A place for family and friends to see what I'm up to. Visitors welcome here.

Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

It's such a pleasure to be able to stitch large spaces at a time, using up an entire needleful of floss at a time. I get weary of confetti. I love the effect, mind you; I just get tired of doing it and need a big block break from time to time. This is my progress on the hollyhocks for this week. Not too shabby. I've only been able to get in about an hour a night (between dinner and Jon Stewart) so I'm happy with the progress.

I also got a little bit finished on Santa since the last update. Not a lot, but again, it was fun to work in larger sections.

It's also been a treat to work on different colors, even if the colors are the neutral browns and tans and the greens. Notice
how the colors of Santa's robe and hat bear a marked resemblance to the color of the hollyhocks? Good thing pink is a favorite color.

In other news, DS1 is trying to start classes again this week. I say trying because, as has happened every semester, he is all set to start when he gets word the class he has registered for has been cancelled. It is particularly frustrating because this is supposed to be his last semester in his quest for a teaching credential. 4 years community college, 2 years university, one year in credential program at one university which he abandoned in disgust. One year "off" during which he got married and worked as a substitute. This year he returned for his second and, we all hope, last year of training. Fortunately, the new university accepted many of his credits. As I said, this is supposed to be his last semester, but now that they've cancelled one of the classes he needs, who knows what will happen. He said he has se
nt out his begging emails (begging other professors to let him into their classes.) Fingers crossed and thinking good thoughts.

They say California is in a teacher crisis with too few qualified teachers. Let me tell them why.

DS2 is getting lots of work this week as a letter carrier with the post office. Originally he told us that he would be trained for one route and when that carrier needed a substitute, DS2 would get to cover for him. However, so far this week he has subbed three other routes in addition to the one for which he was trained. He has never been afraid of hard work and is very responsible so he is
getting more work than he had expected. This is good news.

DH is getting ready to leave for Utah (the rat) for a week's stay. It sounds so cozy to tuck up with a blanket and the fire with the snow sparkling outside (spoken like a true SoCA girl, huh?) I would love the break about now, but I know I have tons of snow in my future. I'll get my fill, I'm sure.

I don't do a lot of lecturing as a rule, but I've been lecturing the last two days in class. Yesterday's topic was frontier expansion and Tecumseh and today was the War of 1812. It was so satisfying. The kids were very attentive both days. Even my sixth period class, which can be really squirrely, was terrific. Of course, the two "lovers" in the class finally got suspended for a day because they refuse to stop making out on campus. This had a subduing effect on all the students as they see the evidence that, yes, the adults are in charge and yes, if you refuse to follow the rules there is a consequence. It does seem sad, though, to suspend kids for something like this when at other schools they are dealing with violence and drugs.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Nirvana or Overload?

Or both?

This weekend was an incredible luxury. From 6pm - 9:30pm Friday, 9 am - 6 pm Saturday, and 9 am - 6:30 pm Sunday I got to learn about a subject that has long fascinated me from a true expert using FACTS and EVIDENCE rather than emotion. The class was small, and the other students absolutely engaged in what we were learning. And there are no term papers and no final exam.

What a fabulous class! Presented by Dr. Julia Coates of the Cherokee Nation, this class is a college level class on the Cherokee people. The good news is that I haven't exactly been teaching the "wrong" stuff all these years (whew, that's a relief) .

In 1987, I returned to college after a fifteen-year absence and changed majors to history with the intent of focusing on Native American Studies and Indian/White Relations. Unbeknownst to me, the professor who ran the - apparently - one-man NAS department at the university I was attending (UCSB) retired the June before I arrived. They brought in a graduate student to teach the one and only NA class that I could take in the two years I was at the university, and that was during my last quarter. Fortunately, I was able to take Dr. Dick Oglesby's series on Westward Expansion, but what he had to share about Native Americans not the same as the in-depth knowledge shared by Dr. Coates this weekend. And Dr. Coates only got up to but not through the Trail of Tears. In two weeks we get to go back for the second session (another 20 hours) to get up-to-date.

Needless to say, NOTHING else got done this weekend. I spent the nights at my folks' house since they live much closer to the site of the class. I'm hoping to FINALLY finish packing up the Christmas decorations this weekend (the goal is always to have them down by Valentine's Day and I may make it this year.) Progress report grades are due tomorrow and I have the final step to do during my work period tomorrow morning. Then I can breathe a LITTLE sigh of relief.

Last week I got quite a lot done on the Hollyhocks cross-stitch. I have found Nirvana. DH and I meet in the family room in the evening. He puts a sporting event of some kind on the television with the sound off. I pick a piece of stitchery to work on. Then, he puts an audio book in his iPod dock and we listen to a book. We just finished Next by Michael Crichton and are starting The God Delusion. It's wonderful to get to "read" and do handwork at the same time.

Anyway, I'll post a pick of the hollyhock progress a little later in the week. Come to think of it, I got something done on Santa since the last pic, too, so I'll have two to share.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Long Weekend

I'll be gone for the weekend. I have an opportunity to take a 40-hour course given by the Cherokee Nation on Cherokee history and whatever. A friend took it several years ago and, when it was finished, told me, "If they come again you HAVE to do this!" So, I am. Friday night 6-9:30 pm, Saturday 9am-6pm and Sunday 9am-6pm. I'll be absolutely worthless as a teacher on Monday, but I'll have lots of good information stuffed in my head. In two weeks we repeat the schedule to finish out the course.

Professionally I'm excited because there are a couple of Cherokee issues that are part of my curriculum. Personally I'm excited because I have family connections to the Cherokee; maybe even Cherokee heritage. I'm hoping that this class will open my mind to some new directions to follow.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Scary Day

I read the most wonderful blog by linnpooh, who shares her journey to good health through weight loss. Linda is an amazing woman who, although she occasionally hiccups on her journey (she's already lost over 100 pounds) manages to find and use the tools she needs to get back on track. I'd love to meet her sometime. She seems so vivacious!

Anyway, I'm stalling. This morning I read that Linda has opened a six-month window of commitment to staying on track with her program. Her well-made point is that the time is going to go by, whether she loses weight or not. I have no doubt that she will be watching the pounds fall off.

I'm stalling again. What I really came here to blog is that (gulp) I've decided to challenge myself to six months on program, too. My program is SparkPeople and I'm sure all the tools are there to see a good result in six months. I've been trying to lose weight all my adult life. It's time to get it over with.

Linnpooh and I share a love of things Disney. Sometime after July 11, I will go to Disneyland and have another picture taken with Mr. Mouse. Here's to Debi not taking up so much of the picture!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Debi's Day at Disneyland

I had the MOST satisfying day at Disneyland! It was cold and threatening rain and people stayed away in droves. It was fabulous!

I got to park in the first row of the Daisy level, got right onto the tram, walked right through security. In California Adventure I waited just long enough in the Soarin' queue to enjoy the music, then went on the ride with "newbies" on either side. What fun that is! People are always so thrilled with what they are experiencing! After leaving Soarin' I headed through EMPTY walkways to California Screamin' (the new RHCP soundtrack is eeeuuuwwwww...) After screamin' I stopped by King Triton's Carousel to take some pictures. I asked the CM if I could just walk around while he unloaded and loaded to take pictures and he stalled a little so I could get what I wanted. I love this carousel! The sculptures have such humor and the colors are magnificent!

Because there were so few people I decided to head into Bug's Land to try to take some pictures. I think this little land (for teeny kids) just may be my favorite for cleverness. It's so darn cute. There were people there, but not enough to get in my way so I was able to take some pictures that I was satisfied with.

First is Flik holding up the sign to his Fair. If you aren't sure how to get there, Manny will lend a hand (or two or three) to help show the way.

I love the way they show us how the bugs make good use of our discards. My favorites, though, are the firefly lamps in the clover forest. One of these days I'm going to have to go to DCA in the evening just to see these lit up!

I get such a kick out of seeing trash used so creatively! The restrooms are a tissue box (note the antennae on the lady). The most impressive of the trash-craft, however, are Flik's Flyers.

After I'd snapped all the photos I wanted, I headed through the practically empty esplanade (where my brick will soon be planted) to my home away from home, Disneyland. I've never seen so few people there! I first went to the Emporium for a 2007 sweatshirt (a hoodie this year!) and a new antenna ball... and some pins... and a lanyard. I returned to the newstand to check my treasures into package check, then headed to Frontierland for new rivets and the Billy Hill and the Hillbillies Show. I rode the Rockin' Space Mountain (not as bad as the Screamin' overlay but still not as good as the original space mountain), took a quick walk to ToonTown, then moseyed to Main Street for DH's traditional gift of fudge (the wonderful Michael the Ragtime pianist was there - such terrific musicality!). I went up to the train station to claim my bench to watch the parade where I met the delightful Princess Emily, age "just turning eight tomorrow some people think I'm a boy but I'm really a girl do you like my hat it has a crown on it and PINK jewels" dressed all in pink ("Sleeping Beauty is my favorite princess 'cause she wears pink") who explained in all seriousness that "some people think dinosaurs and people lived together but dinosaurs were ex-stink a long time before people came." What a darling! Eventually the fickle little thing threw me over for Burt the Chimney Sweep, a seat on the curb for the parade and a CM who took her up the steps to the conductor for her birthday sticker.

After the parade I waited a little while for the flood to dissipate, then headed home.

I love that place.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Stitching Update

I wanted to share that in additon to the Santa stitching that I already posted, I also got some work done on the hollyhocks. I had ordered this chart after seeing it in a catalog. Later I stumbled on a picture online of the original art and noted that the colors in the original piece were more muted than on the cover of the chart. The colors of the original art would be much more appropriate for the room in which I want to hang the finished piece. For the first time ever I can say happily that it appears the final colors on this will not match the picture on the chart, but appear to be the more subdued colors of the original.

I have to tell a funny on myself. One of my xstitchinprogress friends posted a link to a wonderful site called Passione Ricamo. Such romantic designs! The designer offered a delightful fairy as a freechart and, being a fairy collector I, of course, downloaded the free chart. It was done all in one color like a silhouette, and the more I looked at it, the more I could see it as the center medallion of a frilly pillow. However, in my vision I saw the design not in cross stitch, but in filet crochet. Last week I bought a little how-to book on filet crochet, some thread (size 10 as recommended) and a hook (size 6 as recommended.) First I let the book teach me how to do the craft, then set out to start this little pillow sized filet crocheted fairy. I figured out that, to follow the technique in the book, I would need three times the number of boxes on the chart as a started chain, so I started chaining... and chaining... and chaining. And giggling... and chortling ... and guffawing. By the time I had that chain long enough to complete the chart in filet crochet, it was almost five feet long!!! I was going to have to mortgage my house to buy all the thread in the county for this QUILT-SIZED piece of filet crochet. Since then I've bought Cebelia and a MUCH smaller hook and have started a new rendition. It will still be larger than I'd wanted (I think it will fit on a standard sized bed pillow) and I'm thinking of trying to find my tatting thread and my REALLY small hook to see if I can make it smaller). I got such a laugh watching this chain grow and grow and grow.

I finished the handwork on the little quilt for my Mom. Next week I'll go find something to bind it with and get that done.

Friday, January 12, 2007

In case you missed it...

We haven't laughed so hard in weeks. Jon Oliver's comparison of George Bush to Abraham Lincoln (yes, his people are now trying to make that comparison) is hysterical.

By the way, to my conservative friends who think the Bush/Lincoln comparison might be valid, you'll probably want to skip this.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

This was fun

I saw this activity on a couple of favorite blogs and decided to give it a try. It was fun to do.

One Hundred Things About Me

  1. I love orangey roses, especially "Brass Band."
  2. Disneyland is my favorite place to play.
  3. I was jealous of Minnie Mouse when I was little and still have a hard time warming up to the character.
  4. I successfully attracted Monarch butterflies to reproduce in our yard.
  5. Pink is my favorite color.
  6. I don't wear perfume but my favorite fragrance is Canoe, a men's cologne.
  7. I love to collect stuff (faeries, Disneyland memorabilia, Kewpies, Marjolein Bastin knick-knacks and Jiminy Cricket stuff, dolls and teddy bears, Boyd's Folkstone snowmen, Santa Claus figurines, Royal Dalton Brambly Hedge miniature china, miniature Christmas ornaments)
  8. I loved cats my whole life until I spent a year breeding Himalayans.
  9. I love teaching history but am tired of teaching kids.
  10. I have never liked heat or sun; I love rain and cold.
  11. I'm a bleeding-heart, left-wing liberal. Democrats have become too conservative for me.
  12. If I could finish one major project from my stash each year, I would need to live to 106 to empty my stash.
  13. I prefer hand sewing to using a machine.
  14. I rarely complete or frame projects; I just love the process and don't care if anything gets finished.
  15. My two adult sons and one daughter-in-law live with us and I love it!
  16. After a lifetime in Southern California I will move to the Rockies of Northern Utah in seventeen months.
  17. I make porcelain dolls.
  18. I'm a lace doily, ruffled chintz girly-girl stuck for 25 years in a house full of men (did I mention I love having my DIL living with me?)
  19. Chocolate puts a new perspective on just about any problem.
  20. The first romance I remember reading was "Cinderella." I was probably six or seven.
  21. I still love to read romances.
  22. I also like Dan Brown and the Harry Potter books. I want to read The Eldest, sequel to Eragon by Christopher Paolini.
  23. I hate to cook but love to bake.
  24. I make the world's best chocolate chip cookies.
  25. I studied Chado (Japanese Tea Ceremony) for three years.
  26. I married one of my college professors 35 years ago this June.
  27. I'm 13 years younger than my husband.
  28. I like to build things and have, "all by me onesie," built decks, raised planters (wooden and block), trellises and other garden hardscape.
  29. I will spend six hours making one scrapbook layout and love every minute of it.
  30. I take some of my best pictures from the car moving at 70 miles per hour.
  31. The most beautiful piece of music ever written is "Appalachian Spring" by Aaron Copland.
  32. I love the music of Cat Stevens.
  33. A line from Billy Joel's "My Life" had a profound effect on my life ("...Either way it's OK, you wake up with yourself.")
  34. I still grieve for John Denver.
  35. I will read the same book over and over and over...
  36. Same with movies.
  37. The only thing I watch consistently on TV is Stephen Colbert's "The Word."
  38. I listen to whatever my husband is watching on TV while I do handwork.
  39. I don't like even listening to football games (is it over yet?)
  40. Dodger announcer Vin Scully is the voice of spring.
  41. I have an AA in Physical Education and a B.A in History.
  42. My sixth great-grandparents on my father's side are also my sixth great-grandparents on my mother's side, even though my father's parents were from the North (PA) and my mother's from the South (TX and AR).
  43. I like to pull weeds.
  44. I am proud of the violets that have volunteered all over my yard.
  45. I live in one of the areas featured in Disney's Soarin' Over California.
  46. I hate Las Vegas.
  47. Except for Nancy's Quilts.
  48. I love watercolor paintings.
  49. I saw Christo's Umbrellas in California.
  50. I want to see Christo's Arkansas River, CO, work.
  51. I want to go to Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea.
  52. I have no interest in Disneyland, Paris.
  53. Someday I will tour the needlework shops of Great Britain.
  54. I still have a Santa Christmas ornament that my dance teacher gave to me when I was 8.
  55. I love Jesus and believe the world would be a better place if people followed his teachings.
  56. Especially the Christians. I am not a Christian.
  57. The most exciting movie I ever saw was Star Wars in 1977.
  58. I always watch all the credits of a movie because I love the music. Sometimes, like in Pirates..., there's a reward.
  59. When I saw Jurassic Park, it was the first time I heard people applaud the credits.
  60. I used to clog. I loved it until I got heel spurs (fasciitis) in both feet.
  61. I hate talking on the telephone.
  62. My husband uses most of my cell phone minutes because I don't.
  63. Sweet Peas are my favorite flower.
  64. I used cloth diapers on both of my sons.
  65. I will build a green (environmentally responsible) house when I move to Utah.
  66. I will plant my yard with indiginous, xeric plants.
  67. But I will not give up my SUV.
  68. Jack Sparrow is the most fascinating character that's ever been depicted in a movie.
  69. Johnny Depp is strange.
  70. I have never smoked - anything.
  71. I have never drunk anything alcoholic.
  72. I can't stand the bubbles in soda pop so I don't drink colas.
  73. I drink lots of water and sometimes milk but that's about it.
  74. I think the Pledge of Allegiance should be changed to, "...one nation, under the Constitution..."
  75. I've been in or through 28 of the 50 states.
  76. Northeast Kansas is my favorite part of the country.
  77. I've taken eighth-graders to Washington, D.C., four times.
  78. I get tears in my eyes when I see the Constitution at the National Archives - every time.
  79. Broccoli makes me gag, so I refuse to eat it.
  80. I love history so much that I've studied my sons' family history for 25 years and learned that I am part Cherokee an that my earliest immigrant ancestor came to Jamestown in 1622.
  81. I share an ancestor with Thomas Jefferson, Martha Dandridge Custis Washington and Robert E. Lee.
  82. George Bush has the same ancestor; this makes me want to puke.
  83. My favorite holiday is Christmas.
  84. My tree has 1500 colored lights.
  85. My favorite part of Christmas is filling stockings.
  86. I've made fourteen very complex, very beautiful stockings for family members.
  87. I love to decorate for other holidays, too, and have wonderful pieces for Halloween and Easter.
  88. One year on Ostara I put out tiny treats for the faeries. It was the only year the fairy lilies came up and bloomed in that flower bed.
  89. I love the photos by Anne Geddes where she makes sleeping babies into bugs and flowers. I think some of her other work is just creepy.
  90. I can't remember jokes.
  91. If I don't listen to a song all the way to the end, it will get stuck in my head for days.
  92. "It's a Small World" never gets stuck in my head.
  93. I'm a generous person.
  94. I love to give gifts anonymously.
  95. I'm very competitive, but
  96. I'm not a jealous person.
  97. I'm a loyal friend and will work hard to keep in touch with my friends.
  98. Once betrayed, I hold a grudge forever.
  99. I love to hear gossip.
  100. I will keep a secret forever.
  101. I'm astounded that I was able to come up with 100 things to say about myself.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Happy Wiggle

A long way from a happy dance on this one, but I must give myself just a little pat on the back.

I fell in love with this piece in 1992. Even that long ago the chart was too small for me to work comfortably, so I enlarged the chart and cut it into manageable pieces. After several weeks of working two threads on Aida 11 ( if I was going to do all those stitches, this was going to be a BIG piece) I realized I was going to hate the finished product because the coverage was too sketchy. So, I (gulp) trashed the piece, bought some 14 ct. fiddler and started again, this time working with three threads. Tonight I finished the first section of the chart that I had cut apart! I have a couple of challenges when I continue. Over the years of on-again-off-again work on this two corners of the chart disappeared, and somehow, somewhere along the line I managed to lose part of one row. But, once I get the next sections going I should be able to figure out from the original what goes in the corners and then to fill in the missing stitches of the mystery row.

The last few days were pretty frustrating - filling in dozens of half and quarter stitchers here and there. My least favorite part of any chart. I decided that unless it's critical (like the dolly's cheeks or the teddy bear's paw) I'm not doing all those partials. In the meantime, I think I will pick up something easier for the rest of this week to give my eyes (and my nervous system) a little bit of a rest before moving onto the next section.

While I was still focused on this, though, I did pick the next section and do a half-dozen anchor stitches so I know where I am. The next section will finish out Santa's sack and the upper right corner and border.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

R.I.P. Mr. Ford

Gerald Ford was a good man. He was respectful and cooperative. Shouldn't those be minimum quals for President of the United States?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The First Challenge

This is the last day of my winter break and I feel compelled to write about this pad of paper. It is at once the symbol and the cause of my organizational problems and the #1 challenge for the 2007.

I believe that the Flylady system (15 minutes at a time) really does work. My problem is that by the time I get home from work (teaching 8th grade) my brain is fried and I can't (or don't want to) remember what I want to accomplish in 15 minutes. It's too overwhelming.

Obviously, if I'm going to achieve my craft project goals (or landscaping goals or home maintenance goals or any other goals) for the year, I need a plan.

The first part of the plan has to do with the craft projects I want to complete. There is no way I will be doing any real scrapbooking at home this year. I want to work on quilts in my workroom (another part of the problem) and simply don't have worktable space to do quilting AND scrapbooking at the same time. However, two full weekend days each month I can travel to crops where I have plenty of table space to work on. If I have my layouts organized ahead of time, I can get a lot done.

So, off I went to Michael's to buy some layout organizers. As I walked in, I remembered that I had bought some Mary Engelbreit embellishments before Christmas in the dollar bin, so checked to see if they had any more. They didn't, but my eye was caught by this butterfly paper. Turns out to be a pad of 26 weekly charts. I started plotting. For two bucks I could get two of these pads. This would give me enough paper for the year. Each week I could write out not only my exercise reminders and work/meeting schedules, but I could also list the chores that I want to do in my Flylady Fifteens. If I keep the pads themselves in my dayrunner (I use a binder-size notebook style because I need to keep lesson plans and personal commitments in the same place), I can transfer the week's schedule on the weekend, then fill in the Fifteens and take the chart out to hang in my workroom where I will see it each day and be reminded of what I want to accomplish. Sounds good. I bought two pads of charts.

I brought the charts home and proceeded to open them to put in my planner. First, I don't need the heavy cardboard backing with the 9-inch magnetic strip, so I take off the back. Then the charts won't fit in the planner because it's stuffed with papers that I need to weed out. I slip the charts into the planner with the intention of weeding it out today, then reach for the cardboard backing to "fling" it and realize that what I'm holding in my hand is the expensive part of a cross-stitch project card. All I have to do is trim it down, punch some holes along the edge and I have a nice project card with magnet for needles. In fact, since I bought two of them, I have two project cards.

So, where am I now? Instead of getting AHEAD by writing down the Fifteens on the chart so I can complete a chore, I now have more chores!

1. Clean out planner
2. Trim cardboard backing
3. Punch holes in cardboard backing
4. Store new project sheets in cross-stitch storage drawer

This is my life. None of this is "bad" stuff. They're all decent ideas. But one builds on the next and before you know it, instead of spending fifteen minutes taking care of an old chore, I'm spending an hour dealing with the chores I created to help deal with the first.

Not to mention the time spent to post this.

Didn't quite get finished cleaning off my worktable,
one of my chores for the winter break.

Monday, January 01, 2007


Although there certainly were some memorable highlights (Bart and Yuka's marriage, Garrett's graduation, moving forward on relocation to Utah) overall 2006 was not so good. 2008 holds much promise. Here's a wish that 2007 is a beautiful bridge, a terrific transition between the two.

I welcomed in the new year in the best possible way. I was tucked up in my chair - warm and toasty on a rare, chilly SoCA day - with my cross stitch. Larry and I watched the ball fall in Times Square (which means we welcomed in the new year at 9:00 pm PST) and were free to go to bed well before midnight. I was enjoying my cross stitch so much, though, (almost finished the first flower on the hummingbird/hollyhock piece) that I almost made it to midnight CA time stitching away.

Today we'll watch the Rose Parade, then I'll head over to Mom and Dad's for the annual saurkraut feast. Bart and Yuka are in Santa Barbara for a couple of days, goodness knows where Garrett spent the night and Larry is bowing out of the day so it will be pretty quiet for me over there.

It's been a great week after Christmas.