Thursday, December 9, 2021

Celebrating a 3 year "VAD-aversary"

 It's been three years since I learned how to care for my LVAD patient - changing his dressings on his port, taking blood pressure from a guy with no real pulse, going for quarterly cardio checkups at the hospital, and coping with all the tiny irritations of cords, controllers, and batteries.

I really wish I could be more joyful about it, but I still don't like nursing. Being a caregiver still is not my forte. I'm getting good at it, but I will never like doing it.

At UPMC, they call him an 'ideal patient' since he takes his meds and has his blood draws on schedule. 

I can't even find the words to express my frustrations - when he sneaks snack cakes, won't take his diuretic, won't exercise, won't eat the things he should, and turns a deaf ear to my advice.  I hold my tongue, clench my teeth, and quietly take pain killers for my own headaches and back pain.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Stirred Hearts at FPC Greensburg

I have been asked to 'write a few sentences' about what stirs my heart. It's a prompt being used at FPC Greensburg to help us think about and express how we feel about our church family and the things that we love about it.
I've made a 'little list' so I'm going to share it with you here. Admittedly, most of these have been shared by other members of the congregation already, which gives me comfort knowing that I'm in good company.

My Church Family is Friendly. They have reached out to me in so many ways during my times of grief and pain, offering to help me with my challenges during my husband's heart surgery and giving me all sorts of good advice on hundreds of little daily irritations. And, of course, celebrating the little joys and victories of routine living. Sometimes even when I have felt less than friendly. They have prayed for me and my family.

My Church gives me a channel for involvement. I enjoy working with children and young adults. I enjoy watching them learn and mature into amazing human beings with talents and skills over which I personally had some tiny influence. I have watched other people's children grow in faith that has strengthened my own faith more than I can fathom or express. Much of this is to the credit of our Youth Minister and the many programs available to them through FPC. I have helped with Mission Trips as well as taking turns in Sunday School, Y-Fi and Vacation Bible School.
I am also involved with Monday Morning Sewing, have been a Deacon, served Communion, and sorted clothes for the Rummage Sale.

And, although it is often mentioned, I have to add that FPC has an amazing, beautiful music ministry. The congregation pulled together to fund the restoration of our organ. Our music directors are talented beyond measure. And our choirs are a regular inspiration to my soul.

Lastly, I want to mention the symbolism in our Sanctuary. Many modern church buildings have forsaken symbolism as frivolous or too expensive.  FPC was built at a time when symbolism and icons were an essential part of faith and worship. It may seem insignificant, but sometimes I wish it were given more emphasis. The Christian symbols of the Cross are prevalent at Easter, but others are prominently displayed in both carvings and stained glass. The Dove, The Lily, The Rose of Sharon and the Trinity are all close to my heart. FPC has wonderful stained glass windows and wood carvings.

Friday, December 14, 2018

2018 in review

This year started out well. I started January with high hopes for finishing at least a quilt a month. Mostly things already started... trying to improve my attention span.
February also went well. March was a little more exciting - went to Lancaster Quilt Week. The turnpike was a mess, there was an accident that caused a long delay. By the time I got to the train station in Lancaster to meet Traci there was about 9" of snow, and it was nasty and wet and I was almost 3 hours late!  We checked into our hotel room and got stuck in the driveway... then had a challenge finding somewhere to eat.  A word of caution... Lancaster businesses close if the schools close - including restaurants!  It was 8pm by the time we were fed at Cracker Barrel.  That was the worst snow storm in March since '97!
In April we went to Dayton, Ohio (Dayton has the USAF Museum) to celebrate Dwaine's birthday.
We were delighted to find that the electric wheelchairs were available for us to use and had a fantastic time riding through the museum exhibits. We had a steak dinner afterwards and drove home - all in reasonable weather!
In May I enjoyed my guild quilt retreat and finished a quilt top that I had started the previous November! Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Quilt: On Ringo Lake. The clues have been taken off her website, but the pattern is available either in one of her books or as a download at!/On-Ringo-Lake-A-Digital-Pictorial-Tutorial-Booklet/p/100091287/category=13038426.
June started off great - my annual check-up and blood work came back fine - with the usual 'high cholesterol' diagnosis being about 30 pts lower than last year!
In July we had a visit from Granddaughter Maddy - she spent most of the week visiting friends, so we didn't see much of her, and then she and Dwaine spent a week in Tennessee at his sister's place while I ventured off to Rochester, NY on a Mission Trip with our youth group.

 just before the trip to Rochester NY 7/22/18

later that week with the homeowner
Everything seemed to be going well, until my daughter called the 7th of August to tell me about needing a walker 'for the rest of her life'.  That went on to become a saga of epic proportions that went back through months of doctor visits and trauma.

So, looking forward to next year... and here's why:

the year my daughter was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer - multiple myeloma. No cure, just a lifelong 'treatment' so an even tougher year for her! I spent a couple of weeks with her during the first two months of her treatment.  Back and forth to Philadelpia...

at the Spring flower show at Phipps - April 2018

the year my husband's heart disease almost did him in - but he is surviving with a heart pump, as he is not a good candidate for a heart transplant... and the waiting list is years long so even if he was qualified, he would still need the heart pump while waiting. and again, an even tougher year for him!

Dwaine and me at Phipps - October 2018
He was looking tired in this picture - had to stop and rest a lot, but he made it through the
Fall flower show, just before going into hospital.  His Heart Smart III was installed on Nov. 2.
He was in the hospital from 10/20 until Nov 20.

All through this ordeal people keep asking me how am I holding up, do I need anything?
I think this is the worst six months I've had since 1977.  I am miserable, scared, emotional, worried and more disorganized than I have ever been before in my life.

If you have lived through something similar - and you have a suggestion or a technique for coping that you think might help - please let me know!  This situation has used up almost every single coping mechanism in my repertoire. I've been trying to schedule a massage and a pedicure for over a month.  Even making time for me to make a phone call has been a challenge.

One of my coping skills is to do repetitious sewing... so that's what I'm doing today, and tomorrow, and probably the rest of this year.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Grannygoodstuff and Good Fortune #3

So I set right to work on Clue 3 on Friday.... and this is what I got done:

Slow going, but any progress is still progress!

More info is available on Bonnie's website at
just click on the Good Fortune tab and follow along.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Lots of quilting and knitting fun.

I have been participating in Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery quilt, inspired by her trip to
France, entitled En Provence (you can find the clues and reveal by clicking on the underlined link above) and it has been a fun distraction from the holidays and the bad weather!
I am really enjoying the challenges and the sharing of the various participants on Bonnie's blog.  She is a remarkable quilt designer, and goes to such interesting places!  I love reading her blog posts - it's like visiting with a friend. This is the last of the Mystery Monday Linkups for this quilt - hope you have time to visit and view some of the other amazing examples of Bonnie's ingenious design!

I started the Friday after Thanksgiving and did my best to keep up the pace with the other quilters.  I think I have been somewhat successful.  Here is my version of Bonnie's Mystery Quilt:

Thea McCurry's En Provence version

My bed is a queen size, and this quilt covers it nicely.  I am sewing on the last border today and hope to have it quilted and bound so I can enter it in the Quilt Company East guild's quilt show coming up this July:

Thursday JULY 13, Friday July 14, Saturday July 15, 2017 at ST. BERNADETTE CATHOLIC CHURCH in MONROEVILLE, PA 

                                                 Hours are:
                                                 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM Thursday
                                                 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM Friday
                                                 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM Saturday
All are welcome at our quilt show.

Also, I've been knitting a bunch of cute little baby caps for our local hospital's nursery. They only take a few hours each and they use up a bit of my super excessive yarn stash.  I tend to work on these during football games or watching tv, so I don't use a pattern, just cast on, knit until it's 'baby head size' and then bind off.  Please don't ask for a pattern.  If you want one, check out the free patterns on "Ravelry".

Here is a selection of my hand knit baby hats:

I get bored easily, so there is seldom any two alike, even when I try!
Hope your days of full of fun and creativity.

Best wishes for a safe and healthy Winter!

Thea in PA

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

share a poem for National Women's Day

found on ESSG

via the Poetic Underground.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Happy Leap Year!

Happy Birthday to all you Leap Year Babies...  But if your Birthday only comes once every four years... you might be 40 instead of 10.  Just sayin'.  ;-)

March comes tomorrow... In like a Lion, Out like a Lamb.  Time for kites & whirly-gigs.

I've been trying to finish a sewing/knitting/quilting project this weekend, just to be able to say I finished something... but there has been no dent at all in my UFO piles.  I did make a new thread catcher to go with my new sewing machine mat for the upcoming QCE retreat, but I can't post pics of those until after the retreat.

What I have accomplished is about 5 yards of hand dyed wool, most of which is destined for sale at the Quilt Patch, Etc. in Mt. Pleasant.  I love the softer Spring colors so much, I think I'll have to make more!

Here are some pics, these have already been posted to my Facebook page, but they are so pretty that I'm putting them here, too.

I was not really trying to make gradations, but that's how they came out... each day I did colors that 'blended' with each other...
a day of yellows, oranges and pinks,


then a day of blues and orchids,   

then a day of chartreuse, greens and turquoise - love the bright aqua there in the middle of this stack! 

I also took all the leftover green & blue dyes and mixed them into a final 'batch'
that came out just right for pastel aqua foliage....
such as these wool succulents...
I also want to thank Nan Loncharich  for developing so many ways to use these hand dyed wool fabrics. 
If you click on her name above, you will see pictures of some of her other beautiful woolen creations.

Thanks for stopping by today.  See you again soon!

Hugs, ggs