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, December 31, 2009


Happy to see you go.

December 31, 2009

Actually, I've been trying today to reflect on the past year and find the positives. Here are some I've come up with.

For all his faults and expense, Dodger is really a very nice dog. The older he gets, the easier he is to live with. He's very loving and he does want to please.

I finished redecorating my room and still love it. I continue to tweak issues but overall it is working well for me.

I ordered three brugmansia rooted cuttings from Kartuz Greenhouses last spring (or was it summer? I forget.) They have grown into very promising plants, already almost two feet tall. I'm optimistic that they will form a "wall" separating the fairy garden from the work area that I've planned.

I got a new principal this year. She is an old friend (we started teaching at this school together 18 years ago) with a "get it done" attitude. It's refreshing, although, as I told her, I'm not sure I have the energy to have my butt kicked into excellence again.

I completed a small McKenna Ryan piece for my daughter-in-law for Christmas. My "new" Bernina (I've had it three years+ but have so rarely used it that I feel like it's new) did a great job; not a single skipped stitch or wad of thread under the piece. Such a unique experience.

(oops, I forgot to take a picture before I gave it to her. This is the promo picture from McKenna Ryan's Pine Needles site.)

Enjoyed escaping reality into two terrific movies this year. Star Trek earlier in the year and Avatar in the last week.

Also enjoyed escaping reality by visiting Disneyland. To celebrate the opening of The Princess and the Frog (which I have not seen yet) they have had a spectacular new show called "Tiana's Showboat Jubilee." Like a dose of pure energy!

Facebook! What a fun place to hang out. I feel so fortunate to connect up with old friends of my sons (Loren, Warren, Shelly, Kevin, Cameron and others who have now become my friends, too), old friends from here (Chiloe, Sam, Missy and Paige) and new friends from a variety of places (Carrie Sue, Lillian, Michael) whom I may have completely missed out on if we had not corresponded on Facebook. (It would, however, probably be a good idea to lose the addiction to FarmVille, Fish Isle, Happy Aquarium, Happy Pets...)

What Went Right Today?

Shopping expedition went splendidly. B&N had ONE copy of The Art of Avatar left for me. With our membership I got it at a 30% discount. Also bought three British cross stitch magazines. Don't really need new charts but look forward to the inspiration as the new year begins.

Next stop, Salzer's. B&N did not have the Avatar score but Salzer's did. Very nice youngster looked it up and they, too, had one left. Someone had hidden it in another slot but Nice Youngster was onto the trick and flipped back until he found it for me. Had a very nice conversation about the movie (during which I convinced him that he would not even notice it was a two-hour-and-forty-minute movie).

Then over to the restaurant supply where I found a skinny brush with which to clean my drink straws. Still amazed that I can't buy these anywhere.

Home Depot was the next place on my list. Got a dozen blocks for the fairy garden.

January 2, 2010

Had a quiet New Year's Eve here at home with my Avatar score and magazines. Watched Anderson and Kathy bring down the ball in NY then hit the sheets in CA (EST close enough for me).

New Year's Day was a trip to Simi for the traditional German good-luck-in-the-new-year saurkraut dinner. My Sister and BIL did the cooking this year and it was delicious. Sadly, my stomach is getting old and I left most of my dinner on the plate (which, now that I think of it, is probably something to cheer, not lament).

I spent the night at my folks' house so that I could to to lunch today with my SIL at her friend's house. The three of us are all gardeners and it was great inspiration to enjoy her garden tour. I look forward to getting my garden whipped into shape so that I can reciprocate.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Not quite buried.

A little afraid of 2010.

2009 looked so promising. By August of 2008 I was happily pronouncing that 2008-2009 was going to be my year!

Never tempt the fates.

I stopped by because I noticed a few old friends continue to drop by. I appreciate your friendship.

Although I am currently enduring a cold (at least, I THINK it's just a cold), my internist pronounced me, "on paper, in great health." Still have over 100 pounds to lose, still have high blood pressure. But the drugs that control the BP are still in the lower ranges. My bad cholesterol is a little high, but my good is so high that my "risk ratio" of the two is in the low-average range. No diabetes (always surprised me since I feel like chocolate is my primary food group sometimes.)

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and new year. I'm hoping 2010 sees us all in an upswing.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

In and then out.

I haven't been coming here because I'm a downer. Even to myself.

I injured my hip (or back) last summer doing my room renovation and just when I think it's getting better, get into a situation where I have to climb a step or two and I'm back in pain again. Will have to make doctor's appointments next week and am not looking forward to having this be the focus of my life.

Our condo still hasn't sold. We have gone through what was left of our savings paying property taxes on it and the lot on which we had hoped to build our primary residence two years ago. We are having to face the reality that our dream is dead. Again, many thanks Bush/Cheney.

I was heartbroken when my older son told us that he and his wife are going through the paces to move to Japan next fall. Even more heartbroken that I cannot not find any words to encourage this descendant of Founding Fathers to stay in his country. There is simply nothing for him here but an educational system with no future and a healthcare system under which two healthy people in their 30s cannot afford to start a family.

The dog walks funny with one leg shorter than the other but is otherwise strong and sassy. I hope he lives long enough for me to pay off the bills for his summer surgeries.

Overall my students are fine this year (except for sixth period where one of the gruesome foursome threw a chair last week). Their breastfeeder parents are driving me mad. I'm amazed some of these kids ever learned to walk.

Sincerely hope anyone who stops by is doing better than I.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

It's been a while.

Just dropped in for an update.

I'm reminded of the old serials. "In our last episode..."

In my last episode, I had just returned from a solo vacation in Utah. This wrapped up a challenging summer during which I tripped from caring for an injured dog to three-day-a-week Grand Jury duty to trying to fix up a nest for myself at home.

In this week's episode...

Dodger seems to have recovered pretty well from his broken legs. So, well, in fact, that my husband has a hard time walking him. He isn't very well trained (the husband, not the dog) and doesn't INSIST that the dog behave himself on walks. So, the dog pulls DH around with those new-and-improved legs of his. Anyway, as you can see, he is back to his old self.

The Grand Jury experience ended with a half-day on the last day. In the last case we heard (and we heard over 200 cases) testimony included what had become our favorite line: These aren't my pants. We said goodbye over Black Angus burgers. I'm still facebook friends with a couple of the jurors but - as in most lifeboat situations - don't really expect to see any of these people again.

I'm very pleased with how my room turned out and will now bore you silly with my before and after pictures.

This space...

and this space...

...now look like this.

My work space has moved to the other side of the utility cabinet like this:

And continues around the corner into my scrapbook work space.

This space

now looks like this

and like this

I've really needed an "operations central" space, a space to leave my purse and tote overnight. A space to keep my glasses, keys and watch together so that I don't waste ten minutes every morning trying to track them down. And a space to keep the flotsam, stuff that I intend to deliver to family members the next time I see them. That's what these boxes are for. I have one for my parents, one each for my brother and sister and their families, and one for my son and his wife. So far this has worked out beautifully. As long as I can remember to check the boxes on my way to the car, I can get the stuff to its rightful owners.

Chiloe, see my fairy? I love the way she looks here and am still grateful to you for introducing me to Nimue.

This space (over the new scrapbooking area)

now looks like this.

I haven't finished filling and arranging the cabinets, yet, but I'm really enjoying having My Pretty Things behind glass where they aren't being covered in dust.

I must take this moment to brag unashamedly. I did virtually all the work on this room myself. My son did help me hang the corner cabinet (yeah, IKEA!) because I couldn't see the bolt holes in this oddly shaped box. He also painted the space over the cabinets on the other wall because I couldn't reach it. Everything else I did and I'm especially proud of these cabinets. I think they look fantastic, especially against that gorgeous green.

A few things I like a LOT:

I really like the way my white fairy house looks against this green paint. (I do wish, though, that the person who made this had been more careful with the mounting hardware. The wall screws are on the level but the hardware is not so it hangs a tad crooked.)

I finally got my hummingbird framed. The original of this piece by Kory Fluckiger of Ogden, Utah, took my breath away when I first saw it. There was no way I could afford the original, so I had to wait not-so-patiently for it to sell, then for Kory to make prints. I was lucky, though, to have communicated with him early so that I scored the first in the limited edition. As always, I wish I was a better photographer. This photo does neither the art nor the framing justice (the mat is a gorgeous green, not that washed-out taupe).

I love this shelf inside the utility cabinet.

All of my chargers are together and their nasty cords tucked away.

There is plenty of room in this cabinet for my warmies, my binders of audiobooks and photo cds, my Disneyland lanyards and pins - just all kinds of goodies.

For storage...

...I used these white, assembly-required storage units throughout the room. These are stacked underneath and supporting the scrapbook workspace. There's another stack on the side of the bed serving as a nightstand. LOTS of storage. In fact, I have empty drawers! I covered most of them with glass so now I don't have to worry about where I set my water glass.

Finally, I love my Disney prints (although, sadly, because of the cabinets I ran out of wall space for my Disneyland 50th print by Thomas Kinkade.) I was able to use my Tinkerbell print (I framed it myself using the cover of a book on faeries. I messed up the mats, but fell in love with the wonky arrangement so left it that way.) The other piece is an original by my daughter-in-law. You might recognize a stylized Minnie Mouse with a distinct Japanese flair. I am so inspired by this piece, and flattered that my DIL would take the time to create something so intricate for me.

And that completes the tour. The puppy hangs out with me a lot in here and - since the day I cleaned the carpets two weeks ago - has defiled the carpet by grinding two snails sneaked in from the garden and throwing up on it four times. Other than that, the room is working out perfectly for me.

There are a few things still to do.

I've decided to take this window out of here. I'll replace some of the dried out used-to-be-pink rosebuds and replace them with autumn flowers, then hang the whole thing in the family room.

Bragging again, but I love the way my birdies turned out. Design by Valerie Pfieffer.

I won this watercolor of Matilija Poppies for $60 - framed - at a Democratic Party auction a few years ago. When I finish Firefly Faeries, the poppies will move down into the empty space and the Faeries will preside over the room from the upper space.

There's also a space for this when it's completed:

All things considered, I'm pretty proud of what I accomplished this summer in spite of all the pitfalls.

Please help me think good thoughts for the year to come.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Disney Rush

Anyone who can't understand a Disney Geek going over and over and over? Here it is. Wonderful fan video.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Home to the Trenches.

Picked up my keys and saw what I was teaching.

Grade 8 American History. Thank goodness.

Got home late yesterday afternoon from Utah. Made it all the way to Ick Santa Clarita before having a problem. Won't go into the details except to say they're "improving" the highway and eliminated my usual offramp into the San Fernando Valley. For about 20 minutes I felt like Charlie on the MTA. But, it worked out and I was able to find my way to the Joann in Porter Ranch where the plastic project holders I needed to finish my storage unit were on sale, 40% off. Now, that's the way to end a vacation.

It was a great trip. Too much retail therapy (especially on top of Dodger's vet bills) but I don't care. I found a lot of great scrapbook paper for my son's books. Now that all the specialty shops in my county have closed all I have is Michael's, and we don't - shall I say - have the same "vision". Didn't get as much fabric as I have in the past, which is good because I'll never use all I have now and have no space to store more.

I did buy this at the Cracker Barrel on the way home:

Not a great picture but you get the idea. It's a business card holder, but is doing a fine job os holding papers that I need to type into the computer.

Kim's doing a "finish things up" promotion and so I will post these, although I don't think it's what she had in mind:
I hauled these up to Eden with me for framing. I love the way they turned out and can't wait to hang them in my "new" nest.

My stay in Eden was perfect. I drove up craving solitude and pretty much just tucked into the condo where I stitched a couple of days, sewed one day, read, worked crossword puzzles, napped. One day I watched the entire season of Firefly (plus Serenity). I also watched Coraline and Knowing. I was there for nine days and spent seven of them as described. Other than the movies and about ten minutes cumulative of news, the TV was off. No TV, no phones. Just blissful quiet.

We have a little man-made stream outside the family room that makes lovely music.

Saturday was the first scheduled day of the Ogden Valley Balloon Festival. Unfortunately, it had rained during the night so they canceled the launch Saturday morning. The rain eventually cleared up, but by then the wind was up so no balloons Saturday. Cool thing about storms in Eden - you are in the cloud. Can be pretty awesome sometimes, but this time was just drizzly and very wet. I'm sure the pilots were worried about lightening, too.

Sunday morning, though, was perfect and I could watch from the balcony. In years past they have launched and flown up the valley toward that divide (the one behind the clouds in the picture above). But last year the people who live at that end of the valley complained (go figure) so they just kind of hovered about the launch field, then flew the other direction. That really is more beautiful to watch because Snowbasin is in the background and they fly over the lake. But I was too lazy to get my shoes on, get in my car and drive around to where I could see that. A really good place to watch will be the deck of our house if (when! when!) we get it built.

I actually laughed out loud when I saw this one:

Want a better view?
Cracked me up. First year I've seen this guy.

Trip home was relatively uneventful. Stayed the night in St. George and somebody banged on my locked motel room door a couple of times. I figured it was kids. Once I calmed down from the surprise it was fine.

Got home to Mr. Innocent here.

Remember the tear in the carpet. We kept his bed over it so that he - we thought - would forget about eating the delicious padding. DH has caught him more than once dragging his bed off the wound and digging up more padding to chew on.


My room is almost done. This is the last space that I will work on:

One more coat of green and then I can start the actual organizing in time for school to start Monday. DS2 has already been paid to do the space over the cabinets. At 6'6", he has the reach to do this that I don't, especially since I'm enjoying not being in pain from ladder climbing.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Just checking in.

Left August 7 for a solitary trip to Eden. Using my netbook for a quick check-in. There may be a way to post pictures from here but I haven't figured it out yet.

Took two days to drive up, which gave me time for a "rest stop" at my favorite quilt shop in Springville (Corn Wagon Quilts). This trip has also included a visit to Gardiner's Sew and Quilt in Ogden and Quilter's Haven in Bountiful (I walked out of Quilter's Haven with nothing, if you can believe it.) Have also visited one of the local Robert's craft stores (I need one of those) and Heartland Paper, a spectacular scrapbook shop (also in Bountiful). I've done some chores like arrange to have the condo re-keyed (not done yet) and have my wheels balanced and aligned (that is done). And I went to the local $3.00 theater one afternoon to see STAR TREK again.

Mostly, though, I've just been holed up. I mounted and framed two pieces (the fairy is framed, Chiloe!). My thanks to Vonna for her framing tips. I spent one whole day at the sewing machine working on the nativity scene wallhanging. I love how it's turning out (follow the Paper Panache link if you want to see what it looks like) but as a completely non-visual person it's a very difficult process for me. It's taking forever because I do so much ripping and re-sewing. Anyway, I've done some reading and worked a few crossword puzzles. Have hardly turned on the TV (checked CNN just long enought to learn nothing's changed) choosing instead to just relish the quiet. We have a little stream outside the living room that makes great music.

I'll be here three more days and really don't have any plans beyond working on Firefly Faeries (my Utah project). This is the weekend of the Ogden Valley Balloon Festival. I've been here a full week now, and the weather has been spectacular. Today was the first scheduled flight and it's been raining for hours. I feel sorry for the pilots. Maybe they need to move the date up to earlier in the month. One of the things I like about coming up here at this time of year is that it is definitely early fall here. And it seems that more and more the festival balloons can't fly because the fall storms are moving in.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

IAVA's Patrick Campbell on the launch of NewGIBill.org

So proud of you, Patrick.

Why do you stitch?

Musings from a Three-Bedroom Ranch

is asking. Go tell her what you think.

1)Why do you stitch?

Cross stitch is the perfect level of mental involvement for relaxation. It takes just enough concentration to keep me from fretting about anything else, not enough to create stress. Mostly, though, I love working with the colors of the fibers and watching something fun and/or lovely develop one section at a time.

2) On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being least important and 10 being most important what is your cross stitch passion level?

Probably about a 7. I don't make time for it every day (or even every week) but if I'm going to do anything crafty, it's usually stitching.

3)If you're only option for cross stitch supplies and patterns happened to be the major chain craft stores would you just walk away from the little X? Kiss it goodbye?

No. Michael's and internet are my only options as far as I know. There was a needlepoint/cross stitch shop in a neighboring town, but the people always offended me so I stopped going to it. I always joke that my local needlework shop is 800 miles away because I save up my specialty needs until I can get to my condo in Utah which is in the same neighborhood as Shepherd's Bush. I tend to get DMC at Michael's but charts at Shepherd's Bush or online.

I think a smart small business owner can compete with the big chains, but they have to be careful about their stock. You're not going to make it as a needlework shop owner selling floss for 69 cents a skein when Michael's sells it for 39. However, you can offer spectacular charts and fabrics and SERVICE that Michael's will never match.

4)Also are you so passionate about cross stitch that if indeed your only option was the major chain craft stores, would that inspire you to create your own cross stitch pieces because you have to stitch and you've stitched your way through the whole of Dimensions catalog--because you must stitch and the thought of life without a relationship with the little X leaves you feeling empty?

Probably not. I've often lamented that although I'm an excellent craftswoman, I'm not an artist. I don't tend to have a creative vision. It doesn't really bother me, though, because I have so many charts on file right now that I'd love to do someday that I'll have to live to be 200 to even make a dent. Don't think it's going to be an issue for me.

5)Finally what do the cross stitch magazines on the market offer you? Do they relate to you as a cross stitcher? Do you look at them and think to yourself, who do they think buys this magazine? I guess what I'm asking, when you see the current cross stitch magazines do they make you feel like they know their readers or do you find it's more of the same? What could they do to be ambassadors for the art of cross stitch other than putting a sampler on the cover with "F-U" on it? What are we missing on a PR level that could change the opinion of cross stitch itself?

As my husband always says, "That's why there's chocolate and vanilla." I'm very careful to check through magazines (for any craft) these days. My rule of thumb is that if I browse through and see two articles that I might do someday, I'll buy the magazine. Most magazines don't meet that standard. But I guess they offer something for someone.

I tend to buy more of the UK magazines than American because they tend to have a larger selection of designs that appeal to me.

I think part of my problem is that my "style" seems to be "out" right now. I have a hard time finding quilting fabric, too, because I didn't like retro when it came around the first time. Lime green? Really?

Frankly, I think the biggest threat to the craft world is the computer. I spend hours right here that I could spend stitching or piecing (or cleaning or weeding...) And I already love handwork and already have tons of supplies at the ready. The new generation of stitchers is sitting in front of a monitor playing video games and their moms - tired from a full day at work - don't have the time or energy to drag them out and put a needle in their hands.

6) And finally, finally, do you do other crafts and if so what are they and why do they pull you away from cross stitch?

I also do what they are calling "primitive" embroidery, quilting, dollmaking. I used to do ceramics. What pulls me away from cross stitch, though, is the condition of my house coupled with my exhaustion at the end of a day from my job. Most nights I'm too tired to pick up a needle. If I'm not too tired to stitch, I can't find what I need to do anything because the house is such a mess. I either end up trying to clean a little or, more often, just give up and fall asleep in front of the TV or come back here to the electronic sanctuary.

Monday, August 03, 2009


One inch at a time.

Sometimes one inch forward, three back but overall I feel like I'm getting there.

Today I finished this cabinet installation:

I had brought it home Saturday morning, but it needed a lot of finagling before I could call it done. I replaced the nickel door pulls with these acrylic pulls (looking for glass next - these were labeled "glass" but were not) and on the inside had to cut out part of the back to make space for the outlet and surge protector. Also had to mount an earthquake anchor on the back since this is not a top quality piece of furniture and was trying to tip every time I opened two doors at once.

I was really excited about this cupboard because I had planned all along to do this:

I now have a safe, central spot to close in all my chargers. It drove me nuts trying to get my electronics all charged, and I never quite found just the right power strip for all of them. These little charger docks were a real find at Staples. $2.99 each, each one has three outlets - spread out so transformers actually FIT - inside and ties to bundle the cords. Then there are those slider things on the top so that you can secure your item to be charged on top.

I'm really about finished with creating-assembling-installing the storage in this room. Now I need to move everything back in and clear the space for my son to finish removing wallpaper and painting the last section.

Also have a couple of stitcheries to frame for in here and will post a picture when I get that chore finished.

In puppy news, tomorrow we drop Dodger at the clinic for his final series of x-rays and - we hope - the all clear to let him have more freedom.

Last week I drove to Costa Mesa - about two hours from here - to buy a small desk at the IKEA store there. My timing was all messed up and I ended up having to face the 405 Freeway at 4:30 in the afternoon. 4:30 is the beginning of the rush hour in SoCA (usually from about then to 7:00 pm you can count on bumper-to-bumper traffic. Old Joke: "Why do they call it the 405? Because you only go 4 o' 5 miles per hour." Too true. I didn't want to sit for three hours on the freeway so set off to find a theater to kill some time. Instead I went to Macaroni Grill and treated myself to a yummy dinner, then went to a Barnes & Noble where I bought this book on audiobook:

REALLY a fun read! Well, a fun listen, anyway. I figured I could go ahead and get on the freeway and even if I got stuck (which I never did), I could at least be listening to a good story. And a good story it is! The history is very well done and there is a sweet romance, a light mystery (you know wh0 done it) and MAGIC. I love MAGIC books. My bedtime reading is Diana Gabaldon's Outlander, which came highly recommended but is, at least so far, a bit of a snoozer. Which is maybe a good thing, since it's my bedtime reading.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Life's Lessons.

When I was in my teaching credential program, the most profound lesson I learned has come back to me if not daily, certainly several times each year.

It's as if each person, the teacher shared, is born with a baggie. Each time something positive happens in that person's life, they add chips to their baggie. Whenever something negative happens, they lose chips.

Some students have baggies just stuffed with chips. These are the students who are willing to take a risk and raise their hand to participate. If they give a wrong answer or say something that elicits an unwanted laugh, they will lose some chips but they have so many it won't really matter.

Other students - for more reasons than I could begin to list - have few to no chips in their bag. They are not about to risk the few they have. So, they will not volunteer to participate unless they are pretty confident that, at least this once, they are correct. If that participation is rewarded with chips and they are more likely to try that again.

My bag has been feeling pretty light for some time now.
Big thanks to my family for making sure I got some chips today.

and on.... and on... and on...

Yard sale for husbands.

Last week Kim's husband put a red-white-and-blue quilt in the laundry. With a red bedskirt. If you want to read the rest, head on over. She was understandably upset.

And so, yesterday, I came home to this:

Not sure what you're seeing? Let me help.

I had just finished my last day of jury duty and had driven home singing happy little "it's over" songs, looking forward to moving ahead with my room project. Once it's done I can move in everything that's been stashed here and there - including in this family room. I figured I'd finish by this afternoon, giving me tomorrow morning to spiff up this room for a visit from my son and DIL.

DH was on puppy duty. Usually the puppy just sleeps when DH has duty so I don't know why he moved him but move him he did. In addition to the ginormous crate that we've had in the family room for going on two months now as Dodger recuperates from his surgeries, we had his usual bed (a big round one from Costco) surrounded by his exercise pen. Most mornings I let him out of the crate for an hour or so by keeping him on a leash but letting him play out in the family room with this toys. Sometimes I put him in the ex pen with a toy. But I never take my eyes off him because - bored and bratty as he's been - I never know what he's going to get into next. DH put him in there yesterday. He swears the dog was only in there for fifteen minutes but clearly DH wasn't WATCHING him. Hello? Because Dodger dug up the carpet UNDER the bed.

At first look it seems like this is something that could be repaired with a little carpet tape. However, the little darling didn't stop with ripping up the carpet.

Yes, that's a dustbin full of little pieces of Extrordinaire carpet pad. Best you could buy. Guaranteed for two lifetimes.

Unless your dog eats it.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Learn from my mistake.

Do you ever watch Clean House?

Or any of the other "I'm a slob/hoarder please help me get rid of this stuff" shows? I like them because they make me feel like I'm not too far gone. But after finding what I found this evening, I'm thinking I should re-evaluate that.

Our house isn't huge. It was supposed to be our "starter" house at 1150 square feet. Within 18 months of moving in, SoCA real estate had appreciated so much that we couldn't even have qualified for our own little house, much less anything bigger, so we settled in. Eight years later we were expecting our second child in our three bedroom house (I had already given up my sewing room and now DH was having to give up his office, a tough move for a college teacher). We decided a solution would be to add on a huge family room (almost 300 sq. ft), the best thing we ever did. DH got to keep his office and I moved my craft supplies into a corner of the family room.

Over the years we moved things around and moved things around as the kids grew. When son one left home for college, I moved my sewing stuff into his old room. It's the smallest room in the house at 10 x 10. I kept his bed in there for when he would come home for visits, which didn't leave a whole lot of room for me. Then, a few years ago DH was complaining (continually) that my snoring was keeping him awake. (We won't talk about his snoring waking me at 4:30 every morning.) He asked if it would be all right, if he couldn't sleep, if he went into my room and slept in my son's bed. I said I didn't think that would work because I still teach - he is retired - and I am up on the computer every morning at 5:30. That night I moved into this little room to sleep.

I couldn't believe how refreshed and - well - happy I was when I woke up the next morning. It took me a couple of days to figure it out but I did. My husband is addicted to crime and forensics shows, and every night I was falling to sleep to tales of blood and abuse and sadness. I figured out that my mind was spinning that information all night so that I woke up depressed every day. Once I was falling asleep to peace and quiet I slept better and woke happier. I've been here ever since.

I sleep fine, but it sure is crowded. I just haven't been able to find any arrangement of furniture in this little room that gives me space to even get dressed in the mornings, much less work on any of my beloved crafts. So, I thought all this year about how I would set this place up if I started from scratch. I saved my "extra" money and was looking forward to finally pulling together a room that was everything I wanted it to be.

And then I got put on the criminal grand jury, now up to three days a week.

And then the dog broke two of his legs and has required nearly constant attention in one form or another since June.

This project that I have looked forward to for so long has become something I do in short pieces of time, and so it has gone very, very slowly.
For several years my stitchery has lived in tote bags under my roll-top desk in the family room. However, when the puppy joined the family in March, those totes were quickly moved up on top of the desk, where they have been ever since. The project I had been working on at the time of this move had lived on a chart stand next to my chair, but the dog kept knocking it over so I picked it up, stacked it on the rack and set it on the rolltop, too. I have had NO time for any stitchery.

So what's the point? What's my mistake?

My organization project is to the point where I'm ready to bring my stitchery from the family room into my "new" room. I just about cried when I picked up the project I had been working on when the bottom fell out of my life.

Several years ago I attended a CATS vendor show in Burbank and found this gorgeous linen. It's hard to see in this picture but it was a yummy blue opalescent that screamed winter to me. I brought it home and saved it for just the right piece. A couple of years ago one of the British cross stitch magazines had a chart that I thought would be perfect for this fabric, and I got a good start on it.

Do you see what happened? Did I mention that my rolltop desk sits under a skylight? The blue that you can see in this picture is what was hidden under the q-snap clips. The rest of it was in a plastic craft bag but clearly not protected from the bright light and has faded away.

I'm not going to finish this. The company from whom I bought the fabric is still in business (I hope) and I'll send them a piece of this and ask if they can send me a replacement.

I quickly inventoried everything else (my heart stopped when I wondered where my Firefly Faeries were) but it appears it's all OK. Lesson learned. Nothing lives under the skylight if I care whether it fades or not.

Rowlf on The Jimmy Dean Show

Not totally deranged.

TV Memories.

From time to time I get into conversations with people about old television shows. I guess my family had different TV tastes because most of my favorite TV shows bring blank looks from the others.

One in particular has had me really doubting myself.

My family used to watch the Jimmy Dean Show every week and my favorite character was Rowlf, a brown puppet dog that played the piano and sang with Jimmy Dean. When Sesame Street characters came onto the scene I would say things like, "Oh, that's the same guy who did Rowlf," and people would look at me like I was nuts. In today's conversations, nobody remembers Rowlf and I've even had people argue with me that Sesame Street was Jim Henson's first TV show.

I love the internet for solving this kind of conflict.

From Wikia Entertainment:

Rowlf's tenure on The Jimmy Dean Show allowed Jim Henson, for the first time, to develop an original character over a period of time. In addition to providing national exposure for the Muppets, it also brought a steady source of income that allowed Henson to develop and finance other projects.

Actually, Rowlf was one of the Frank Oz-voiced characters.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Nothing New to Report


Dog is progressing. Dog is tired of being in crate. I am tired of getting up to take him outside at 2:00 am and 5:00 am. I am tired of listening to the whark (whine and bark) when he gets bored. I am tired of sitting with him outside or inside because I feel so sorry for him being so bored.

My room project is progressing. I spent yesterday assembling furniture. I bought a bunch of those scrapbook storage cube things. Yesterday I stacked three of them (total of nine drawers) for a nightstand. I had already mounted my cute little gingerbread house display in The Perfect Spot and stacked my nightstand right under it. I immediately went to the family room to retrieve my Marjolein Bastin lamp (I've got stuff from this room stashed everywhere) and learned the hard way that my nightstand arrangement is too tall for the lamp. I want the lamp high for reading in bed, but now the lampshade bumps into the display house. Oh, well. So far nothing has gone exactly as planned with this project. I'll solve that problem some other day.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Interview with Zachary Quinto on The Ellen DeGeneres Show - May 5, 2009

Here's some more fun. I love Zachary Quinto in Heroes and as Spock in Star Trek. Usually when I'm a fan of a character, though, the actor is a disappointment as a real person. Quinto, however, is quick-witted and charming and - damn - he can dance.

Ellen DeGeneres at Tulane's 2009 Commencement Speech

Common Cement.

Just watched Ellen's speech at Tulane's graduation. What a nice way to start a day.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Turned out to be a great day.

Dodger does not have OCD.

The vet was very excited because this means he will probably grow out of the lesions that are there now. It will be a challenge for us because he must be "quiet" until he's fully grown (walking and light running only) and his career as an agility dog is no longer a possibility (no, we weren't going to do that). But if we can keep him from re-injuring himself he should develop normally and have a long comfortable life.


I bought the cabinets by driving to the IKEA in a town very close to where my son and daughter-in-law live. In fact, like all young marrieds, they have bought a couple of pieces of furniture there. She went with me and showed me the ropes after directing me there using the easiest route. We were able to load most of it up in my car (which I wanted because I want this project completely finished by the time I leave for Utah). Four doors, however, were from a design line that this particular warehouse did not carry, so I had to order those. They said five working days, which I interpreted to mean the end of this week.

Anyway, I was able to install everything I had by noon today. I LOVE these cupboards and am now a huge IKEA fan. I can't believe how ingenious these designs are. Easy to assemble (once you've made your mistakes on one) and hang. I mean, c'mon. If an obese, out-of-shape 58-year old can do these pretty much all by herself... (DS2 helped me hang the corner onto the rail because its awkward shape prevented me from seeing the holes by which you hang it.)

Then, as I headed outside to put the cardboard packing material in the recycling, there was a package waiting for me on the porch. It was...

MY OTHER DOORS! So, I was able to completely finish the cabinets and am ready to begin phase two of the room project. We pick the dog up at 2:00 tomorrow, which gives me tomorrow morning to move the furniture around to work on the other half of the room.

So satisfying. It would be nice if this were a sign of a turn-around in our luck.

Deep breath.

Coming up for air.

Dodger is back in for round two.

To recap, DH and I came home separately from meetings late last month to find the puppy in his dog run, in his shelter with two hind legs not working. He spent the first night in the emergency clinic where they suspected spinal damage. That emergency clinic is only open at night and we had to check him out and take him to our regular vet the next morning. She watched him all day and couldn't figure out what the problem was, so referred him to a special clinic back up the street from the first clinic. After two days with them two of their more observant vets concluded that it couldn't be spinal damage because "he knows where his feet are." They speculated that he had some kind of injury to his legs and ordered up x-rays. Turns out he had two broken hind legs (which - we can only conjecture here - might have happened if he tried to climb out of the chain link dog run. We'll never know since we weren't home when it happened.) He had surgery to replace the growth plates in his left tibia (with implanted pins to hold things together). The break in the right leg was not so bad and the vet felt that the confinement that would be necessary for the left to heal would be enough for the right as well.

It's now 2.5 weeks later. This now 5.5-month-old-puppy has been confined to a crate at all times unless allowed out to toilet. He's healed well and as the legs have healed and the pain has receded, he has become more and more bored with life and more and more difficult to deal with. I have a nice tee-shirt tan from sitting out in the front yard (the only place we don't worry about him slipping and re-injuring himself) a half hour at a time.

Yesterday we took him back to the clinic for follow-up surgery. As the vet checked follow-up x-rays late last week he concluded that the dog ALSO probably has a genetic condition called OCD. While his compulsive eating of dirt and rocks definitely falls into that category, in this case OCD refers to some issues with the bone/cartilage interface in his legs. They will be doing surgery this morning to remove the implants and will check through arthoscopy to see if OCD is an issue and to correct the lesions if it is. The vet said this could be caused by his injury and I'm hoping it is because if it is genetic he's in for all kinds of problems that I can't afford to take care of.

In happier news, I have been proceeding (in short spurts of time) with the renovation of my son's old room into my "nest." I'm nearly finished with the hardest part. I bought six cabinets from IKEA and they are almost finished.

As soon as the guys are up and about I'm going to connect them together (which will finish the squaring up, although they look much more aligned that they appear in this odd-angle photo). Then I can attach three doors. I have the glass-paned doors, but the other four had to be shipped from another warehouse and won't be in until later this week or early next week.

I love the paint.

It's been a difficult process, in part because my time is limited. I'm still on the criminal grand jury for another three weeks. They changed us from all day Monday and Friday to afternoons (1:30-5:00 ish) Monday and Wednesday and all day Friday. Pretty much shoots the whole week vacation-wise, doesn't it? Factor in the puppy care and I've ended up working in short spurts of time. In addition, there was no way to move everything out of the room, so now everything is pushed into one side of the room while I work on this side. As soon as the cupboards are done I will move everything over here and work on the other side. But, it's going remarkably well (I'm using my Granddaddy's tape measure so maybe he's giving me spiritual support. If so, I thank him.) I'm hopeful to have it done and have everything in place in time for me to leave for a trip to Utah.

I haven't been back to Utah since last August. We've been trying to coordinate a trip, but someone is going to have to be here with the dog. He may still be crated a lot of the time, but someone has to let him out to toilet and to feed him and talk to him. Right now we're talking about a complicated but - I think - doable process where I drive to Utah, leaving DH here. DS will be visiting his girlfriend in Indiana Aug 12-16, so I was thinking I would fly home, leaving my car in the SLC airport lot. DH would then fly to SLC on the same day, using my car to drive himself to the condo for his stay. He has suggested he wait until DS is home, then fly to SLC and staying with me for a few days. He would then take me to the airport, I would fly home and pick up his car in the flyaway lot and come home in time to start work. Should work.

We talked about taking the dog up with us, which we will eventually do. But frankly, listening to the beast whine in the crate in the car for 800 miles and then spending two weeks doing for him what I do here just doesn't sound like a vacation.