Sunday, April 29, 2012

Road Trip: Houston, TX

or otherwise titled as "Houston We DON'T Have a Problem"...every three months I've been traveling to MD Anderson to have an MRI of my head and neck and then a chest x-ray to see if my ACC has returned.  This trip, I was feeling better than ever...a year post radiation.  So, I was fairly confident that we would get good news yet again.  But, I have to tell you, it's bad enough finding out once that you have cancer...going every three months with the possibility of hearing that again is some kind of cruel and unusual punishment.  Fortunately, this time it was good news as every visit past.  In fact, I've been moved to 4 months for check ups...whew.

[caption id="attachment_737" align="alignnone" width="251" caption="The obligatory stop at the Babe Zaharias Museum in Beaumont, TX off I-10"][/caption]

We love Houston tho, it became a second home to me the six weeks I went through radiation and now we can almost drive around effortlessly like its our own town.  This trip we tried a couple new restaurants.  We decided we wanted some real Texas BBQ (something I haven't been able to enjoy on past trips because it was too spicy in my post radiation mouth)...but now...its ON!  We tried Rudy's  and ordered the lean beef brisket and creamed corn...totally sinfully and yummy.  Everyone else was full but I polished it off with a piece of buttermilk pie.  I also, found in the gift shop canned cinnamon honey butter; which I passed on and now I dream of.  I'm currently researching how to make my own as if it's my life's mission...I will let you know how it goes.

The next day we found ourselves at Kubo's while we waited for my results.  C got a noodle bowl and didn't seem impressed (maybe she was still full of BBQ) but I ordered a crunchy eel roll and tiger eye roll...amazing!

This definitely was a foodie dream trip as we also popped into Pensey's spice store too.  I found Pensey's originally in the last two weeks of my radiation.  When you receive radiation to the head, particularly to the mouth you lose your sense of taste (sometimes forever).   I had lost mine for a few weeks already and it was strange and sad...but I could smell which is like 80% of taste!  I walked into Pensey's and felt like I could experience flavor again.  I bought a few things that have become my favorites now that I can indeed taste them...

  • Chicago Steak Seasoning

  • Northwoods Fire

  • Bouquet Garni

  • Florida Seasoning (we picked this one on this last's great!)

And here is a parting shot...can anyone tell me what this building is?  It's actually a series of three or four - this was the best shot I could get from I-45N.  I've passed it a ton of times and always admired the lattice work made to look like tatted linens.  This one is my favorite; the others were pretty too.  Anyway, maybe when we are not so hurried to make it to an appointment or a MEAL...I'll stop and get a closer look.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Lucky Ducks and Wise Owls...

Finally, I'm having a stretch of good luck!  A couple weeks ago I happily won the new Rachel Maddow book Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power
...signed!  The contest was sponsored by Maddowfans; myself and another lucky duck were chosen by creating a funny subtitle for the book.  I wrote Drift: How Dick Cheney Got His Groove Back.  So, add clever book subtitle maker to my list of things I can do!

After I found out I called C at work and she asked if they were going to use it on the book.
"No, it's published already."

"Well, she sure would sell a lot more with that subtitle."

"um...It's number one on the New York Times' Best Seller list...I think she's doing ok."

Later I called my mom AND she was appropriately excited for me!  (Though, I suspect she wants to borrow it...hmm.)

Anyway, it's been a couple weeks and I think the whole Maddow book experience has inspired my new project quite accidentally.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="350" caption="Owl Drink to That"][/caption]

It's a patriotic owl bar mop towel!  I've been kicking the idea awhile of "Owl Drink to That" but just in the last week I decided to silk-screen it and top stitch it to a bar mop (which is a beotch by the way).  I pulled the red and blue fabric from the bottom of my fabric stash...not my typical color scheme.  Once I pulled it together I was like, hey, Maddow is a mixologist, political wonk, and all around wise owl!  Yay, it's cool when you use your noggin!  (btw, someone almost immediately pinned it on Pinterest on a board called "to do"...thanks.  good luck with that.)

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Greetings From My Nest

Today brought the promise of so much more!  Blackberries to pick, caterpillars to butterflies, flowers to fruit!  Today also made it officially a year since my last radiation treatment in Houston.  Whew, what a difference a year makes...a year ago I was so tired, burnt, and I couldn't taste anything; today I was picking blackberries in my yard and could taste every drop of sunshine!  Happy Easter!

  • Next year I have to try natural dyed eggs; It seemed all everyone was talking about...anyone actually do it?

  • This year I've got to do something with ALL these blackberries...I think this will help.

  • Which brings me to the point that its really time I learned how to can...this book was recommended.

  • This is random but I really need a case for my hooks and needles...think I'm going to try this pattern.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Glitter Cross-Stitch Manifesto

This is my newest cross stitch pattern!  It was inspired by an episode of the TV show New Girl, where the lead, Jess (or Zooey Deschanel's character), unleashes a tirade defending her inner creative spirit using this phrase.  I instantly thought this needed to be cross stitched; not just because I am a fan of the show, but it resonated with me (especially during the Christmas holidays) as I often find myself covered in glitter same as most crafty girls I know!  Seriously, I've been mistaken for wearing body glitter to the just a craft project and even this past Christmas I had the unfortunate experience of being glitter bombed by my cat as she so awesomely skidded across the table, sending a whole bowl of glitter airborne...landing on me.

And I'm not sure if anyone else thinks about embroidery thread obsessively as moi, but I have been searching for a way to use DMC's light effects embroidery floss.  A light bulb went off in my head when I heard that phrase and a new pattern was born!  The project turned out beautifully; somehow tho, as many pics as I've taken of this, I can't seem to capture how absolutely sparkly the wording is with light effects.  It truly is magical!

If you would like to stitch your own; I would be so honored...please click here.

It's fairly quick to finish up; I give you a complete supply list, color chart, and some tips with working with DMC Light Effects.  Plus, once purchased, I am available to you through e-mail as long as it takes you to complete the project.  A lot of patterns online (I've noticed) are not stitched out by the designer...I find that odd.  I design it, stitch it, and in many cases - redesign it!  I just feel that even though it takes longer to get my pattern to market, I know you are getting a better product that will stitch easier and look amazing.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Sky Scarf: February & March

I have been knitting a scarf since the first of January, selecting the colors based on what I see in the sky each day.  This is a conceptual knitting project from Leafcutter Designs which I blogged about earlier here and here.  My first thoughts on this project were, "what a great way to record the year" and a second thought was it would be easy.  Not technically; it is if you know basic knitting, but easy in the sense that its just 2 rows a day...I couldn't be that busy.  Boy was I wrong.  Somewhere in February I fell way three weeks.  I had meticulously kept a record of what colors to use per day but a three day knitathon to catch up on three weeks worth of days sort of ruined the fun of the project.  In early January, I would sit each night and reflect on the day as I knitted.  Well, mid-February March as I caught up, I was reflecting on more what a procrastinator I am AND that I take on too many projects at once.  So, I'm caught up and I'm seriously trying to not go past three days (I've already failed...but I'm continuing on!)

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="350" caption="February 2012"][/caption]

Some questions I have received are how wide did I make my's 30 stitches.  Somewhere in February I picked up an extra but I don't even care.  I'm using Caron Simply Soft and quickly running out of the light blue and white as lucky's been mostly blue skies.  The twist up the side of the scarf was difficult for me to "get"; I'm not a very experienced knitter and this is my first time with multiple yarn.  Eventually I just got "it" but the early days just look a mess.  I'm so glad I'm making this just for me!

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="350" caption="March 2012"][/caption]

If I were to do this again...and that is a big IF.  I think I would add embroidery floss to make this more like a calendar.  I remember knitting through significant days like my birthday or even holidays like Mardi Gras and thought it would be fun to add a bit of color in those rows to pick out those days faster.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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