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

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Happy Shuffle

Yes, I actually finished stitching something. I fell in love with this piece by Ayako at Windy Willows (Japan). I'm going to finish it as she did; as a needle keeper. I used a simple Charles Craft fiddler in a yummy green (I bought a roll of it a couple of years ago and never get tired of it) and Gentle Arts Blue Spruce. I was able to finish it tonight because it was either stitch or fall asleep at 7:30. I woke up at 2:30 this morning (after working yesterday, then having a meeting until 5:20 PM, then Open House until 8:15) so today I'm whipped. But if I fell asleep at 7:30 I would be up at 2:30 again and I don't want another day like today so just had to stitch. Ohgeedarn. (I apologize for the picture. I'm not going to mess with it.)

This is the beast that my husband is sitting for a couple of weeks. DH has assured me that it would either be with him or in the dog run out back. As soon as the dog was delivered, DH let it into the backyard (NOT in the kennel) and then could not catch it. It spent its first night tracking from my side of the house to the other side of the house, barking. And barking. Finally stopped at 3:00 am. It sneaks up on me all the time and scares the crap out of me. It's been here three days and I have learned the hard way that if I forget to close my door it will raid the garbage in my room and leave a mess (it's a kleenex terrier, I guess). Here's what I found this morning in the family room when I was getting ready for work:

Definitely makes itself a welcome guest.

My last dog was a 110-pound, male, black and white Akita. When he stood next to me I could lay my hand on his head without bending over (and I'm 5'7"). He started out as my son's dog (I bought him for B--- when B--- turned 15) then, when B--- left for college three years later, he became mine. I definitely developed a bias for big dogs and now this little yippy thing creeps me out. The owner told us it's a rat terrier so I looked up the breed and, sure enough, they are famous diggers. Which means I probably can't plant my flowers in the back this weekend as I'd hoped.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Is there justice?

When we were first married, DH asked me to honor his "first rule of living."

Never presume.

He was referring to having people over. Or going out. Never presume to invite people over without checking with him, first. Never commit him to going out without checking with him, first.

Seems like just good manners to me, although - looking back - I have to say our social life was pretty restricted because of the First Rule.

Now, however, he has connected with some new friends, mostly emancipated foster youth that he works with. I've come home on several Fridays after a long week of teaching middle school to a house full of -surprise!- teenagers.

How relaxing.

Today's surprise is that one of these young people has been informed by her landlord that she has to get rid of her dog. She's moving to a new place in two weeks, but does DH know of anyone who could keep the dog for her for two weeks?

He presumed to commit to keeping the beast here.

Where I'm in the process of planting $200 worth of flowers for DIL's mother's visit.
Where we are still in chaos from the bathroom and mbr rennovation.
Where my stitchery and quilt projects are here and there in their totes all over the family room.

He assures me the animal will be either with him or out in the kennel (left over from our Akita who's been gone five years now.)

OK honey, you take care of it. It stays with you.

It's a little yippy dog.

It is barking.

And barking.

Have fun, dear.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Wonderful News!

My son's best friend Patrick just wrote to announce that he has PASSED THE BAR! WooHoo!

I first fell in love with this boy when, at a party, the then five-year-old Patrick came up to my then six-year-old son (the first time they'd met), took him by the hand and said, "C'mon. Let's play." Their paths crossed from time to time as children and they reconnected in high school.

Patrick decided that one day he will be President of the United States and I would be so proud to vote for him! He is, truly, the most exceptional young man I've ever met. He was president of the California Associated Student Body, then two-year president of the ASB at Berkeley. After a year of law school in Washington, DC, Patrick decided he could not just sit by and watch Americans die in Iraq so he put his education on hold, enlisted in the Army and served a year in Iraq as a combat medic. During that time he was assigned to a unit from Louisiana. The only Democrat in the unit he earned the nickname "Private-Corporal Warm fuzzy." He is so beloved that he was able to open a distribution center (floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall shelving) from the care packages that his friends at home sent to share with his unit. In addition he must have distributed hundreds of soccer balls and sneakers to Iraqi children. When he returned to the States he resumed his law school studies and worked for Senator Diane Feinstein's office where he serves as a laison on veterans affairs (working particularly on post-traumatic stress syndrome issues, which he fights himself.)

Patrick's second piece of great news is that the GI Bill that he's been working on for the last 1.5 years passed the House!

If you would like to help out a truly worth young man with a truly important piece of legislation, please contact your senator and urge them to vote for passage of this GI Bill. Our veterans deserve it!


I've started a few posts in the last few days but won't publish them. They're mostly whiney vents and don't really keep anything moving forward.

If you haven't watched Meet the Robinsons you need to do so. I barely tolerated all but the last ten minutes of the movie, saw the ending and now can't wait to go back and watch it again. Anyway, "keep moving forward" is from the movie.

Bottom line is that it's been a hard year and the last month has been the hardest. Things are not "done." I am drowning in the chaos. I'm going to try for this post to be positive, although my mind is working pretty randomly right now so I don't know how this will turn out.

I've decided I want to go to Nundle. Someday. I've been in or through 28 of the states in the US but have never been out of our borders (Tijuana doesn't count.) With a Japanese DIL I'm confident that I will make that dream come true. Someday. DH lived all over the world as the son of an Air Force Chaplain. He says he's lived in strange places like Japan, French Morocco and Texas. Anyway, we both (coming from completely opposite positions in the world of travel) believe in the importance of travel. However, as a family living for most of the boys' childhoods on one teacher's salary we simply couldn't afford expensive family trips, so we signed the boys up for youth tours. Fortunately, they were four years apart in school so when the oldest had had his trips (German-Speaking Europe, Australia's east coast and European capitals; later he spent his first semester of college in Nepal and India) we could have a break before sending his younger brother (European capitals, Australia/New Zealand, and in his freshman college year he did two weeks in Brazil to study the samba.) I've always wanted to visit Japan, but otherwise was not interested in international travel until I started surfing the stitchery blogs. I think I'd like to do a tour of Europe now with Stitchery as a theme (English, French and Dutch shops for sure). I asked B--- once which, of all the places he'd seen, was a "do it before you die, Mom" destination and he didn't hesitate to recommend Paris (for which, apparently, I first need to lose 150 pounds.) As the boys returned from their trips and shared what they'd done (a process that took years to drag out of them) the most appealing from a tourist standpoint was Australia, but it's only been recently that I've really wanted to see it for myself. So, someday I want to sign up for this retreat in Nundle. Dang, it really looks like fun!

For truly mindless fun get a Webkinz pet.

I have about $145 worth of bedding flowers to plant this week. Naturally, it's the hottest weekend of the season but I'm still happily anticipating getting everything in. My SIL called DH on Mother's Day for directions to the most fabulous nursery in our area because they had called her to tell her they had a shipment of apricot foxglove in. I was on my way out the door and would drive right by the nursery so stopped by to say hello and ended up getting a ponypac of apricot foxgloves AND...

Let's see. Santa Barbara daisies (a creeping thing), viola, cosmos, a miniature pentstemon, a dark purple salvia and a gold basketflower.

Full-size pentstemon, Rocky Mountain Columbine, delphinium and heliotrope for the fairy garden. The apricot foxglove will go there, too. I figure to kill the dephinium and foxglove because good intentions do not keep the plants watered. The others may make it. Wave petunias in the most gorgeous pink for the front courtyard bed (to one side of the pond) with more heliotrope and pentstemmon. On the other side of the pond the purple salvia, blanketflower and daisies with some little yellow thing that the nurserywoman assured me was a treasure. Pink Gerbera Daisies, verbena and that little petunia-looking thing that I can never remember the name of will go in the back garden with a coreopsis and blue salvia where the plumbago groundcover is spreading. The miniature pentstemon is destined for that spot as well.

The first volunteer sweet peas have bloomed which is promising for the early summer. If I can get my son to deadhead them for me while I'm on vacation I might have them all summer and be able to harvest seed again.

I started on the pond last week and it was an adventure. I had purchased a yellow iris which (horrors!) had a cattail in it. Three years later the cattails are choking out my lily (with no sign of the yellow iris). The whole collection had to come out and, of course, their roots were intertwined with each other AND two rocks and three bricks that had fallen into the pond.

While shopping for last weekend's "bash" I managed to buy myself some gifts. The Hanes outlet store in our local outlet center was loaded with ginormous bras and I was like the proverbial kid in the candy store. Got the most gorgeous pink bra and gift cards for Mom and Sis. Went to Borders for a gift card and bought myself the new Nora Roberts. Have to re-read Blood Brothers (first in the trilogy) to refresh my memory on the characters before reading The Hollow. Went to Costco and bought His Dark Materials. Had listened to the audio of The Golden Compass and enjoyed it so much was hoping to get the other two books in audio but couldn't find them. May have to (gasp) actually read these, too. Maybe I'll put them on my birthday list.

Here is my progress on something.

It's a small project by Windy Willows and I'm loving the fabric (I have a ton of this green fiddler cloth) and the variegated floss. Just wish I had more oomph.

Finally, my most recent visit to the cardio office (will this never end?) was fine. Got to meet the tight-assed nurse practitioner. Almost an hour later I had him confessing his sins and actually grinning. Just a talent I have. I quit the Lipitor after the pain (which started as leg pain that woke me up at night and gradually progressed to every joint in my body) so we're starting something else. Another motivation to exercise; he thinks if I lose some weight and exercise I will not only lower my heart rate but will probably be able to drop the cholesterol drugs.

There, that wasn't so bad. Tomorrow I tackle the chaos again but this was nice therapy.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Still Breathing

The house (well, my life in general) is still in chaos but I can check something off every day. Unfortunately, for every item I check off it seems something else is added but hey, that's life, huh?

So, yesterday was the annual Mother's Day/Birthday Bash at my brother and sister-in-law's house. We were celebrating birthdays for my brother, sister-in-law, sister and nephew as well as Mother's Day for my mom. One of the highlights of the day for me is the tour of the garden. My sister-in-law grows some flowers that are a challenge in her climate and this year hit it big with her columbine, foxgloves and delphinium which - after years of struggle - have rewarded her with a huge display. Just gorgeous. She has even tucked two little lilacs into a shady spot and we'll see how they do for her.

We've had really exciting news! DIL's mother will be coming for lunch June 7. It puts the pressure on to get the place habitable again, but that's OK. We're just excited to be able to finally meet her. She loves gardens and I was inspired by my SIL to invest in flowers, which I hope to get into the ground before they die this time. Sigh.

Anyway, I don't really have time for much of a post but wanted to share my crop project from yesterday. Has virtually nothing to do with scrapbooking but turned out so cool I have to share it!

Several weeks ago I visited this post. Since I keep my patterns in these white binders, my fairly worn-out brain started working on a way to liven them up. I thought I had a couple of old Marjolein Bastin calendars somewhere (please! please! I've been flinging like crazy and just might have thrown them out finally.) I found them fairly easily (hooray) and converted my two overfilled binders of cross-stitch charts and embroidery patterns into this:

Yeah, the picture is pretty crummy but you get the idea. I typed up the label part on the computer using text boxes. Cut the calendar picture into four pieces (for these binders the strips were about 2.25" but I had to finagle them a little at the last minute). Glued the picture strips onto the label strips and voila!

My mind boggles with the possibilities. Imagine a kid's favorite team along the spines of his/her baseball card collection (or Star Wars picture along the spine of the Star Wars trading card collection) or Disney posters for my collection of Disney paper or Kewpies for the Kewpie paper collection or - well, you get the idea.

Quilt binders next (Cedar Waxwings this time, I think.)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

He's baaaa-aaaccckk

G--- got moved back in.

Sort of.

We still need to install the baseboards so he put his mattress in the middle of the floor and stacked his worldly belongings on top. He's sleeping on the sofa at night.

I painted the baseboards last night as well as touching up the inside of the closet. I dunno, something about painting inside a closet at night in a room with no light doesn't lend itself to the best outcome when you're working with a roller. I touched up the closet with a brush and painted the baseboards for the closet, too (not fancy like these) so we should be able to install them today.

Then the lad can unpack and set up the room the way he wants it. The doors and door trim still have to be painted (they're primed), all the electric covers put on and the windowsill varnished before the room is really "done". Historically around here those are the kinds of finishing chores that will still be undone in five years

The tile work is almost done in the shower. After the disaster of the acrylic pan (they don't make them our size anymore) I panicked when I learned that they don't make shower doors our size anymore, either. The contractor calmed me down and told me to just buy the larger size and he would cut it down. The doors will pass more (which will make cleaning a tad more challenging) but this is do-able.

This is as close as I came to my dream of taking pictures of the completed, EMPTY room. It was only empty for a couple of hours - and still not completed - before G--- started moving in.

The rest of my house looks like one of those TV shows where they visit a hoarder's home. Piles of stuff everywhere with paths through it. I'm just hoping that once G--- is "in" and the contractor's are "out" we have enough wiggle room to put everything back to rights before June 7.


Oh, and no stitching has occured.