I'm just aiming to finish it doing run/walk intervals.  So even though life gets tough, everything doesn't stop for you.

I have had two high points I went to my childhood friend's wedding and Christin and I saw Pearl Jam in concert.  At some point down the road I'll have pictures from both events to share with you!

Everyone, thank you for your support!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Tough Times Ahead

If you've been following me the last couple of days on Facebook you'll know that I'm going through a rough time.  I was called on Wednesday evening by my "baby" brother that my Dad had called an ambulance for my Mum.  I knew that she had not been feeling well for awhile.  That dizziness, ringing in her ears and nausea had slowly put her to bed more and more each day.  Slowly she was also eating less and less.  She had gotten so weak she couldn't take care of herself anymore, and it was time to strong arm her into getting some medical assistance.  Its very hard/damn near impossible to get my Mum to/near a doctor.  I've managed to do it in the past but I had an inkling that this time it would require an ambulance.

Not only is my Mum so weak she can't make it across a room without assistance, it has been discovered that there are issues with her liver.  She's already had a couple of tests, but now we're waiting on an MRI which I don't suspect will happen until Tuesday, its a long weekend and its one of those ones where the ambulances tend to be very busy.  My Mum is in a small-town hospital, and the only way to get her specific tests is to have her transported by ambulance into the city and a bigger hospital.  She already had to do this once for her first two tests.  There are moments where her sense of humour still peeks through, after her first tests she mentioned that she was a little tired of waking up in different places.

Mum does keep hoping she's going home soon, but I think its going to be awhile.  We've been dividing up the visiting hours among us to make sure that Mum isn't alone for long.

So life has kinda gone on hold for now, I am continuing going into work and spending the evenings in the hospital.  I'll save my days for when I'm really needed, for when Mum comes home.  Very little stitching is going on, and I don't think the wedding sampler I'm working on will be ready for Saturday, the 10th.  Also I don't know if I'll be able to go to the wedding, it depends on how Mum is doing and if I feel comfortable being a 2 hour drive from her.  I could of also been at one of our wonderful stitchy weekends this weekend, but again I didn't want to be 3 hours from home, nor do I think I would of enjoyed myself or been good company.

That's where things stand for now, I'm skipping out on setting goals for this month cause I don't think I'll even be able to accomplish a single one.  I do get a few stitches in when I can, and when I'm not so exhausted that I just want to crawl into bed.

Its not easy having an ill parent.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

PhotoHunt: Wrong

This week's theme is Wrong.  Gosh so many pictures could fall under the category of "wrong" it was almost hard to pick...

Earlier this summer Todd tried to make me kiss the pike I had caught.  Now that is just WRONG!  Can you not tell by the look on my face that this wasn't happening?