The pillow top named Analogous Red turned out to be my favorite …

Not just for how it looks, but for the process of making it. And so I’m now making a table cloth for our 10’ x 3’ dining table, using a too thin cotton table cloth as a base …

and covering it with strips of randomly patched cloth “quilted” down with Texas Two-step stitches …

Meanwhile, Don is outside tending his garden, de-thatching the grass that succumbed to brown patch during the worst of the triple-digit heat …

Behind him, the mealy blue sage (var Henry Duelberg), Texas purple sage, and Lindheimer’s senna bloom in all their glory. Watching as he worked, which he does each and every morning, I couldn’t help thinking of a question posed in Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass: “Do you feel that your garden loves you back?” Surely his answer would be “yes.”

And here, for the record, is the purple sage before and after a recent, much-needed rain …

along with the joy-full dwarf pomegranate, zexmenia, and American beautyberry,

which has attracted a new-to-us Yellow Breasted Chat …

All the above plantings having been grown within one year of patient care. Nice work Farmer Jones.

Meanwhile, I’ve indulged in some gifts to self. A copy of Hand Sewing Clothing

and a Bissell steam floor cleaner. Which sounds extremely self-indulgent when considering the question “what’s wrong with using a simple mop?” Except that our new-to-us house has a pebbled floor in the shower which is the dickens to clean. Hence the choice of a tool which has a brush that will get the grout clean without the need for cleansers with their vile perfumed scents.

Those noxious scents bring me to a tale of woe (the title of this post being “Random” in order that I might fit this in).

The other day I had the worst mammogram of my life. And you may be excused if you choose not to read further (I am putting this at the end for that reason), but I’ve got to get this off my chest (pun absolutely intended).

The back story is that I have actually had more-or-less annual mammograms since I was 40, scared into it as my mom had invasive breast cancer at age 60. Now 66 years of age, that means I’ve had at least 20, which qualifies me to judge.

The best mammography practitioners are wonders of efficiency, gently but firmly positioning one’s person and body parts, making the procedure little more than an inconvenience with a modicum of discomfort. What I endured last week was not that.

To be sure, the radiologic tech was compassionate and kind. But she was also very inexperienced, the room was warm, and there was an overwhelming degree of dryer sheet fragrance hanging in the air. The word “fug” comes to mind.

The overlong session dragged on and on … “a little more to the right … no back this way … let me know if you’re uncomfortable … you are? I’ll just tighten it a little more … hold on, don’t breathe … okay, there’s a crease, we have to do that one again … you need to sit down first? … are you okay now? … I need to tighten it up some more … have you lost weight recently? … now look over your shoulder and stand up on your toes a little … you’re feeling faint? … that’s never happened before … I should get you some water but I don’t want to leave you alone … (door opening) can someone bring me some cold water? … you don’t think you can do the last image? … that’s never happened before … are you okay if I leave for a minute to check on what to do?”

There was more, but I’m sure you get the idea. Fortunately, I’ve experienced near-fainting before and I know not to be shy about sitting and putting my head down when standing too long in one place makes me break out in a sweat and the world begins to go dark. Fortunately?

The story has a happy ending as an experienced tech stepped in and asked if I felt up to doing the last image from a seated position. I did. She gently but firmly got me positioned and the image was made with no further pain or incipient syncope. And when the inevitable patient survey arrived in my email box, I was honest and wrote “it was the worst mammogram I’ve ever experienced.” Because it was.

35 thoughts on “Random

  1. There is SO MUCH goodness here!! The garden is so pretty and Green! The sage…must smell so good! I love the peace signs on the pillow 🙂 I will be watching the tablecloth & clothing becoming. And why not have a tool that helps? I don’t enjoy house cleaning at all…so anything that makes it easier is okay in my book. As for the mammogram…I’ve had plenty of those too. Ugh. My mama’s sister had cancer in both breasts, which started in her hip bone, and ultimately traveled to her lungs…she died in her 40’s. Anyway, mammograms are the worst! A place I went to years ago kept the tray warm with a heating pad until it was your turn. That was nice, but never a replacement for a skilled and kind radiologic tech! Glad yours ended much better than it started!


    1. This variety of mealy blue has been blooming all summer long … which is amazing … the bees absolutely love it … and your mammogram memory reminded me of the best IV I ever received … my hand relaxed with a warm cloth, a gentle stick of lidocaine and totally painless


  2. So much loveliness here – loving the pillow and tablecloth. Sorry you had such a bad experience with the mammogram. My last one was a laugh a minute. Two lovely nurses, very efficient. First nurse: ooh, you’re slim, aren’t you? Have you always been slim? Me: er, yeh… First nurse: And can you eat what you like? Me: er, yeh, pretty much… First nurse to second nurse: Extra hard squeeze for this one, Linda. Then they were ‘stand still, stop laughing’ which made it all quite funny. But not nice for you when it’s painful and the room is too hot 🙁


    1. I suspect the “have you lost weight” question was asked because the tech was having trouble getting her images to match up to the dimensions of my past mammograms … after I said “yes, 10 pounds” she stopped cranking down so hard 😬

      In any case, your story is much better … and yes, I would have been laughing, too

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Oh Liz, Your stories are the best! Glad to see the garden in bloom & extra happy to hear there’s been rain in the area. The patchwork is lovely as always & congrats on good results after the bad mammogram.


  3. (((Liz & Don))) good to see both your garden and patchwork growing so beautifully & thank goodness for the experienced mammogramologist coming to your rescue in the end!


    1. I was humbled afterward by the relative inconsequence of my experience when my daughter told me about her day … a newly minted nurse, she had a patient with a childbirth emergency … it’s not something that can be taught in the abstract, but only learned by doing … and in so doing, she saved a life … a true rescue


  4. My dear Woman, Such a lovely blog entry with patchwork and garden and bird AND thank you for sharing about your mammogram. I have 2 blood relatives who died from, and had breasts removed, yet I only get checked every 5 years because of a horrible mammogram experience that left me with breast pain for many months. I’m smarter now and will not tolerate any painful fumbling around !!


    1. I’ve been reading up on mammograms and discovered that regular screening can yield false negatives for those of us with dense breast tissue … so now I’m wondering if ultrasound is a reasonable alternative for next time … and reading of your experience I am grateful to realize it could have been much worse


  5. The garden is doing so well against that heat – good gardener! – and yes it does love you back I think. The tablecloth will be a marvellous and joyful thing to behold. I too have dense breast tissue and do annual mammograms plus ultrasound. The ultrasound picks up quite small things I think – and I must say is much pleasanter. I recall my first mammogram and the sonographer just looked at my flat chest and said “wow, this will be hard” filled me with confidence!


    1. When I related my experience to Meliss, she said never would she ever say “I don’t know how to do this” to a patient!

      I have no idea how this will work out as a table cloth … but it could always be converted to a bed cover if needs be


  6. What a notion: a garden loving you back. I can see it in your plantings, especially given how “new” they are. I love that red pillow top too — all those patterns make me happy. Sorry about your mammogram experience. It sounds truly awful. Mine have been relatively painless — except maybe for the time the technician didn’t adjust for my height and I was practically dangling by a boob from the image plate!


    1. I can relate … “now stand on your tip toes” … seriously? In reading afterwards I learned it could have been much worse: skin tears for one.

      I’ve always loved how you combine colors and patterns … definitely happy-making

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi LA – it never ceases to amaze me just how much one can fit into a life. Love the garden and the patchwork – my mind boggles regarding how long the table cloth will take. Regarding the mammogram – F says if men had to have pentagrams then the technology for both that and mammograms would be improved very very swiftly. Hoping it resulted in a clean scan. Go well. B


  8. wasn’t that a great read Liz and I’m sure your garden loves you back, plants have ‘feelings’* too you know (*for want of a better word)
    and when new birds arrive, you just know you’re doing a good job
    love the table cloth, and love that your own pillow inspired it!
    oh boy am I glad I didn’t choose those pebble tiles a while back when looking for new shower tiles…..cleaning is not my strong point, anything that makes these kinds of chores easier should not be considered self-indulgent, rather a necessity
    which brings me to your mammogram experience, alas I’ve been there too…….even with experienced nurses, I have small breasts and am slim, so there’s always a lot of pulling and tugging
    not that I’m complaining ‘cos we do it for a reason, right
    a male friend of ours had a lump and had to be screened as well (nothing malignant) his reaction was: why do woman put up with this?
    why indeed?


    1. well, I have to confess the garden certainly loves Don back, but I have yet to “connect” with it at this new-to-us house … I think I’m still grieving the loss of our land in the Hill Country … and yes, pebble tiles look so appealing (like standing in a stream bed or walking on the beach), but the reality is far different


  9. Color dances through out your home: outside with Don’s painterly eye gardening, inside with your rich eye toward color and design patchwork, wonderful creative color from both of you. How each plant, each pillow speaks of caring, and in the case of pillows, memories, and how it all envelopes your home with such a strong feeling of connection. AND, the joy of your tablecloth, how it will be such a “feast” for the eyes !


    1. as time goes by I find myself drawn to deeper and richer colors, although I still shy away from the primaries … quite a change from the very light neutral palette I preferred back in the day

      as for the tablecloth, I confess that I am hoping the jumble of color and pattern will make it easier for the parents of our grandkids to relax and not worry over spilled milk (so to speak) … and I’ll no longer have to mess with putting a second cloth under this too-thin one


  10. I want to respond to everything in your random post! The mammogram does indeed sound horrible. I hate getting them, but thankfully my technicians have been good (so far). The pillow is delightful – love red – and the tablecloth is so vibrant, will be a joy to use. I bought that book on Hand Sewing. I learned one thing from it (then set it aside): mostly I don’t knot my thread anymore, just take small stitches at both start and finish. My cousin-in-law rents out her home by the week in the summer, thus a lot of cleaning required, and she swears by the steam cleaner… hmmm. Might help me with the kitchen floor, which needs a major scrubbing by the end of the harvest season.


    1. Last things first, I was amazed at how much came up … I had thought our floors were pretty clean, but now think they actually are

      And yes, I’m pretty much over knotting, although I sometimes knot my thread at the beginning even when I don’t mean to … old habits die hard


    1. I haven’t read all of it, but it reads well and the diagrams are good. While the information is basic, it fills in some of the gaps in my basic handsewing education (there’s a reason I used to insist on calling myself a needleworker and disavowed anything to do with sewing or garment construction)


  11. Wow on the mamm! Fortunately, I have not had that experience. Uncomfortable, yes. Hopefully, this will be the one and only time for you! The hand sewing book looks very interesting. It is good to indulge!


  12. Loving the tablecloth idea!
    Thankfully, being rather well endowed, mammograms are a mildly uncomfortable experience for me. My daughter, being very tiny, hurts for days afterward. If testicular cancer was scanned by being pulled, twisted and forcefully squashed then a new method would be found!


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