Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Hearing Aid

Warning this is a LONG post!

On the Friday before Canberra, my right hearing aid a Phonak PowerZoom P4 AZ, started to cut in and out. It's had a good run I got it in 2001, I used to wear two of them, but I had a cochlear implant in Feb 2004, so between the two of them they lasted 8 years, which is just about on par since the average life span is 4 years.

I have quite a significant loss which has been progressing for many years and I'm now left with profound hearing loss. The hearing aid I've been using, hasn't been giving me much help with speech , but has been useful to discern what direction sounds are coming from and a few other minor sounds.

Last Monday I went to the audiologist to start looking for a new aid. After testing the salesman - yes, salesman since he was 70% salesman & 30% audiologist which annoyed me to no end, recommended the Phonak Naida IX with a whopping price tag, which blew us away.

It was supposed to be ready for me to pick-up on Friday, Thursday I rec'd a call saying that the salesman had never fitted a Naida before, so he wanted to have a more experienced audiologist there at the same time. I was rescheduled for today.

After 2 hours of fiddling neither audiologist was able to get the volume & sound quality to a manageable level at the same time to make the price of the darned thing worthwhile. The seasoned audiologist was much more personable than the salesman and asked me questions about the cochlear etc. He came up with the idea to get in a Phonak rep to see if he/she might be able to adjust the HA to suit my needs, so now it's a waiting game to see when the three schedules (if not 4) all coincide.

At this time I'm starting to think that maybe the next logical step is another implant. I love my implant, it gives me better sound quality than I ever experienced with any HA's. When first confronted with the implant idea at the age of 19, it terrified me, I had visions of Frankenstein with huge bolts coming from the side of my head with the wires attached to a cumbersome & annoying body aid like the original HA's from the 70's.

When I actually did discover that the hearing in my left ear - the dominant ear was gone, I was devastated, I had moved to Australia only a couple of years beforehand and one of the things I had been more or less forced to write in my immigration application was that I wasn't moving here to get a cochlear & that I had no intentions of getting one for a long time, infact my ENT's letter said something about 10-15 years at the earliest. No one had predicted an infection that would wipe out almost everything I had left in less than 5 minutes. it happened so fast that I automatically blamed the HA, and sent it in for repair not once, but twice, after the second time of it coming back and not working we tested the hearing... 4 weeks later. The damage was done, the ENT prescribed steroids were useless.

After many tests, including one for the auditory nerve - ouch! psychological, balance, etc we waited and waited to see if I was eligible, I was sure they were going to reject me based on my immigration paperwork. One month before Christmas my right ear crashed... I was petrified, I'd never learned sign language, I had been mainstreamed my entire life, even if I had learned it, I'd would have known ASL not AUSLAN. Thankfully I still had the stroids from the previous episode which I took immediately, the next morning some hearing had already been regained, I likened it to coming up from deep water into the shallows, I only lost 10 dcB that time.

A short time later we found that I had been accepted for the cochlear, and it has been the best thing that has ever happened to me when it comes to my hearing. I have said before that I wish I had taken a hot poker to my ears years ago, the difference is astonishing, I found myself able to hear where my dog was from the jingling of her tags, and so many other extras which I now take for granted.

In some ways I hope the hearing aid doesn't work out, there are so many benefits to cochlear, sound quality, no earmold, no more or far less ear infections, the external device doesn't need replacing as often, the running cost is higher since they chew through 3 or 4 depending on the model, batteries every 2-4 days.

One other silver lining that lies close to my heart is that if I no longer have any hearing to lose, since my type of loss (LVAS) is pressure susceptible, then I might actually be able to experience a natural birth with any other kids we choose to have. I had scheduled Caesareans with both my boys which were really good experiences, I cannot recommend my OB highly enough for scheduled C-sections, he did a lovely job, I was up & walking aorund with ease within 48hrs of both, mostly drug free, but I always wanted to have a very quiet, natural stressfree labour, this might be my chance.

Update - halloween party

The Halloween Party went well, even though I spent the whole night before with the stomach bug that the boys had the week before. I was a little worried about how big it would be since so many people didn't bother to let me know that they weren't coming and being on a Saturday, I knew it had the potential to blow out of control with the addition of school age kids. So giving out invites the same week as the party worked in our favour in that respect since we ended up with only 5 families, in addition to ours, so it was a nice cosy group, the weather worked beautifully this year too, it was so nice out and not too hot that the kids played outside whenever they weren't eating! The planned craft & games have been put away for the next Halloween Party we have, since they weren't touched.
The food went well this year too, unlike the first year where I used all untried recipes that were cute and looked great - oooh boy did they taste FOUL! I decided that I wanted to send the kids home with caramel apples instead of the usual sugar laden, itsy cheapo toy filled loot bags. I knew that finding the right kind of caramel here was going to be an issue, so I mentioned to my mum that we'd all be thrilled if she could send over some candies, well she stumbled across these AMAZING sheets of carmel specifically for apples, they even included the sticks. I went from thinking I was going to need to make the caramel from scratch to simply wrapping an apple, putting a stick in and popping it into the oven, so fabulous!
The other treats were scrambled eyeballs - red jello, with a marshmallow & a blueberry floating on top, and scrambled monster brains, which were based on the popcorn balls recipe over at Pleasant Home. We used strawberry jello, squashed all up into the ball it looked a bit like brains, and it was fun! Jodi has hundreds of inspirational ideas, please go have a look!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Joys of Kids

Mischief has decided that his nose is a most excellent repository for small bits of cereal. This morning I had the immense pleasure of retrieving a Rice Crispy/Bubble from one snout only to need to dig around in the other one for cornflake pieces. I don't think I got it all since his snot is cornflake orange. JOY!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I'm still here

Hi all,

I am still here, just have had quite a busy week leading up to the Kids Halloween party, a getaway weekend in Canberra, Mischief and I have have been sick but not at the same time.

I haven't picked up a needle all week so have had little to share on that front, but I will have to get crackingthis week to get the Christmas swap blocks & the Margaret's Hope Chest Quilt top done, amongst audiologist, optometrist, allergist appointments, Christmas Cards, and Mischief's Birthday Party Planning.

I expect my blog posts will be sparse over the next while, but if I find myself suitably inspired I imagine I'll be back with a vengenance.

Friday, October 23, 2009


And the winner is.... Kate! I've sent you an email, go check your inbox!

Thank-you for all your insightful comments!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

One day

Was it ever hot today, after weeks of cool weather we hit 33C, the average seemed to hover around 30, a shock to the system when most days have been around 20C.

I'm currently working on the last two stitchery blocks in my Winter Wonderland Quilt from Crabapple Hill. The second one down on the left, the family one. The last one which I haven't even finished tracing yet, which is HUGE is that one at the top, to be honest I'm dreading it.

I'd almost forgotten how pleasant stitcheries can actually be, time consuming, but a nice smooth rhythm. A lot like knitting garter or stocking stitch, while you do need to look more than when you knit, it's pretty thoughtless and the needle slips through so easily.
The batik backing has been washed but isn't photographed, that's coming soon.
So I failed miserably with the Procrastinator's Party. In fact I didn't do a single thing, however I must get it done before Halloween since we have some kids coming around for a party. It might even be good to try to get the shelves into the sunroom before this wkd, as I think I can rope my FIL into anchoring them, as long as his wrist will hold up.
One day left until my giveaway.

Morning Drive

I had to go out to Chatty's school to do some paperwork, and took Mischief to their music class, which I've been meaning to do for around 6 months. It falls into the same time block that I try to get to the gym. I thought you might like to see some photos of the drive out. I love driving out here, this is only 5 minutes from my house. The dairy cows are regularly moved from paddocks to the milking barn, some days we've been fortunate enough to be there at the same time, it's bizarre to see the road thick with cows, brushing past your car as they go.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Inside my Old books

Some excerpts from the old books I picked up. Please feel free to click on the photos to make them larger. Most have some illuminating insights into our living history, I'm really enjoying looking through them.

Here's a bit about Brandy being helpful in a case, as well as digitalis.

I love this book plate! This little glimpse into the past fills my imagination.

With colour plates, what a luxury!

This book is hilarious. There are excerpts in it dating back to the 1800's.

Be sure to enlarge this page if you're looking for a recipe for liver sausage sandwiches!

A guide to keeping a happy & clean home.

How to make "a pretty nightgown", pattern included on the following pages.

Space Travel info pre moon landing...

A guide to making some things for your home.

Information on how to dress, and appropriate careers as well as budgetting are included.

While these might not be the glossy Bestsellers that are available, I think I will have much more pleasure in these, and the memory of them will last longer. I can't wait for next years Book Fair!

My Books from the Book Fair

Paperbacks, I had two Patricia Cromley's as well, but had to put them back!

Some classics which I don't recall reading

Some lovely old ones with some great history.

More fabulous books with character.

I have more photos of the old ones to show you in my next post.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lucky Me!

I just won this awesome Christmas Jelly Roll over at the Mad Quilting Librarian!! I am so excited!

Funny thing is that I just started cutting some fabric last night to make a simple top for Margaret's HopeChest which is what Meg was promoting.

I'm off to the quilt shop today to get some plain white & some lime green.

On a side note, Mischief is starting to grow up, saying the odd word (or what sounds like certain words) apple - comes out exactly how it's written, DH says he sounds French when he says it. dirty, and a few others, he was having a blast last night at dinner playing with his tongue to make exaggerated "L" sounds. He now lets us know when he want's his diaper/nappy changed, and his understanding of what we say seems to be leaping forward.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Batik Backing Fabric Update 1

Here is a few photos of the Batik Backing prior to washing, post unpicking from the red & aqua table runner, as promised.

Girl's Night In with Andrea

My prizes from the Girl's Night In on Friday.

These are the sweet little cards we made for the stamp a stack. Don’t you love the sparkly edge on the pink ribbon? There was a yellow daffodil set too, which I only briefly looked at, I was too dazzled by the sparkles!

There was yummy food, I didn't try everything by any means. There were these beautifully presented little cupcakes, with white icing and a single raspberry sitting right in the middle. raspberries are a total weak spot for me. You don't want to know how much 1/4 punnet of them costs here. Let's just say that it would be a good investment. Oh they were scrumptious. There were more raspberries inside and white chocolate chips too.... swoon

The games were fun ones, even for me and I'm not much of a party games person. Missed out on dead or alive though with Faye Dunaway, I confused her with Farrah Fawcett, but to be honest I was astonished that I lasted as long as I did, I was winging it until then, I don't follow the celbs much either!

Life line Book Fair Treasures - Kids Books

We had a very successful trip to the book fair, I was itching to go back, I missed out a few scetions, only so long the kids will tolerate being dragged around to look at old books.

Here are the kids ones I picked out, a couple educational ones, the Go Lightly book is all about teaching kids how to be creative thinkers and writers, specifically in poetry. The stories of Ballet is more for me atm. I'm looking forward to reading through it, I've never really known the whole story behind Swan Lake etc. The illustrations in a few of them are stunning.

Inside "It's Raining Cats and Dogs."

Inside "Milton, my Father's Dog"

Inside "Those Wicked Rats Again"

Inside "The Trouble with Trolls"

These are the books Chatty chose. He chose a few other cartoony/disney ones and I kept saying no, please find something unsual with lovely pictures, he came up with "Ollie's Folly" which has some fun illustrations and a quirky story. I desperately wanted to say no to the Treasure Island book, but the kid is big into pirates atm, so I said maybe and then gave him a bag to carry it in.

Later while I was perusing the Classics section, an older gentlemen and his wife started talking to Chatty across the table and asking him questions about what books he had found and what he was getting. Chatty of course told the gentleman about the pirate book and struggled to get it out of the bag which he had since slung crossways over his chest. The gentleman gave Chatty the $2 he needed to buy the book! When we said thank-you he said, he said just liked to see kids smile. Wasn't that lovely!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A little bit of everything

Lots of things on today.

Started out by going to the Lifeline Big Book Fair. Picked up some great old books for a song and some beautifully illustrated childrens books as well.

After that I signed myself up for Aunt Pitty Pat's Christmas Block Exchange. I chose to do Christmas Trees, just waiting to hear if wild colours and embellished stuff will fit in, or if I need to tone it down a little. I have this vision of a portion of the tree, in lime green, with hot pink ornaments, two or three of the tips of the star and a rick rack garland, a bit more Australian I 'd say!! If it doesn't suit that's no problem, now that I have the vision I might do my own with that in mind.

We've discovered a number of these sweet little birds called Silvereyes in our yard too late recently, I'm pretty sure they've been hitting the wall of glass. I found another one today, but got lucky, once I'd gotten a shoe box & blanket he'd flown off. They flit around and are a delight to watch, so it's been quite disappointing to lose so many, and to feel so directly responsible for it.

I have my shoebox ready now in case there are more, and will be checking the yard a bit more frequently too.

Lastly, I had a very fun night out at A Girls Night In, making some really pretty cards and playing some fun games. Saw some old faces and met a couple of new ones. Got lucky, won four prizes, one because I read fairly quickly, two by auction and one from a coin toss, so now I have lots of paper, some extra embellishments a store of old stamps and only a few stamp pads, guess what I need to stock up on!

I will have some more photos tomorrow of the cards, prizes, books and the batik backing before washing.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

How Much Fabric do I need?

Do you ever get stuck at the fabric store trying to figure out how much fabric you need for that garment you're making, and you've left the pattern at home?

Kathleen is giving away a set of these uber cool purse reference cards to one lucky person. Are you that lucky person? Go on Click.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Batik Backing Fabric

So, I went down to the LQS today to talk to them about the batik backing on the Summer Fish Quilt the owner had a few ideas.
1. the salts used in the batik dying process cause the fabric to be very stiff, so prewashing (with vinegar to prevent colour bleeds) might help soften it.
2. Use a lighter weight thread in the bobbin, so that the machine doesn't struggle so much to maintain tension.
3. the ripping should "close" over once the quilt has been washed.
4. Use the thinnest sharpest needle possible. I was already using a #11 Blue tip, however when we looked a bit closer at it next to a #11 Top Stitch Needle, the Top Stitch actually looks a touch thinner, so she is going to research into what the actual difference between the needles is, because while she knew what they were for etc, she didn't know how they work, if that makes sense.

So my plan of attack is this:
Use the backing currently on the table runner as my sample piece.
First up is to remove the stitching currently there.
Wash the backing only throughly - will the stiffness decrease & the holes close over?
Then try the lighter weight thread on the bobbin, which she sent me home with free of charge until I figure out if it helps. If that doesn't work, fiddle with the tension on the needle (not bobbin.)

Looking at the quilt, it's only the fish & bubbles that are really bad, if the ripping can be improved by washing that is. Granted the tension isn't going to change, but if the ripping & the horrible fish and bubbles aren't there I think I could live with it. So I will rip them out and get a new quilter to do them.

I also got the name of a new quilter who was well recommended by the girls at the shop who does custom work as opposed to just continuous line. I was told that many quilters simply aren't accepting any new work atm because of the push for Christmas, I'm at the point that I want it done right, not right now, so hopefully this works out!!

One of the ladies also gave me some quilting ideas for the red & aqua table runner that should create an interesting pattern, without scaring me off of machine quilting!

Nothing concrete yet but lots of good information! Wish me Luck!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Summer Fish

Summer Fish, from the Strip Staccato Pattern in Judy Hopkins Triangle-Free Quilts.

I had planned to enter this into the local fair, with hopes (yes hope, not faith) that it might actually move on to the state fair. I spent a lot of time on it, egtting everything squared up perfectly, ran out of fabric at one point, so had to incorporate a new print. Spent more time picking out just the right design for quilting and thread colour from the quilters abundance of neutrals and faint colours. The quilter who I've used before with great success, had it for 4 months.

Putting the binding on.

My first label.

This how it came back :( the circles / bubbles are all misshapen, the fish (which I drew from memory to be like the pepperidge farm goldfish crackers) are also mishaped, lopsided etc. A friend of mine (the boys godmother) who has been quilting for a couple of decades determined that the needle must have been dull. The tension is completely off, the needle as actually torn the backing fabric. The backstitching which my friend deemed completely unneccesary has been placed in the worst spots (on the bright white fabric instead of one of the darker ones.)

She and the other ladies at the quilting group I was at were all saying that I should really take it back to er point out the horrible things and basically see if she at the very least had the decency to refund my money.

How would you say this without being completely rude?

I discovered last night while trying to machine quilt the red & aqua table runner that the fabric really is horrible. The tension problems and ripping occured on my machine as well, even with a brand new needle. So now I'm really left with a quandry. The shaping & backstitching are definitely problems with the quilter, but the fabric is directly at fault for the tension & ripping.

Would you rip the whole thing apart & request a replacement backing & refund on quilting?