After several weeks of concern over a health problem, a couple weeks of waiting for tests results, followed by a tug-of-war molar extraction and the resulting consequences, it is finally good to be free of fear, anxiety, pain and bruises.

My test results came back clear, that was a big relief. I need to follow-up with quarterly tests for three times, and if those pesky abnormal cells stay away, I go back to annual check-ups.

I looked like I'd been hit with an upper cut to the chin after the dentist got through working so hard pulling the back molar. He warned me I'd have some bruises. I need to tell you quickly that he makes sure I am absolutely pain free and comfortable. I'm not sure if it's the same gas as laughing gas (I definitely don't laugh) but when I take it I am tension free.

The pain medicine for the extraction didn't work on the pain I had later on the weekend. Thankfully, my dentist provided his home phone for emergencies. I had the original pain medicine he'd prescribed when I went in and found out I had an abscess that needed to be cleared up with antibiotics. That one did the trick.

I ended up taking a couple of days off to recuperate. On the positive side, I felt good enough to sew. My sister and I want to make small quilts for our mother's sisters and brothers and two of their spouses to give them at the Thanksgiving family reunion. I choose to do them for the three uncles and she has the three aunts.

I'd finished up a graduation quilt for Howard's grandson, Jamal, in Miami earlier than expected so I got to work on the uncle's quilts.

I enjoyed taking an illustration and creating the pattern the size I wanted and making templates. It was nice to have time without a deadline to fight on these two quilt tops. Without the burden of having to be perfect, it was fun to find the right fabrics in my stash and just start cutting and sewing.

I realized that perfectionism can defeat the purpose of a hobby. I'm competitive enough as it is. I use to chide my first husband about his drive to catch the largest bass, be an excellent guitar player, turn photography into a drive for the perfect picture or be the best bowler. Instead of enjoying and relaxing or having fun, it became another job.

Sure I want to improve my quilting. Doing less ripping would be a big advance. I don't plan to enter quilting contests. I create quilts for people I care about and want to have fun doing it.

Along this same line, I no longer feel I have to finish a book just because I start it. Goodness gracious there are too many books I haven't read to waste time on one that doesn't grab me. We could all stand to give ourselves permission to lighten up and enjoy our interests rather than feel pressured by them.

Lynda Whitton is the head librarian for the Northwest Branch Library in Corpus Christi. Readers may contact her at 241-9329.