Saturday, April 13, 2013

Another Update to the Bucket List

Well today was another chance to cross off another item on my Bucket List: going to the Metro Richmond (VA) Zoo. Nicole the Knitter and I went there today. Pictures are below. :)
  • I will get a job at some kind of animal shelter, and I'm going to be damn good at whatever I end up doing there. 
  • I will get at least one old, beat up piece of wood furniture, save it from going to the landfill, and refinish it. Holy crap, I'm actually doing this one right now!!! 
  • I'd like to go on an LCAC ride with my husband before he transfers to his new command. I had to cross this one off finally, because Shane left this command already. This bummed me out. I never got a ride on an LCAC out on the bay. Some of his family members did, and even though I offered to take any number of half days off from work, I never got to ride. 
  • I will go to see the Booth Trail in 2013. 
  • I will go to Natural Bridge, VA and the Shenandoah Valley and stay in a cabin in the woodsin 2013. 
  • I will go to Hiddenite Gems, an emerald mine open to the public, in NC in 2013. 
  • I will go to the Richmond Zoo and the Virginia Zoo (they have done a lot of remodeling and I haven't been there for a several years). 
  • I will go to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. in 2013. 
  • I want to go to Tokyo some day. I would like to go to Hiroshima as well, but I've heard that Americans are unofficially unwelcomed there, and I don't blame the Japanese people if that's true. 
  • I want to see the pyramids and sphinx in Egypt. 
  • I'd love to see the Mona Lisa (she's in the Louvre in Paris) and The Scream (there are a couple, two of them are in Munich). 
  • I want to go to London, and maybe look for the TARDIS and the Doctor. 
  • I want to go to San Diego to see my best friend, go to Comic Con, wear a costume, take lots of photos, find an awesome looking Spider-Man so I can give him a hug for just being Spidey, and then walk a beach on the Pacific Ocean, looking for shells. 
  • I'd like to go to a taping of "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" if we ever go to California. 
  • I want to have at least one great, wildly creative crochet pattern published in a real book somewhere. 
  • I'd like to have our yard be featured for our Halloween decorations with a local tv station, so people might understand you don't have to spend big bucks on decorations and still put together a great display (I say this because we don't go as crazy for Christmas decorations). 
  • I'd like to win a challenge on Craftster. 
  • I'd like to compete on Craft Wars on TLC. I had to cross this one off too, because I'm pretty sure it's no longer on the air. I can't find any updated information on it. 
  • I will finish the Jedi costume finally and I will join the Rebel Legion in 2013. 
  • I will finish the doll house I started several years ago. 
  • I want to go to Ohio and see Ralphie Harper's house from The Christmas Story. 
  • I want to see Weird Al Yankovic in concert, and maybe even the Bangles if I ever get to California. 
  • I want to see the Barenaked Ladies again, the next time they come to Hampton Roads. 
  • I want to take my friends to the Virginia Safari drive through park in Stanton, VA. I'm planning on doing this in June with Michelle the Cook and her mother, and maybe Nicole the Knitter.
The Metro Richmond Zoo is actually in Moseley, VA, just southwest of Richmond. There are more than 1,400 animals representing more than 150 species from around the world. They even have a place where you can pet and feed giraffes. Nicole and I each got to feed and touch the giraffes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ahem...I am back to being an adult again. But seriously, afterwards, we linked arms and skipped down the sidewalk, yelling, "We got to feed the giraffes!!!!'




This bear reminded me of Cujo, because of the way it looked when it woke up from a nap: nose up in the air, sniffing.


Pregnant zebra. She was very interested in Nicole and I for some reason. She had such a pretty, expressive face.






GIRAFFES!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I GOT TO FEED A GIRAFFE!!!!!!!!







It looked like the turkey was in line at the concessions stand.


This was on a vehicle in the parking lot when we got to the zoo. 






We did realize there were an awful lot of very pregnant women there at the zoo. It made us wonder if there's just nothing else to do in Richmond!

We also stopped for lunch at The Crazy Greek (I had stuffed grape leaves for the first time and really liked them) and hit three different antique stores on 460 on the way home. I felt like the guys from Antique Archeology ("American Pickers" on the History channel) were going to show up at any minute.











It was a good day today. It was like having a one day vacation to cram everything into, and by god, we got it done! It was something that I really needed, and Nicole had a good time too. Things have been so stressing lately in my life and this was a great (and much needed) distraction.

In two weeks, we are going to go over to the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk to see how it's been changed since it's last major update.

Today's Geek Craft Posts

I've got a real post coming later on tonight, with photos of my trip to the Richmond Zoo, but here's my Geek Crafts entries for today.



Thursday, April 11, 2013

Checking Off the Bucket List

In December, I started working on making my bucket list. Here is an updated version of it.
  • I will get a job at some kind of animal shelter, and I'm going to be damn good at whatever I end up doing there.
  • I will get at least one old, beat up piece of wood furniture, save it from going to the landfill, and refinish it. Holy crap, I'm actually doing this one right now!!! See below for photos.
  • I'd like to go on an LCAC ride with my husband before he transfers to his new command. I had to cross this one off finally, because Shane left this command already. This bummed me out. I never got a ride on an LCAC out on the bay. Some of his family members did, and even though I offered to take any number of half days off from work, I never got to ride.
  • I will go to see the Booth Trail in 2013.
  • I will go to Natural Bridge, VA and the Shenandoah Valley and stay in a cabin in the woods in 2013.
  • I will go to Hiddenite Gems, an emerald mine open to the public, in NC in 2013.
  • I will go to the Richmond Zoo and the Virginia Zoo (they have done a lot of remodeling and I haven't been there for a several years). I am actually planning on going to the Richmond Zoo this coming Saturday the 13th with Nicole the Knitter, and to the Virginia Zoo on May 4.
  • I will go to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. in 2013.
  • I want to go to Tokyo some day. I would like to go to Hiroshima as well, but I've heard that Americans are unofficially unwelcomed there, and I don't blame the Japanese people if that's true.
  • I want to see the pyramids and sphinx in Egypt.
  • I'd love to see the Mona Lisa (she's in the Louvre in Paris) and The Scream (there are a couple, two of them are in Munich).
  • I want to go to London, and maybe look for the TARDIS and the Doctor.
  • I want to go to San Diego to see my best friend, go to Comic Con, wear a costume, take lots of photos, find an awesome looking Spider-Man so I can give him a hug for just being Spidey, and then walk a beach on the Pacific Ocean, looking for shells.
  • I'd like to go to a taping of "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" if we ever go to California.
  • I want to have at least one great, wildly creative crochet pattern published in a real book somewhere.
  • I'd like to have our yard be featured for our Halloween decorations with a local tv station, so people might understand you don't have to spend big bucks on decorations and still put together a great display (I say this because we don't go as crazy for Christmas decorations).
  • I'd like to win a challenge on Craftster.
  • I'd like to compete on Craft Wars on TLC. I had to cross this one off too, because I'm pretty sure it's no longer on the air. I can't find any updated information on it.
  • I will finish the Jedi costume finally and I will join the Rebel Legion in 2013.
  • I will finish the doll house I started several years ago.
  • I want to go to Ohio and see Ralphie Harper's house from The Christmas Story.
  • I want to see Weird Al Yankovic in concert, and maybe even the Bangles if I ever get to California.
  • I want to see the Barenaked Ladies again, the next time they come to Hampton Roads.
  • I want to take my friends to the Virginia Safari drive through park in Stanton, VA. I'm planning on doing this in June with Michelle the Cook and her mother, and maybe Nicole the Knitter.
This is the story of the bench I'm working on from my bucket list.

Nicole the Knitter said she was driving with her supervisor one day, going from one Navy Exchange Store to another. For whatever residential neighborhood they were in, it must have been the day before garbage day. Supervisor saw this bench on the curb and wanted to rescue it. It would be a good project to restore.

Supervisor and Nicole lugged it into the backseat of her car, but she didn't have room to take it home (they lug a lot of demos and display stuff with them in their own vehicles), so asked Nicole if she could store it at her house for the time being. Nicole said sure. That's where I first saw it: in all it's chewed wooden leg and gross looking velvet glory. But I liked it. I thought it had good bones and great potential, and mentioned that to Nicole.

A couple weeks went by. Supervisor found out she had been approved for a job she applied for in Hawaii and was going to have to move. She started giving away her furniture. She told Nicole to keep the bench. Nicole told her I liked it and she didn't want it, so could I have it? Supervisor said yes. So on Christmas at Nicole and Michelle's house, Shane and I lugged into the back of his truck and brought it home.

Once at our house, Shane and I lugged it into our laundry room (this thing is deceptively heavy), and that's where it sat until last night. When I got home from work, I lugged it into the garage to start tearing this bitch apart. The weather is too nice to not take advantage of.


The back view. Those fabric panels on the back were done the same way as on the front, but with less padding. The batting was taped (!) on, the panels tacked into place with tiny nails, then the fabric was nailed on, and then the trim and upholstery tacks were put on.
Close up of the tacks on the back. I was hoping to reuse some of the tacks but they were coming out bent.

This is how it sits as of this morning. I never knew there were springs in this thing! It felt like old cushions, because the ends was where the springs sagged. There was three kinds of batting, some old straw looking stuff and then this burlap on the springs.




Wednesday, April 10, 2013

She's Down, But She's Not Out

My mom realized about two weeks ago that her liver cancer came back again, because of how her side felt again. If you don't already know, she started with uterine cancer, which spread to both lungs, then her stomach, and now her liver. She's living with four different cancers that have slowly spread over the course of about 14 years.

So her realization came right before a scheduled doctor's appointment anyway, where it was confirmed that yes, her liver cancer came back. The positive thing about my mom being so in tune with her own body is that it was diagnosed early. It's actually less now that it was the first time it was caught. The other three forms of cancer are kind of dormant right now and not causing any problems. The liver cancer is the main concern. It's also what my grandma (her own mom) had as well.

When Mom got liver cancer the first time, we were told by her doctor that if the chemo didn't work, then that's all there could be done. There was no other option. On Halloween of 2012, she was told her liver cancer was gone but that it would return. Cancer cells thrive in her body for some reason.

The bad thing is that surgery isn't an option, because of where her cancer is, close in spots around her gall bladder and stomach, and apparently clustered around a major artery. If nicked during surgery, she could bleed to death. Right now, the doctor doesn't want to talk surgery.

So we had been waiting for a couple of days for the specialist to get in touch with Mom's doctor. Mom called me at work yesterday. I wasn't sure if it was going to be good news or bad news, so I took the call away from my main coworkers.

Her doctor had told her it was time to bring in another specialist to see what he advised. Apparently, that bit about if the chemo didn't work, well, that's not the final answer yet. She'll soon be started chemo for the fourth time, with a little something extra added into it to make it even stronger than before.

Hit it, and hit it HARD is the warpath she's on again.

How bizarre is it that chemo is still an option, and the fact that she's willing to go through it again (to get a few more years of being a grandma to my sister's daughter) brought tears to my eyes. It was a relief to know that someone who doesn't know her (the specialist) is still willing to go to bat for her, to say she has worth as a cancer patient, that now is not the end.

I work in hospice. I can be detached from our patients when they pass. It doesn't hurt me. I can handle it. However, I don't have that same coolness and detached-ness when it comes to my own mom. Even though her illness, at times, has made her say things to me that cut straight into my heart, things that I don't think she would have said otherwise. At least, I hope she's not saying that stuff to me on purpose.

Maybe now, my stomach can finally stop hurting so much. My has gut ached with such a deep, deep pain that at times I thought about going to the ER. But I know (think?) it's just stress, brought about by this round of the on-going cancer scare. It flares up, seriously, with every conversation, and ebbs and flows with my sleep when my brain would mercifully shut down for the night. But before sleep, riddled with anxiety, my midsection feels so tight that I never want to eat again, like maybe something is going to rupture, and my entire body rattles and shakes.

I've realized that this blog is not the same as it was when I started it. It started as a way for me to write about news and animal stories, to get writing again. Then, it became an arts and crafts blog, then I added pop culture stuff and everyday randomness to it. Today, it's still all that, but it's also my diary. I can pour out my feelings here, for the most part, and at least get some of the weight off my shoulders.

I can't bring myself to unload the worry and hurt about what I'm going through as the daughter of a cancer patient, onto my husband. It doesn't seem fair, as we don't have his mother anymore. It seems insensitive, kind of like a case of "first world problems."

It would be nice if my own sister would talk to me more, something beyond text messages. She doesn't have time for me, I guess, and she really stopped having time for me halfway through her pregnancy. That's when she stopped answering her phone and emails, at least for me anyway. As far as I know and from what my mom has told me, there's nothing wrong between my sister and I, but when I can't get her to tell me herself, I have to wonder. During the second round of all this stuff, years back, I got blamed by my sister for just about every bad thing she was going through, and she threatened to cut me out of her life.

I mean, how many times can I tell someone, call me if you need me, tell me if you need me to come home, fucking TALK to me, just say anything, tell me what's going on? I shouldn't have to beg for information on my mom's condition, from anyone, just to be told one story and find out something else months or years later. For whatever reason, my mom told me that the chemo she did several years ago got rid of her stomach cancer. I found out last year that she still has it. That's when I also found out about the liver cancer. So that was a great little kick in the stomach.

I don't believe in God. I stopped believing once my grandma died. I don't think my faith is going to come back, when the subject of the faith should be a being that's allowed my grandma to die as her cancer spread, and my mom is the same age as Grandma when she passed, but she's got four types of cancer, 20+ years later.

What Blew My Mind Today

Stranded in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, a man sets in motion an unlikely plan to protect the precious cargo he carries: his infant daughter.

CARGO - Tropfest Australia 2013 Finalist 

(TSI "Balloon")



Alligator: It's The Other White Meat

Last payday, I ordered a bunch of meat from the Country Butcher Shop & Deli in Virginia Beach. There was quite a bit of it and it was priced really well, compared to the grocery store. I ordered it online and Shane picked it up for us. One of the things I ordered was alligator. They had 1 pound packages for $19.95. A little pricey, I know, but I wanted to try it.

It looks a lot like chicken, but not completely. It was good. The recipe I used was Patty's Fried Gator Bites.
  • 2 lbs. Farm raised alligator (I only had one pound.)
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal (I cheated and used a box of Jiffy corn bread mix.)
  • Cooking oil
  • Everglades Seasoning
Cut alligator into small finger-size pieces. Heat oil to 375 degrees. Combine flour and meal in bag. Shake gator in mixture. Deep fry for 3-5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Season with Everglades Season. Yum!

This was really good! It's not something I'll buy on a regular basis because of the cost, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. Again, it tastes something like chicken, but not completely.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Latest Entries on Geek Crafts

I swear, I am working on things here other than Geek Craft entries. But the stuff like the handmade blankets for the hospice patients don't get shared here because those are work projects. So until the Star Trek swap has ended, here's what I have done lately.