Wednesday, October 26, 2016

35 years in Vero Beach

I'm actually a month late in celebrating Needle Nicely's 35th year in Vero Beach.  Perhaps that is because I wasn't here for the grand opening.  I was still in Blowing Rock, keeping the shop there open through the "leaf season".  I was also awaiting the finishing of an orchid bench from Hunt Galleries, I regret to say, a now nonexistent furniture manufacturer in Hickory, NC.  The bench was too large to be shipped UPS (no longer true), so I waited to drive it to Florida in a Scout vehicle.

 On top of the Scout was placed a rack for metallic fibers from La Lame (I don't know if they are still in business),  that our local Blowing Rock carpenter had assembled for us.  He had covered it with cardboard and it looked like a long, skinny coffin.  After accumulating my cargo, I followed Trubey's parents South.  We spent the first night in Savannah, GA.

Remember, this was 1981, before cell phones.  I was following the Walkers' car as we approached the bridge to the barrier island in Vero Beach.  I remember so well my horror, as the light changed, and Bill Walker drove through the yellow light, leaving me behind at the red light.  I could see Zoe talking to him--and he pulled over to wait for the light to change, so I could follow him.  She realized that I had no idea where we were going--no phone number to call, no idea where we were staying, nothing.  I was blindly following them to our destination.

Obviously, so much has changed in the ensuing 35 years.  But it is in celebration of surviving those years that Needle Nicely is having a "blow-out" sale, running from October 31 through November 4, 2016.  We managed to survive many hurricanes (though Wilma gave us true stress!).

Today I put some retired model pillows on sale at unbelievable prices ranging from $15.00 to $100.00.  That is the sale bonus (or lagniappe).

Other sale categories are:

50% off rug canvases (ask to see photos or look on line at
       Sale rugs
50% off books in the bookcase
50% off sayings canvases in the 3-tiered rack
50% off all previously marked sale items, including sale Lee accessories and $5.00 items
30% off all belts in the belt basket
30% off all Christmas ornaments, including nativities and 12-days of Christmas
25% off all fibers
25% off all other canvases and accessories, with the exception of Sudberry footstoolsand one ottoman.
Sale is limited to items in stock.  Does not include special orders or finishing.

If we are very busy and cannot pull fibers for your canvas(es), we will mark your receipt and you
       can come in November 7-11 to select your fibers ar 25% off.  You must have the original
       marked receipt.  It is only good with my signature and only the week following the sale.  Of
       course, you are always welcome to select your own fibers.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Medical wake-up call

NOTE:  This is a public service blog to all women, particularly those over the age of 60.  Get an ECG(some say EKG) and have it on file.  Please.

I had been fighting a persistent sinus infection late spring/early summer, 2014.  Then in the late summer on a Friday, I went to my doctor for my "exit examination"; meaning I wasn't getting any more medicine and should be feeling great.  I didn't, but didn't know why.  I asked him about the edema in my lower right leg (foot and ankle).  He suggested that I have an ultrasound of my legs the next week to be sure I didn't have a blockage--i.e., clot.  Then, as he always does at the end of an exam, he listened to my lungs and heart.  After he listened to my heart, he said that my heart sounded different than it had previously.  He asked that I come by on Monday for an ECG so he could compare it to the one I had had in March.

Monday after my sporadic appointment with my dermatologist (should be annual in Florida, but I slide), I stopped by to have the ECG.  The nurse (I don't want to offend the women in my doctor's office--I don't know if they are nurses or just very skilled technicians) administered the test, told me it was different from my March results.  She was very careful not to upset me.  I, of course, am clueless because I don't have any adverse symptoms.  What is all this fuss?  She brings in my doctor who explains to me that I am in afib.  So what is that?  Somehow my heart has gone awol and has changed its rhythm.  At that point, I go outside to get my husband where he is waiting in the car.  He needs to learn about this problem while I do.  Talk about shock .  My husband is more concerned than I am because I feel no untoward symptoms.

My doctor then adjusted my current medications and gave me samples of Eliquis to start taking immediately.  He also ordered an Echocardiogram for the next morning before I had the ultrasound of my legs.

My ultrasound revealed no clotting in the veins of my legs.  The echocardiogram showed that I have a leakage from my mitral valve and arrythmia in my atria (I think--the upper right of the heart).  As my doctor marveled, I still physically have no idea or symptoms about any of this.  It truly is the silent killer.

In my future is a visit to a cardiologist.  If my heart doesn't re-establish its natural rhythm, I understand they will "zap" me like you see on television with the 2 paddles and electric current.  It doesn't look like fun.   If that doesn't work, then they will install a pace-maker.

My gp says that women over 70 have a high incidence of this medical condition.  He keeps remarking on the fact  that I still am not aware of any symptoms.  Twenty years ago I would have had a stroke and died on the way to the hospital. 

Ironically, my husband and I had discussed things like this.  My family has a history of cancer; his has a history of heart problems.  So of course, we thought he would be the one with heart problems.  But he has been meticulous about his diet and exercise for at least the last 40 years.  I'm Southern,  so I like gravy and butter--he insists that he is saving my life just by being married to me (I said that since I married him, he was no longer a bachelor and his life span had increased).  Sad to say, he is probably the hero.

The reason I'm revealing this information is to alert women over 60 to have an ECG so you have a baseline and then have regular monitoring of your  heart's rhythms.   Or be fortunate enough to have a doctor like my general practitioner who just happened to catch this for me.  He made sure I had a prior ECG on file with which to compare my present heart rhythm.

I don't like revealing personal information, but my gp has told me that my lack of symptoms is not unusual and many people are walking around with this condition without realizing it.  Go have an ECG and protect yourself in the future.  Please.

ADDENDUM:  I have visited my cardiologist of choice, had a stress test, and he has determined that my heart has its "own" rhythm and we won't do anything to change it==that is, no pace maker, no shocking with paddles.  Thank goodness.   I'm going to wear a heart monitor (holter) for 24 hours this next week so everyone can be sure the arrythymia  is consistent and not helter-skelter.  Consistency is a good thing even if it's off-beat.  And I guess it's a plus that I am oblivious to what's happening.  Though that could be said of a lot of things in my life!!!  And as a photograph by Kate Dickerson in August, 2014, attests, I look disgustingly healthy, overweight and old, but healthy.  And I feel great and hope to for years, taking my blood thinner. 

PPS:  My gp really wasn't satisfied with my cardiologist's decision, so he referred me to a nationally- acclaimed cardiologist from Orlando who specializes in afib cases and comes to Vero once a month.
I consulted him, went to Orlando for my first hospital stay ever in my life since my birth (nobody can believe that fact), and had a cardioversion.  I was back into sinus rhythym and was taking a medicine that prohibited any alcohol.  Yum, yum.

Ten days later, my heart reverted to afib.   The special specialist dumped me back on my gp.  No more medicine proscribing alcohol.  (The power of prayer for those of us who like a tipple or two.)  I still have no symptoms.  My life is now one of checking on my levels (pulse, blood pressure) with  my gp's supervision.  This could go on for years (one hopes).

NOVEMBER NEWS FLASH:  Went to my gp so he can plan my future care--I'm relaxed and confident; after all, he's the one who caught the problem in the beginning. Ta, Da!  I'm back into sinus rhythm.  This is screwy.  This erraticness seems to be my new normal.  My gp thinks I can live forever.  Hip, hip, hooray!!  And I still am clueless about the difference in rhythm.  I guess I shouldn't complain!  There are definitely worse outcomes. 

Editor's note:  I have hesitated to post this blog entry because people tend to treat you like Typhoid Mary when they think you have a weakness.  I'm not retiring; I'm not pitiful and weak.  Mary Agnes and Needle Nicely are under a good doctor's care and here for the long haul.  But my message is: If you are over 60 and female, have someone listen to your heart on a regular basis.  There are more afib patients walking around healthy than anyone would suspect.  But they are potential time-bombs if not being treated.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Placing Shop Models on the Shelf in This LIfetime

A few days before Hurricane Matthew came to town, my email account went screwy.  I could receive emails, but could not send any.  I also couldn't access junk mail or empty the deleted message area.  With all that was going on in life at that time, I decided that I would put off contacting Indiiia for help in remedying the problem.  Finally, Monday night I stiffened my spine and called.  I had the most competent person ever--come to find out, I need to say my account is a business one.  It only took about 35 minutes.  And no stress.  Amazing.  I never thought I would say anything positive about distant techies.

The pillows are glaring at me from atop almost every surface in the shop.  I'm tough--they don't worry me.  My customers can access everything they could possibly need, so mere cosmetics don't bother me (says she who doesn't wear any make-up!). I did dodge one bullet when my DH (who is 80) offered to climb the ladder and put them back up.  It took all the tact I will ever possess to convince him that that wasn't a good idea.  If I'm not willing to climb at my age (74), I sure am not letting him do it.  A true recipe for disaster!  Of course, my first two customers this morning thought the disarray was because Needle Nicely was moving.  Trust me, this stuff is here to stay unless a hurricane blows us away!  I no longer have the energy for a move--and preparing for a hurricane really stretched my reserves of energy.

Actually, there is more to putting the pillows back up than just tossing them up there.  First, Marcia dusted the shelf (my dusting theory is if you can't see it, it isn't there!).  Then she carried the pillows,   basketful by basketful, outside by the rosemary and beat pairs together.  The dust flew!  Her nose definitely was stopped up by the dust.  Next, we have to check that we still have canvases for each model.  There will be some weeding out.  This is the time for me to rearrange some areas of the shop.  I also should redo the prices on the pillows since finishing costs (and canvas costs) have risen over the years.  Some people demonstrate interest in buying a finished model and then almost faint when they are told the cost. Sometimes I make a deal.  My air conditioning man, who we have had since first arriving in Vero Beach, looked around one day when he came to service the air conditioner.  He spied one and asked how much it was.  It was a birthday gift for his mother.  I told him he had done so much for us over the years--and gave him the pillow.  Thirty-five years of dependability is definitely worth one pillow!  I also usually donate discontinued models to local charities as door prizes and silent auction items.

Teaser:  Needle Nicely has been in Vero Beach 35 years as of October, 2016.  I will be having a sale the first week in November.  More information later.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Be Merry, 12

I made myself take time out from straightening the shop to stitch several hours on Be Merry.
It's difficult to see without enlarging this photo, but I have been working on the blue background as I go along.  It's funny, but I catch myself looking forward to the "quickie" stitches.  After I have worked on a canvas as long as I have on this one, I have no shame.  Get it over with!

I've also been spending some time picking out gold metallic from a Christmas stocking I got a real deal on in Dallas.  Someone started stitching it and then returned it to the artist.  It was a really good deal because the artist didn't want to pick that stranded gold out!  I was surprised, though; it never occurred to me to return a partially stitched canvas for credit.  As they say, stick around long enough and you will hear everything possible.

I just saw the button for "save" depress on its own.  Why doesn't it do that when I need it to?

I'm putting on my opera critic hat now (and also kicking myself).  I had arranged for someone to come today at noon to put the pillows back on the shelf around the top of Needle Nicely's walls.  Then, late yesterday afternoon, my local theater, the Majestic, sent out a notice that they were rescreening last week's Tristan und Isolde from the Metropolitan Opera.  There were solar flares and the transmission was really messed up, I have been told.  Actually, I passed on attending last week because I didn't think the plaza (I share with the Majestic) had power.  Couldn't reach them on the phone, nothing on line.  So I napped all day.  I understand it was a good miss.

Anyway, I called off the "pillow man" so I could go to the opera.  The NYTimes gave it rave reviews.
I left at the first intermission, as did several others.  Definitely not my cup of tea.  I loved "The Ring Cycle", so thought this would be similar.  Not so--and in modern dress.  Sigh!  My karma was good for having Matthew side-swipe us, but obviously the mess-up devil hangs around!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A New Belt for Arthur

Years ago, I stitched a needlepoint for my husband, Arthur.  I'm not sure if it were while we were dating or after we married (which was 25 years ago this past August).  Arthur is a minimalist.  I asked him over 10 years ago if he wanted a new belt.  His response was"no, thank you.  This one is still good."  Over the years he has walked an hour each morning and cut down drastically on his intake of adult beverages.  The result has been, he now has a tidy waist and a noticeable chest.  AND a needlepoint belt that he is wearing in the closest hole to the needlepoint.  Not to mention the fact that it is now slightly grubby.  So you can understand my amazement this summer when he requested a new one.  Shock!

The design of his first belt consisted of his 3 initials stitched in groups of 3 shades of a color.  I couldn't photograph the belt in its entirety, so here is a series of photographs.

It has a navy background and is, even today, attractive.

The new belt reflects Arthur's interest in the New York Giants football team.  He loves them, except when he is screaming at them!

Since Needle Nicely has cornered the market on navy medici, that is what I am using to stitch the background.  The elements are going to be stitched in DMC perle cotton.  I took it to stitch on while I was in Dallas for the recent wholesale market.  Pitiful progress!

These segments start from the right side of the canvas and proceed through the middle and then the left side. Arthur has been very understanding in my lack of progress, but I really would like to finish this before January.  We'll see if that happens!

EDIT:  The red APC monogram doesn't show up well in my photograph, but it shows up in person.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Some delightful canvases from the Dallas market

 I purchased this froggy bathing beauty and her companion from The Collection.  What a fun canvas for stitches and to chuckle at.
 Just had to have this sand dollar from Zecca.  The colors are glorious.  I keep trying to think how I could make this into a clock!  I think it is doable since the top "spike" is 12 and the 3rd downward "spike" is 6.  Put buttons there and then place two on each side spaced appropriately.  It works for me!
 This rabbit from Susan Roberts has had many incarnations.  Here it is the seat for a  child's chair, though it would make a great pillow.  The rabbit appears in many different sizes on Susan Roberts canvases.  And it should--it's a winner!
There was no way I could resist this small canvas from Mary Englebreit from Painted Pony.  Just makes me smile looking at it.
 Melissa Shirley has a series of large canvases with interesting border items that vary in size from 18x18 to 22x22.   She also does the inner canvas from these as 8x8" (which this is), and 5x5".  This is a great selling device since many people don't want to tackle a canvas as large as 22x22"--the other sizes give them the same feeling.  By the way, these are swallow-tailed hummingbirds.
Then I come to this long (I'm sorry, I didn't measure, but it is about 20" long).  But what fun to look at!  It doesn't fit in my life or my shop stitching, but I do enjoy looking at it.  It's a Debbie Mumm for Melissa Shirley Designs.  It offers so many possibilities for pattern stitches.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Old-Style Telephones that work when the power is off

When Needle Nicely had the roof come off after Hurricane Wilma and we moved very swiftly to relocate, the electricity was off.  However, I still had my old blue rotary dial telephone from eons ago.  I plugged it in to our former location and the telephone company could then forward our calls to our new location.  However, because of mold issues, I couldn't rescue the phone.  After talking with some friends, I discovered that places like Wal-Mart and K-Mart sell those old phones--though these are not rotary style, but rather princess phones.

My husband couldn't believe it when I pulled out of my bag of tricks this Princess-style phone that I purchased in 2005 after Wilma and stashed in the voluminous head board of our bed (my husband has yet to discover this cache, even though this was his bedroom suite when we met!).

I have just plugged it in, because I know we will need it after the latest hurricane status report.
If you live in an area with many power outages, this is not a bad investment.  I can't remember what I paid, but it couldn't have been over $20.00.  It's worth having it tucked in the back closet!