Patchwork Girl's Rambling Warps
Friday, August 14, 2015
      ( 8:03 AM ) Jessica  
One good, but scary change... as of later this month, my youngest son will be attending public school for the first time in his life after homeschooling/unschooling all his life... high school...both of us made the choice.
This is almost worst than my oldest 3 starting kindergarten... it's a good change... (say over and over in my head...)
Clothes shopping as soon as we get down to Denton!
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      ( 7:26 AM ) Jessica  
First, I will start by saying that I don't love my crock pot... it's big and clunky and a pain in the patootie to clean... it's not that hard if it is soaked, but... ehh... it's useful, makes good food, saves oven space, and it does not heat up the house in the summertime.
The writing of this recipe is a work in progress. I plan to take some pictures next time I make a meatloaf. Maybe later this week!
What I like to do is to put the meatloaf onto a bed of potatoes (sweet or/and white) or other chunky veggies that take a little time to cook... turnips, rutabaga, winter squashes, etc... post a comment down below with some other ideas.  The reason behind putting the meatloaf on top of the vegetables is to keep the meatloaf from getting super soggy and falling apart while giving the vegetables juices to cook in. My recipe is NOT a low fat recipe: I recommend using ground beef or ground chuck, nothing leaner than 80% beef and 20% fat because we NEED those juices to drip down and flavor and cook those vegetables!
You could try using a leaner meat and using some broth, maybe 1 or 2 cups?If you use broth, leave a note in the comments below letting me know how much you used and KUDOS to you if you use a nutritious home-made, long-cooked bone broth!
This is not an *exact amount* recipe. I'm inspired by The Frugal Gourmet who liked to estimate amounts. I remember him saying in a Cali-girl tone: "didn't she have a grandmotherrrrrr??" when someone was obsessed with needing the exact amounts. I may list amounts, but they are all "to taste"/As You Wish!
It can be made gluten free if you use almond or rice flour or gluten free bread crumbs.
The super-condensed version is: layer some long cooking vegetables along the bottom and sides, put in your meatloaf, put a little sauce on top. If you're using lean meat, put some broth on the bottom... cover and cook on high or low for a few hours until vegetables and meat are done. Serve and enjoy.
Ingredients:
Long cooking vegetables such as potatoes (sweet & white), rutabaga, carrots (sliced thickly), turnips, parsnips, winter squash, etc. .. you'll need enough to line the bottom and about 2" along the sides of your crock pot. I used an equivalent of 6 medium to large potatoes in a 7 quart crock pot.
Slice these babies 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
1 chopped onion
2 or 3 cloves garlic chopped
Your favorite meatloaf recipe OR for a 7 quart crock pot, I use:
3 lbs ground meat. I usually use 2 pounds of ground beef and 1 pound of sausage.
3 eggs (1 egg per pound of meat).
Enough bread crumbs/croutons/almond flour to hold the meat together yet, so that the meat is still moist, maybe a cup?
1 small can of tomato paste or equivalent amount of ketchup or                                   1 or 2 tablespoons of soy sauce or steak sauce or bbq sauce
Seasonings such as salt & pepper, onion, garlic, creole seasoning, Cajun seasoning, etc.
Methodology:
1: spray the bottom of the crock pot with cooking oil spray or coat with oil of your choice; olive oil is nice.
2: line the long cooking vegetables along the bottom and sides of the crock pot.  Make sure the bottom is covered. If you have some thin slices, you can use more than one slice on the bottom...
3: mix  the meat(s), eggs, chopped onions and garlic, seasonings, salt/pepper, ketchup, bbq sauce, steak sauce, soy sauce .  You don't need to use all these sauces, pick 2... or use all if you like! Be sure to set aside enough of one of the thicker sauces for the top... mix well.. I use my hands... and transfer loving thoughts into the mixture.
Note: you can do this step before you do step 2 so the meat mixture is ready to be plopped into the crock pot.
4. Form your loaf so that it will fit on top of the vegetables without touching the sides of the crock pot.
5. Slather sauce on top of the loaf.
6. Cover and set to low or high... mine usually cooks in 3 or 4 hours, check and see if the vegetables are soft enough. I wouldn't go much more than 6 hours.
7. Serve & enjoy. In my house, 3 pounds of meat in a meatloaf will feed about 8 or 9 people... I live with hungry bears... slim ones! Except me: I'm the fluffy one!
Now where did I put that spell checker.....?? Ah. Found it. It insists that crockpot needs to be 2 words... Google goes both ways!
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Thursday, May 28, 2015
      ( 10:49 PM ) Jessica  
I figured that a 9 month update would be a good idea!

Although things have mostly leveled out, I'm still noticing interesting changes in my hearing... it used to be that I could only follow one to one conversations or ones I'm a part of... I can now understand a fair bit of what other people are talking about if I'm not in the conversation.. for instance, if my sons are talking to each other in the same room or they're talking to their dad... if I'm in a quiet room, I can understand people a few feet away. I still have to lipread, but being able to hear voice patterns is... wonderful!

I wear a somewhat older Phonak hearing aid and it's helping in ways that I can't quite understand. Even though it doesn't SEEM to me like it's helping a lot, if I'm just wearing my CI, things sound different & I miss more... that ear picks up a few things (some somewhat critical, even) that I don't know if my CI ear can pick up... like the weather alerts on my phone... flute, violin and other high pitched sounds... and some very low ones as well... the CI is mainly for speech, but there are environmental sounds that are important.

The other day I heard a bird squawking... a black bird... and I think I'm starting to recognize some others. Need to go for walks with Gary or/and the boys so they can help me learn those sounds since I don't think we ever covered them in speech therapy when I was younger...

This reminds me of when I was in college and for DAYS maybe weeks, I thought I was hearing someone's motorcycle starting up outside each morning... one day I realized it was taking an awful long time, whatever it was... so I looked out the window... and then I realized it was my boyfriend's cat purring! That was sweet! I can now hear most of our cats when they meow and purr... I guess those sounds fall within the speech banana!

Earlier this evening, when I was in the kitchen, I wasn't sure what all I was hearing..and then I heard the very LOUD sound of our cat Cheddar hollering... I didn't see him... he was pretty close, though! I called Reuven to ask what I might have heard & he picked Cheddar up & showed up to me.
He's a character...

We've been having a megaton of rain lately.. some areas are getting hit badly by floods & high winds... hopefully it'll calm down some soon.

We were in Austin for Memorial day weekend to meet one of Gary's classmates who flew in from Israel to see her family...there was flooding there... on Monday when we went for lunch, we had to keep backing out of streets that were flooding to get around the area where Shoal Creek & Guadalope is to get back to our hotel... that was... interesting!

Tomorrow, my son Evan is graduating from High School & they moved the ceremony into the gym because of the rain/weather forecast... we're expecting more tomorrow. It was supposed to be held in the football field...
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Sunday, May 03, 2015
      ( 11:18 PM ) Jessica  
We have a new dog... she was in the animal shelter, she had been there for about 2 months, came with a littler of puppies... Buttercup (we just named her today) was hanging around Sonic, a drive through restaurant, and Evan (he works there) and a co-worker took her to the animal shelter because they were afraid she was going to get hurt in traffic. They found her puppies and brought her & the pups to the shelter where they stayed... they named her Ingrid there, but we didn't want to keep that name... we went through a couple & then Gary turned around and asked "didn't we have a dog named Daisy?" and I said "yep... oh I know, we can call her Buttercup!" She's a yellow dog, so that works. She doesn't look dainty, but what the hey! She looks like a shepherd, maybe wolf, maybe pitt, who knows what else... no pix yet except for the shelter pics and they don't capture her prettiness...

I hope she gets along with our other dogs.. we're keeping them separate for now to let her settle in... she looks confused...and was growling at them... she hasn't met Indy yet (the giant puppy on my lap)... I'm not sure if she was ever a pet, but she's friendly with people. She had puppies a few months ago (i think they all found homes or are at a no-kill rescue)... is spayed now...she's ignoring the cats & I hope she'll be okay with them. Liberty (our oldest cat) is in my room now to play it safe...

I was able to hear her growl... before I got my cochlear implant, I would have only been able to see it.

This month will be 9 months on the 20th and April 30th was 9 months since the surgery. I've been wearing a hearing aid (a Phonak Naida) which I've had for about 2 months now & it's interesting. It gives me a sense of fuller hearing & there are some things I can hear with the HA that I can't hear with the CI (and vice versa). I no longer really like "one eared" music, I prefer having the CI and HA both at the same time. Both sides seem to send each other messages.

In the beginning of April, Gary, Reuven & I went to Oklahoma so I could attend a tapestry weaving workshop with Archie Brennan & Susan Martin Maffei. It was great! I'll post more about it on my tapestry weaving/art blog.

Tomorrow is the last day of speech therapy/listening therapy at UNT. It's been pretty good & I've made some progress. I sometimes feel like maybe I'm not working hard enough, and need to come up with a regular routine... I call the cochlear telephone practice line several times a week and occasionally play with my Angel Sounds app... and listen to songs & books. I don't know if listening to books is very helpful or not because I can follow the patterns of the words, but I can't understand them without looking.
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Tuesday, February 03, 2015
      ( 4:00 AM ) Jessica  
I've seen this article before and  tried to find it again... someone on one of the CI discussion groups posted it: Cochlear Implant resuts

Basically, it explains the different results people with different hearing histories are likely to experience after activation. I got the beeps that adults post lingually deafened would get... and just the beeps, ma'am...(and crinkling paper & music)...
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Monday, January 26, 2015
      ( 2:22 PM ) Jessica  
We took Jellybean in for his final visit to the vet... she was careful with him and gave him a sedative before giving him his final shot. It calmed him down and eased his breathing (which was labored). He fought the sedative and then calmed down. A few minutes later she give him the final shot & it was over. We buried him perpendicular to Boomerang.

I wrote the details about his illness on the January 24th blog entry.

This weekend, we offered him some special things to eat... some cream, tuna oil, tuna, pureed tuna...

He will be missed.. he was a very special boy-cat and although there are many many special cats, dogs, ferrets, fish, people, horses, goats, sheep, etcetera, etcetera, none will replace our Bean and none will replace any of them either. They're all unique and special...

Seeya on The Rainbow Bridge... Oliver is there, Roo is there... Daphne, Daisy, Opus, Kat, Goldie, Boomerang, Ruthie, Sonic, Emma, Lily Potter (yeah I know, you two didn't really get along, eventually learned to tolerate one another?), Kikki, my first cat, Bandana, Loveslug, and a whole bunch of others...

Crookshanks is still in the room with us... he's hanging out in the bathroom, not sure if he's happy, not sure what to do... if we let him back out, who knows when we'll see him again. Maybe he can get used to being an indoor cat, that would help the sores outside his ears from his ear mites to heal & treat the mites.

I'm going to just lay low for the day, maybe take some laundry to be done later... I'll update on hearing related stuff later this week. Suffice it to say that things are mostly leveling out with an occasional wow moment.


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Sunday, January 25, 2015
      ( 11:03 AM ) Jessica  
Well, yesterday I posted that Crookshanks has been missing for a couple of weeks. He returned this morning. I brought him into our room to see Bean and he's calm and loves to cuddle, so he's still in here!

Took some pictures:



Bleumaus was on my chest, bathing:



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Saturday, January 24, 2015
      ( 6:09 PM ) Jessica  
Bean has been with our family since late November of 2006... he showed up on the corner of our "street".. Evan found him. When I met him, the first thing he did was to butt his forehead up against mine... bonding...brain wave exchange... letting me know that I am one of his people... we fed him, he spent a few days on our porch and then we brought him inside when it was going to be particularly cold. He then proceeded to try to mate with all our cats (all spayed & neutered). We got him neutered shortly after.


The photo of him in the tree was taken about 2 or 3 years ago. It's one of my favorites.

Before we lost our house in the 2009 wildfire, and sometime after he was neutered, he got mixed up with one or more nasty cats in our area and spent a few weeks healing on the top bunk with Evan. We didn't have the money to take him to the vet, but I/we think he was somewhat brain damaged from that fight/those fights. He recovered, but his balance wasn't the greatest.

He was one of the 4 out of 8 cats that survived the fire: Lily Potter, Loveslug, Liberty and Bean.  Loveslug died last year from cancer & Lily Potter (she had an accident a couple of years ago),  Liberty, Bean & Pixel (our almost 7 year old dog) are the only ones left from before the fire. 

The cats we have now are: Bean, Liberty (he'll be 13 this year), Luna (5 this summer), Marshallow, Peppurr (she'll be 2), Bleumaus, Cracker & Cheddar (they'll be 1 in May) and Nocturna, an elderly girl that Evan found at Sonic a few months ago.

Dogs are Pixel (almost 7), Indy (5), and Nutmeg (probably 4: although she was probably full grown when we found her, she still had puppy-chewies)...

Some of the details are mostly notes for myself and the family... unless you're really interested or/and want to make a family pet tree for us, you can ignore those details! Yeah, I know, I could put them someplace private, but I like going back to old blog entries to look up stuff like this.

He was a pretty happy cat overall. He purred a LOT and I told the others (before my CI surgery) that it looked like his meows were loud. They said "barely audible"... his purrs, however, were audible with my hearing aid. Unfortunately, when I first heard his meows (after having the CI for a while), they sounded amplified by his breathing problems.

He loved belly rubs and loved the family & our friends. He loved cleaning the other cats. He also let me use him for weight training. 

Back in November, Micah noticed that Bean was having trouble breathing, so off to the vet we went. She put him on antibiotics and prednisone and then when he was still having problems, she sedated him so she could look inside his throat to see what was going on. It was swollen & inflamed. She also noticed that his breathing relaxed when sedated. More antibiotics and prednisone. Then when that didn't help (and we were having more & more problems getting him to eat enough, and his balance was getting worse, etc..), she sedated him again & took an xray and found a polyp around his ear... in a place which would be very risky to operate on. She sent us to a specialist who said he couldn't help him (prognosis would be poor if surgery to remove the polyp was performed & he would still have nerve damage from the polyp, and other things).. this description isn't complete and may not be accurate, but it's the best I can do from a layperson's perspective. 

Anyway, this is our last weekend with him, we're taking him to our local vet on Monday. I kind of hope that he goes on his own over the weekend.

We've been bringing him to the litter box (which he uses when we bring him to it; he's had a few misses, which I won't speak any  more of (ahem)), and feeding him baby food, which I made for him after finding out the price of commercial baby food is... boil chicken, let cool, remove from bones, puree in blender with the broth that was used to make the chicken... I bought a package of chicken thigh quarters for around $5 or $6 and tossed in a chicken breast & it made approximately 35 jars worth of 2.5 oz baby food... the commercial stuff was over $1 per jar. People: you can make baby food: for the cost of 35 jars, you can get a nice blender and with $7 of chicken make up enough baby food to fill 35 jars!

I also made some twice cooked pork the other day and saved the broth and used some of it to mix in with his food.  This morning, we gave him a little bit of milk (I know, milk isn't good for cats, but in this situation, I think we can go with what we think he'll enjoy)... he lapped at it a little bit (we offered him about a tablespoon or 2?) and he didn't finish it. Sigh.

I'm going to miss him a lot, he's a very special cat. I'm torn about taking him in, but he's not comfortable, occasionally paws frantically at his face and doesn't want to be petted, although he's fine with staying on the bed with us.

We lot another special cat earlier this month, January 12th... we were getting ready to go pick Bean up from the vet when I found Boomerang on the living room floor, dead. NO idea what happened, Gary looked him over & didn't see any signs of a dog attack or anything. Micah said that he had been throwing up the night before.

Also, Crookshanks went missing around that time... he's our semi-feral boy. He usually shows up when it's on the colder side of cool, so I'm hoping for another cold spell and hopefully he will show up.

Here are some more photos:






And a photo from last night of Bean and Liberty together:


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Sunday, December 14, 2014
      ( 10:21 PM ) Jessica  
Lately I've been noticing more breakthroughs in what I can hear. The other day when I took my son to work, I thought I heard one of our cats meowing... I asked my son "what's that noise?" and he said "I think birds"..it sounded demanding almost screechy... I'm looking forward to when I can hear birds sing as opposed to screeching.

Today I heard Bean meow... but I think it was amplified because he's not feeling well. The vet says he has asthma... he was acting like maybe something was in his ear or throat. He's calm now. I thought maybe he had a stroke because he wobbles when he walks... But I heard his meow, it sounds different from the others, and yes, quieter than Pepper & her children...we'll take Bean to the vet tomorrow & hopefully she'll be able to do something for him... he's not exactly a young boy, we found him in 2006 and he was full grown then, so we're guessing he's at least 11...

I also heard a couple of warning beeps on my Naida processor & thought to myself  "huh, I wonder if the battery is going dead?" I took it off to see how many lights flashed. None. Boom. I caught it before it went completely dead because I recognized the low battery warning sound!

Also on Friday, I made a phone call with Innocaption & it went well. I wasn't able to understand the person speaking except whenever any numbers were spoken, I got all of them 100%! Baby steps. A 4 month old baby wouldn't understand the meaning of numbers. My theory is that there are only about 10 possible numbers (including zero) that might be in a phone number  (for example) and the patterns of the numbers are different enough that if I know I'm going to hear a number, I'll get it. I may have trouble with 5 and 9 but I've gotten them both right so far.

Anyway, this week I have my AV session and next week I have another mapping session..

Also I've been learning to play a concert sized ukulele.

I've also have been trying out different versions of Blowin in the Wind & listening to different performers (including Bob Dylan) playing it... Bob Dyan sing it in an almost choppier way than I think of the song in my mind. I need to listen to a few more performers, I may have come up with my way of  how the song goes from Peter Paul and Mary... there's one in my book that I think is in the key of C... that one is okay. It starts with G and goes back and forth between G, C and D... the other one starts with C and goes back and forth between C, F and G7. I like the 2nd one best. I use a down down up strumming pattern... I've TRIED doing DDUUDU but I can't get the second half of that correct. I need to isolate that for practice. In the meantime, I'll use DDUDDU for this song.

I've also been terrorizing my family trying to hit singing notes... need to see if I can learn to sing on my own or if I might want to find a teacher. I do occasionally hit a right note when humming to a program I found...but Gary said that most of my notes are flat. I've been trying to hum simple sequences to practice going from one note to another...  I have NO idea what notes they are.

Our cat, Pepper had gone missing about 2 or 3 weeks ago... Friday, seemingly out of the blue, she showed back up! I was very relieved to see her... and she velcro'd herself to me that night...
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014
      ( 12:16 PM ) Jessica  
I wrote this a couple of weeks ago & I don't know why I didn't post it, so I will post it now!

This morning I realized that music is starting to sound different/better... I'm starting to hear more notes & such... most of the time when I listen to music, I'll play new-to-me songs since I don't have a "history" with them... I keep expecting them to sound like they used to, and I hope that someday they will, but I don't want to listen to the old songs too often because I don't want to "ruin" them... I just go back once in a while to test to see if the old sweetness of the sounds have returned yet... I'm listening to that playlist now and it seems to be coming back little by little.

I have trouble hearing my pennywhistles, but I'll keep trying. I just won't play them a lot because it's a little frustrating. Someone else posted that tin whistles helped her (or him?) enjoy music because s/he was able to feel the sound. I can't quite feel the sound in my fingers, not even with my lowest B-flat whistle...

Last night, when we went to see Scary Cherry & the Bang Bangs play, I tried listening to the first two bands without being too close to the speakers as suggested by my surgery "twin".  He suggested that for loud shows, this time I was able to hear the guitars as well as the drums, both the bass and regular ones... last time, I could only hear the drums and vocals. That was weird & disturbing!

When SCABB came on, we wanted to stand near the stage because... well.. that's what we do!  I was prepared to drop the volume way back or turn off the CI... didn't have to, in fact I felt like I would have liked more volume, but I didn't mess with that too much. I couldn't hear the vocals...


I've also noticed a couple of new sounds recently: I can hear my phone if it's in a room with me and not in my pocket, and it will usually get my attention, but on Friday, I heard the phone go off from my pocket. I was kind of expecting it to go off but wasn't consciously pay attention to it... I wonder if I'll be able to hear it when I'm not expecting it to go off from my pocket..

Last night at the store, I understood the cashier ask me if I made my hat! I wasn't looking at her and started to ask her to repeat what she said when I realized I did not need to! :)

I'm wondering what else my CI has in store for me... I may be starting to understand people, but it's still not clear & I don't think I could pick up something totally out of the blue...

As of today, my pennywhistles are starting to sound better, and Gary said the notes I play are sounding better. I still have a ways to go with breath control and also, I'm still coughing, so that is probably not helping...
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Welcome to Patchwork Girl's Rambling Warps blog... where I talk about just about anything from projects to just stuff to rants and whatever... I started blogging here on July 31st, 2002 and have been blogging on my website with Movable Type. I do not promise to blog regularly! I will blog when I feel like:

Blogging Without Obligation:

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