Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Missing in action...

Hi there! Have you missed me? I sure have missed blogging, but so much has been going on, I'm not even sure if I'll remember everything to mention here.

It seems like forever since I've updated my blog...or stitched for that matter. As soon as school was finished for the summer, it became a madhouse here! There is so much to do this summer and I'm beginning to realize my limitations, much to my dismay, that some days I just feel like I'm spinning my wheels.

I promised DS that if he helped me spring clean (he's learning the difference between cleaning and SPRING CLEANING...LOL) that I would spend as many hours with him driving as he would with me cleaning. He's been a trooper!! I'm totally amazed!! So I've been hoeing and cleaning, and he's cleaned out his game cabinet, even took some older games in for trade-ins and got a new game! I cleaned out my freebie pattern files, got some new binders to sort them out. There is still a lot to do, but I've slowed down since DS left for tennis camp yesterday. I finally got some stitching in! This week is a crazy doctor appointment week (I have five appointments in three days!) so I've decided spring cleaning will have to wait and I need some stitching time. That is hard to come by when DS is home.

We've had ball games to attend...even got this free bobble head one night.

Showalter is their manager and beloved by everyone! I had to laugh...quietly on the way to the game, DS said, "With this bobblehead I'll have an entire team including manager and mascot!" LOL He does have quite a collection, and he has a player from each position except pitcher. There are 9 players on a team, he has 11 bobble heads.

Our garden is blooming in stages. At this time there is a lily in the front yard blooming.

I love the color of this. DS had a fund raiser at his school a couple of years ago. This came home looking neglected and bedraggled. It's really blossomed this summer, more so than any other time! While I was taking it's picture, I found there were berries starting to appear in the holly...

This little garden fairy was left behind by the previous tenants so I thought I'd put her picture here. The little girl next door is fascinated with her...LOL

Last, but not least, is my pathetic attempts lately at stitching. It took forever for me to finish the current parts of Sampler Romantique. I do love this piece, just stitching such large pieces under a deadline is frustrating. I would much rather be stitching on one of my challenges, or the PIF for Astrid I should be stitching. With everything else I want to stitch, this just seems to bog me down. *sigh* Oh well, I have a few days now before the next installment comes out, hopefully I'll find time to stitch on something different for a little while.

I did make time to stitch on my UFO. I didn't find much time, but wanted to put a few stitches in so I wouldn't draw the wet noodler's attention. *waving madly to Mouse* I tease Mouse, but honestly, I'm glad we have those UFO days as my UFO pile is beginning to dwindle. It is a great way to encourage us to get those projects that have slipped to the back corner dusted off and finished! I have my next project picked out, but the way I'm going, it will be a while before I finish off this little beauty.

I have to mention briefly that DH is planning on taking me on a brief vacation. All I know is that we'll only be gone a couple of days. I'm not going to post the dates, and I don't even know where I'm going, but I'll take pictures. All I know is that it will take three hours by car to get there. In this area, that could mean an incredible number of places. He's been holding this over my head for ages, even thought I should post it on my blog and ask for suggestions where it might be. So, if you have an idea where he's taking me, leave a little comment, and I'll bring back a souvenir for the first person who gets it right. I told my friend Alice back a few months, and she keeps asking me if I know where I'm going yet. I think she's more curious than I am! LOL Just so you have a reference, I live half way between Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, DC. Good luck guessing, I've been mentioning a few places and I haven't figured it out yet! Even DS doesn't know (that way he can't spill the beans!) Isn't DH sweet to do this for me? Hopefully I'll like where I'm going. The last time he did this we went to Maine and had a GREAT time!

Ok, time for me to get ready for my next appointment. I thought things would slow down once summer vacation started, but noooooooo...I must have been terribly wicked somewhere along the way, for you know what they say... "There is no rest for the wicked." TTFN!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

No stitching, BUT...

Hello blogging buddies!

So much has been happening lately, but I haven't been able to get much stitching done. I had hoped to have a stitch day with Sonya last Friday, but...I woke up to some redness around one of my incision sites Friday morning. A quick call to the doctor's office and they put me back on antibiotics. *heavy sigh* I had to mail off my Mom's package, then pick up my prescription at the pharmacy. When I finally reached Sonya's it was time for lunch and then we only had 2 hours to stitch before I had to run home. DH and DS had bought tickets to the Orioles/Nationals baseball game in DC, and I wanted to take a nap before we left. The Orioles lost...what a disappointing day all the way around!! Oh well, we have to have those kinds of days sometimes so we can appreciate the good days...right?

It was a busy weekend, we celebrated Father's Day on Saturday because Sunday was DS's birthday! We surprised DS with a trip to summer tennis camp on the Naval Academy in Annapolis. He starts next week. He'll actually be staying right on the base for the week! Ah...a week of not hearing "I'm bored"! It's like music to my ears! DS and I got a game of Ladder ball for DH and we spent some time playing. I've never heard of it before, but DS had gone to a youth group party and they played there and had a blast, so of course he decided he had to get that for his Dad for Father's Day. It was a great idea, it really is fun to play! We also went to see the new Green Lantern movie in 3D. I thought it would probably be hokey, but in all honesty, it was pretty good! I'm surprised, all the comic book stories hitting the big screen, and the guys have wanted to see them all. I have to say, I'm in need of a good chick flick intervention...but I'm always outvoted on those. *sigh*

Monday was another run around day! DS is now the magic age to get a learner's permit to drive. I think I've been dreading this day since the day he was born...well, ok, maybe not that long, but for at least a year since he turned 15. That's all we've heard. So...it was my job to crawl out of bed at O dark thirty so we could make the 30 minute drive to Annapolis to the MVA so we could wait in line (in the rain) to get into the building at 8:30 AM, fill out the massive amount of paper work (and "WHY?" I ask you in this age of computer wizardry do you need to kill so many trees for the paper work for a learner's permit that is made from the remains of dead dinosaurs???) but I digress...LOL I have to say, the people at the MVA were pretty nice for an early rainy Monday morning! I learned a few important things...DS HAS to attend a driving school, and I can revoke/suspend his permit with a written letter to the DMV until he's 18! *happy dancing* I now have the upper hand with a punishment that will truly bring the child to his knees! I could have kissed the guy who gave DS a lecture on responsibility and respect for his parents and that driving is a privilege, not a right yada, yada, yada. DS looked at me after we left and said, "Did you call ahead with that lecture?" because it was almost verbatim what I've been spouting since he first asked to get his permit. LOL I said NO! But it was good for him to hear from another adult that I wasn't just spouting nonsense! I also learned that at 16, DS could register to vote in the great state of Maryland (he still can't vote until he turns 18, but they found they can catch them early for registration if they ask when they first get a learner's permit). AND...the nice guy I mentioned before THANKED DS for agreeing to be an organ donor. He nearly fell off his chair when DS pulled out his wallet and gave him the money for his permit. I wonder how many kids actually pay for their own permit? I had dreaded the day, but we were out of there in about 30 minutes! The huge smile on his face when he passed the written test will be burned in my memory forever! DS is now at the magical male age where it's not cool to show your emotions, so any change in countenance is welcome and memorable! LOL

From there we ran a ton of errands and finally ended up in a parking lot for a little instruction. I dragged out the errands as long as I could but it was finally time to face the music. I found out later that both of us were shaking in our shoes. How do you explain to someone that you GENTLY press the accelerator? GENTLY...GENTLY...
I couldn't say it loud enough, but still, his first attempt left a burned rubber patch about a foot long. Thankfully he has reflexes like a cat and stomped on the brake nearly as hard as he did the accelerator. I'm not kidding about the burned rubber...If I were a bobble head, I would still be bobbling a day later. I can see the doctor at the emergency room asking..."You have whiplash because...?" Now he's a bit gun shy, so we maneuvered around the parking lot getting used to the pedals for 30 minutes, I think I saw some snails moving faster than we were. LOL I see the wisdom of driving school now, they have that extra brake pedal installed on the passenger side. I truly need one of those! He told me last night that he needed a day off from driving after yesterday, it's harder than it looks. Whew, I think my heart could use a rest too! I think parents should be awarded a medal for getting in the passenger seat for the first time their kid gets behind the steering wheel of a car, don't you? I definitely felt like a brave battle worn soldier when the first lesson was finished! LOL Maybe this is a job for good ole Dad?

Sorry, no pictures today, though I do have some on my camera of the lilies that opened in my front yard...I'll save those for next time. Hope you have a great day! It's a bit cloudy/drizzly today, I'm hoping I can stay home and recuperate from yesterdays activities. Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

It's Thursday and you know what that means...

It's UFO day!! I didn't get far, but here's my progress for today...

I didn't have much time to stitch today because I was at the store putting together my Mom's birthday gift, it took me a couple of days to pin the piece, and then today I went back and cut the mat and assembled everything together. And here it is in all it's glory. (Sorry for the reflection, I couldn't find a place to take the picture without the glare...*sigh*)

I spent part of the day talking DS through his driving manual. Then we had to sit in the car and learn what all the gizmos and gadgets mean, how to turn on windshield wipers and headlights. Oh joy. Monday he's going to go for his learner's permit. I had to laugh at him yesterday as he came running upstairs and said, "Why are they saying you shouldn't be a reckless driver...aren't they good drivers? After all, they are WRECK - less!" What a kid!! I guess I should warn the nation that he'll be on the road soon...look out world, here he comes! (I'm thinking about handing in my license just so I don't have to ride around with him while he learns! I've already lost my hair once, I really don't need to be yanking it out by the roots now! LOL!!)

I had an appointment with the plastic surgeon last Tuesday and they advised me to go back to the lymph edema clinic and have my arm looked after. It's begun to swell again. *sigh* I bumped it last weekend and gave myself quite a bruise...now it's swollen and though I've been wrapping and massaging, it hasn't gotten better. I'll admit I'm a bit discouraged.

I ran upstairs to take care of something and found this little guy all stretched out ready to get shipped off somewhere. Anyone want a middle-aged cat with a mean temperament towards males of the human species? I'll just stuff him in the box and send him on his way. It would make a great Father's Day gift for DH! LOL Only kidding, I would miss my little buddy.

Off to cool off, for some reason I'm roasting tonight. Got lots planned for the weekend so you probably won't hear from me for a few days. Enjoy your weekend! *Hugs*

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer has officially begun...

Good Morning Folks!

I have to begin by telling you I got such a surprise in the mail Monday! Gillie and I were paired for an exchange in the spring. We sent each other pin cushions. I'm not sure why, but Gillie decided to make another pin cushion for me and sent it along with some threads and some books! Thank you, Gillie, I loved everything!! I especially love how you changed the colors of the letters of my initials in the alphabet...great idea! It's in pride of place in my china cabinet next to the other one you made. The first book (not pictured here) was "84, Charring Cross Road" which I finished reading yesterday. LOL I couldn't put it down, and though I haven't heard why she chose those particular books to send, I found it interesting that this one was about an American writer who wrote letters to an English bookseller and the progression of their friendship for 20 years! I love writing and receiving letters (though I wasn't very good about it through this past year), and I do have a British pen pal, so the parallels I found there were striking to me! Thanks again, Gillie, you really brightened my day!

Yesterday was the last day of school for my son, so today is going to be an interesting day. From the time he was first in pre-school, summer vacation always began with "I'm bored!" The silly thing is...SO AM I! To be perfectly honest, I really miss working. But this gives me incentive to find things to keep us entertained...and I am coming up with some unusual ideas...

My son's birthday is fast approaching, and oddly enough he's been saving his money for a new Nintendo DS, 3D. I think he thought we were going to get it for him for his birthday, but we kept insisting that we were NOT!! Then he got a card from his Grandmother with just enough money to put him over the top...thanks Grandma! LOL So...yesterday he took all his money (and it was a big wad of 1's, 5's, and some 20's thrown in) and we took him to the store to get it. His groan of agony could be heard three states away when he realized he would have to charge it for 3 1/2 hours before he could begin playing! LOL I can't wait for his actual birthday because we have a really BIG surprise for him, and I KNOW he's going to be even more excited than getting this 3D game. At least the game will keep him from being bored for a while anyway.

I knew my son would complain that he was bored this summer, so...I found a Bible study on the internet that I thought we could do together. It is laid out so that you answer a few questions each day for 5 days during the week. I thought we could fit in 5 "lessons" during the week, giving ourselves the weekend break. We started Monday. I showed him how I study, using a study Bible with the notes at the bottom of each page, and a book that talks about the customs and manners of the Bible. I also have a few commentaries, but I didn't want to "scare" him off right away. They only take about 30 minutes, and sometimes longer if we are sharing about something, but the first day I could see something in his eyes that I had never seen before. We talked about Zechariah and Elizabeth (John the Baptist's parents), and I relayed other stories about them that wasn't in the lesson. I guess he didn't realize that I had been studying the Bible for years...I still have so much more to learn, but I guess I know more than he thought I did...LOL Don't you love those "ah ha" moments with your child? Anyway, after yesterday's lesson, he seemed disappointed when we were finished...he actually wanted more! I'm so excited to be having these studies with him! I've never felt closer to him, and I think he feels the same way. The interesting thing is, we are both learning things we never knew before and we are both excited about our "discoveries"!

I stopped by the store yesterday to get something framed. The minute I walked in the door I was swamped! LOL There were two people working, but more than enough customers to go around. I think I annoyed one employee by casually giving my opinion about frames and mat colors and I instantly had the customer's attention. In case you haven't noticed, I like to talk, and tell stories, and customers usually like to talk about their art or whatever they bring in, so if you start a conversation about their prized possession that they are getting framed, it immediately makes them your friend. I don't do it on purpose (which is why they keep talking, they can feel the conversation is genuine) but they instantly feel a connection, and from there the fun begins. I love playing around with mat choices and frames until we find the perfect match. Just about that time, the boss knocked on the back door, so I went to open the door. He was surprised to see me, and asked if I could fill in a few hours here and there whenever I was ready. I told him I had a busy summer planned but thought I might be able to. He mentioned weekends...but for now (and he doesn't know this) I want to spend them with my guys. After he left, I ended up helping a few of the customers there, then a customer came in who had asked to have their framing done for today. When we looked for it, it wasn't done, but was a simple..."pop in" meaning the frame was ready, I just needed to pop it in the frame...which, because the other two were so busy, I asked her to give me a few minutes and I got it ready for her. Three hours later, I escaped with my wits in tact (I think) but so ready for a nap. I didn't realize how weak I still am, and rushing around for 3 hours straight was exhausting for me! Still, it was fun to dip my hand back into working (and I WILL get paid for those hours, the boss e-mailed me last night and said he had signed me in for those hours...wasn't that sweet?)

Well, with all that has been going on I haven't had much time to stitch, but I do have a couple of pictures to show you. The first is the Sampler Romantique. I haven't finished this month's installment, but I would say I'm probably halfway there.

The second is my Cirque des Carreaux from Ink Circles. I can honestly say that I have finished the first of six pages! YAY! This is done over one, and I'm praying I don't make a mistake. I've had a few near misses and let's say, frogging something over one is more than a challenge! It's worthy of throwing a piece across the room in frustration! LOL

Last, but not least, I just wanted to say...I've been going to the gym at least three times a week (this is my third week!) and though I'm a bit achy, I do have that rush of endorphins after each trip. It's been very hot here lately (though the past two days have been cooler) and we have been breaking all kinds of records, but thanks to the encouragement of my husband, we've still been going. I'm not walking as fast or as long on the treadmill as I would like, but at least I'm going. Wish me luck, as I really need to start building up my strength...I can't live in the pit forever! LOL That's partially why you haven't heard much from me and I haven't been stitching as much...life is on fast forward again! We also have a lot of things planned for the summer, but I'll let you know about those as time goes on.

And THAT, as they say....is THAT. I hope you have a great day! *Hugs*

Friday, June 10, 2011

What would you like...?

Do you remember those pizza commercials many years ago where the guy would ask..."What would you like on your tombstone?" I remember sitting through a sermon while they were still airing where the Pastor stood up and pulled out a frozen pizza, held it up and asked "What would you like on YOUR tombstone?" You may wonder why I'm writing this today...I just returned home from a funeral for a 29 year old man, father of two small children, husband, son and friend of many people I know. He died suddenly on Monday of a heart attack. My husband and I held hands and listened to quite a number of people tell stories of this remarkable young man, most of them humorous because he had quite a sense of humor, stories of his life, his struggles with drug addiction, but his final story of victory that he overcame the drugs and became a truly committed Christian. There were stories of his witness to the people he worked with, and his struggles wondering if his life made a difference, he wanted to shine a light and point others toward his Lord and Savior but never knew if he did or not. I can safely say today that he did indeed!

The last few years have been full of funerals for people I've known, mostly relatives, and they seem so sad and so final because I honestly don't know where most of them were headed. This one was different. Though it was sad to lose someone so young with a family just starting out and he will be greatly missed, it was a celebration of sorts...of his victorious life, of the love he left behind, of the fact that he's in heaven now, hugging Jesus and praising him with his wonderful voice. There were co-workers of his that came to the funeral whose lives may change because of what they saw there today. So I'll be praying for his family, for his friends, and for the people who attended the funeral today that they come to know the Savior that Jason knew and that his life, and his death, will make a difference in people's lives. I know it makes me want to live a better life...because no one knows the day or the hour...

They sang this song at the service today...I just love the words

Chris Rice - Untitled Hymn (Come To Jesus) Lyrics

Weak and wounded sinner
Lost and left to die
O, raise your head, for love is passing by
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus and live!

Now your burden's lifted
And carried far away
And precious blood has washed away the stain, so
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus and live!

And like a newborn baby
Don't be afraid to crawl
And remember when you walk
Sometimes we fall...so
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus and live!

Sometimes the way is lonely
And steep and filled with pain
So if your sky is dark and pours the rain, then
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus and live!

O, and when the love spills over
And music fills the night
And when you can't contain your joy inside, then
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus and live!

And with your final heartbeat
Kiss the world goodbye
Then go in peace, and laugh on Glory's side, and
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus and live!

Rest in peace, Jason!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pedling as fast as I can!

Hi Folks!

Did you think I fell off the face of the Earth? LOL Nah, I've just been very busy. Seems the more time that passes, the busier I get, I honestly can't keep up with myself, and I keep running until I'm out of energy. Today is my "crash" day! LOL I've honestly had something going on every day for weeks now and I'm getting tired.

So...news...I've decided not to go to Alabama. As soon as I had decided I would think about it, I made up my mind to get to the gym and start building up my strength. I was able to go 4 days last week, but only once this week (though I hope to go tonight if it's not too hot). There's a heat wave going on, with promises of beating the record temperature for the day. I'm staying out of the heat...and realized if I'm hot here, I'm going to ROAST in Alabama! So...I'm so sorry to those of you who are going, and I know another trip is planned for the fall, maybe then I'll be able to go. I'll be praying for you!

I have to admit, my Doctor has been trying to get me to exercise for years now (but I'm stubborn AND lazy! not to mention BUSY!) but after this cancer scare I've decided I'm going to make myself go. Wouldn't you know...I actually FEEL good after I've been to the gym!?! The endorphins are kicking in, my mood has improved, I feel stronger and more alert. Don't you HATE it when the Doctors are right? I can't wait to see her and let her know what I've been up to! LOL The only thing is....I am STILL gaining weight!?!?!?! How can this be? Honestly my diet has not changed!! I'm blaming the Tamoxifen (a medication I have to take for the next 5 years!) DH tells me that muscle weighs more than fat...let's hope eventually I'll start to lose...my Doctor won't believe me if I tell her I'm going to the gym 4 times a week if I don't lose weight to prove it! Pictures, I'll have to take pictures so she'll believe me. LOL

On the stitching front, I have a few things to show you. I have finished Snowflake Serenade! This was stitched on 32 Ct. Lambswool over two threads using the fibers they recommended. It's a Country Cottage Needleworks pattern and I really enjoyed stitching it. It was number 12 for the Crazy January Challenge. 3 more to go!

I started (hm...that's not quite the correct phrase) let's see...I picked up another UFO I had hanging around. This one was offered on a website quite some time ago and she has begun selling her designs now. I don't even think the parts are offered on her site anymore and if I remember correctly you had to be a member of a google group. It's called Le Marquoir de Sophie. I'll have to look back in my notes to see what fabric it's stitched on, and what DMC floss I'm using...I'll have that for you next time I post. It is stitched over one thread. She gave the pattern with her initials, but I wanted my own, so one of the initials was already there, and I designed the other two. That is why it became a UFO, because I've searched the internet high and low for alphabets that were similar and then thought I might design my own...then threw up my hands in frustration. I'm back working on it now, so I need your honest opinions about the lettering. There are more letters to come, so let me know what you think!

The June installments of two of my SALs have been released, and I finished them up last night and this morning. I know the Romantique Sampler will be coming out soon and wanted to clear my path so I can concentrate on finishing that up quickly. I LOVE the pattern, but it seems that it takes nearly the whole month to finish each part that she releases. Anyway...here is the Star Sampler offered here http://periphaeria.com/tales/. I'm stitching it on 40 ct Flax over 2 linen threads and using Anchor floss, 45 and 1084. This has been a fast stitch, and I just LOVE the colors!

The other SAL is being offered on the Oakhaven Yahoo group and is a collection of owls that I find so adorable. This is stitched on 28 ct fabric (I forget the name) over two linen threads using the DMC floss she recommends. This looks better in person, from this picture it looks like my latest owl has that "deer caught in the headlights" look to it! LOL

I've tried to work on all the crazies, but since I'm down to the last three, and two of them are SALs, I have more time to work on Cirque des Carreaux from Ink Circles. This is stitched on 32 ct. Maritime white over one linen thread using Carries Creations silk threads called Epiphany. I love how this is coming out! If you click on this photo you will get a closer look at what it looks like. This little section represents nearly the first page of 6!! I have a LOT of stitching left to do!

You'll think I'm crazy, but I have a case of startitis. I kitted up a couple of projects that I just feel the need to start, and when I have something stitched, I'll give you a peek! I just bought the materials Monday, so keep watching this space, you'll see them soon!

We are trying to plan a vacation. We haven't had one in a few years due to many reasons, my illness, my Dad's illness, and just a whole bunch of different things...and we decided this year we are going to DO SOMETHING, and get the heck out of Dodge for a while. So...we were looking to make sure our passports were up-to-date and we stumbled across our documents from long ago. I had such a hoot over the pictures that I thought I would share them with you! The first is my first passport photo from 1988. Can you BELIEVE that hair do? ROTFL!!! That was a perm I had done because I hated my straight hair...but gee whiz...I think it added 3 inches to my height (make that 5 inches!!) LOL

The next is when we lived in Germany back in 2000. This was taken off my international driver's license. LOL It was when I was in between hair dressers, I really needed a haircut then!! It's hard to believe I was 40 in this picture!!

I met up with Astrid last week and took a little lesson in making cards. Thanks again for all your help Astrid! I don't think I'll ever be as creative as many of my stitching pals but there is something special about receiving a hand made card! I really enjoyed my day with Astrid, we'll have to get together again soon! It will be hard now that our kids are out of school but hopefully we'll get back into a routine when school starts in the fall. These are the only ones we had time to make that day...

My backyard is in full bloom now, so I'll share a little of the color that has invaded my backyard and my house (I've been enjoying these sweet smelling blossoms indoors, and they make my house smell sooooo gooooood!) You've seen pictures of the goldfinches...and I finally caught a picture of this purple finch (at least that's what I think it is). He is very shy, and every time I ran for the camera he would fly off before I could get his picture. FINALLY, I caught him when his back was turned! LOL I love watching them and listening to them sing in the morning.

Well, I think that's all the news that's fit to print. I hope I get a chance later this week to catch up on e-mails. I haven't been online in about a week, I can only imagine what's waiting in my inbox. Have a great day! *Hugs*