Saturday, January 31, 2009

Snow Days 2 thru 5

Okay, so the first day (Tuesday) wasn't so bad. The snow and sleet fell fast and furious, but hubby and I were snug as two bugs in a rug, fully stocked fridge, and truthfully ready for a day or two away from our offices. I was even able to finish a little stitching. Then, the power went out. Enter the director of "Lemony Snicket" and a series of one unfortunate event after another. I'm not sure if it sleeted more than it snowed or if it snowed more than it sleeted, but the end result was the worst winter storm we've seen since the blizzard of '93! I'm sure everyone East of the Mississippi has had either a taste or a heap of the storm system that just moved through and I am certainly praying for anyone still without power or separated from their homes.

Now, back to me. I'll condense this for ya.

Hubby tried for three straight days and nights to keep fires burning in the fireplaces, in an effort to keep the internal temperture of the house above freezing. It was 3:30 am Thursday when he brought in the last load of firewood. It was give up time. By this point in the game, the roads were more like a hockey rink than a road. And the temp in the house was hoovering around 40, but dropping fast. Flash forward several hours, after lots of ice chipping and scraping and sweating and the mandatory heart attack prevention breaks, the hubby, the d.o.g. and I piled up in the only vehicle we had tire chains for and prayed our way up the driveway and down the scariest hill you EVER laid eyes on. (thank you Jesus!)

We headed over to his mother's house. She is a wonderful person who has been nothing but good to me, however, her house is so small you have to go outside to turn around. And, did I mention, there are three of us in this marriage? Me + hubby + d.o.g. I'm not calling names, but you've seen her, Petite is one thing she has never been accused of. Oh, did I also mention that hubby's brother and SIL arrived from Texas for their semi-annual visit on Thursday? So in this tiny (albeit warm) little house, we have MIL, BIL, SIL, hubby, d.o.g. and me. Now before you think me ungrateful, I am not ungrateful. I am deeply thankful for the light and heat, but did I mention that her hot water heater died sometime before I got thawed out, naked and in her shower? Oh yeah. I got about 60 seconds of warm warm before it turned to ice water. That's right. Now, did I tell you that my mother-in-law is 92 years old and deaf as a stone? So, there I am, naked, soppin' wet, politely screaming at the top of my lungs, "Nana, do you have the hot water heater turned off?", but do you think she heard me, no. Everyone else was outside shoveling. So, there I sat on a broken toilet seat, frozen, again, dripping wet from head to toe, in this broom closet of a bathroom with a tea towel for warmth regretting the day I let her talk me out of replacing all of her bath towels because she didn't want the big electric bill for washing and drying those big, thick, fluffy, Turkish-ly wonderful towels I cornered at a Macy's sale. No, she said, didn't want 'em, and I let her get away with it. I got 'em, you bet I got 'em and they were neatly folded in my 20 degrees warm linen closet back home! AAARRRRRggggggggg! Okay, gather self. I can do this.

Warning, this is the part of the story where I'm really going to sound like an ingrate.

I won't even explore the virtues of the pillows and sheets she bought in 1942 (not making this up). However, hubby, dog and I will sleep in a bed that might be one of those "super singles"? Ever heard of these? Just a little bigger than a single. Considering we've spent the last two days tettering on hypothermia, sharing a small bed isn't the worst thing in the world. No, not at all. Hell, we've vacationed in Europe, we are experienced small bed sleepers, but, did I mention this very small bed had been mechanically and permanently altered to be on a 30 degree incline? Yep, that's right. MIL heard on the T.V. that it was good to sleep with your head elevated so she called in the carpenters. Must work (she is 92 years old). And the walls in this small but warm house, paper thin. Not only did I hear every snore, wheeze and whine from everyone in the house, I also heard the NEIGHBOR snoring. I am not making this up. At this point, the dog sat up straight in the bed and looked me in the eye. I heard her loud and clear. "Seriously?!!??!!" she was saying. I know, we are all spoiled rotten little creatures of comfort and all, but COME ON!!!! My mantra, it's warm here, it's warm here, it's warm here.

It was Friday before hubby and I realized we hadn't eaten an actual meal for awhile. I had had my last dose of caffeine on Monday. That's right. Can we say cranky? So, we tried to do what we could to repair things at MIL's that needed repaired (hot water heater, broken toilet seat, drippy faucettes, etc) as well as eat a couple of warm meals while trying not to count the ticks of the second hand. Then the news came that it could be Sunday before we got power restored.


Okay, more gathering. Let's do what every lost soul does when all else fails, GO TO WAL-MART! Oh, but guess what? It was welfare check day. Ha! PERFECT! Kill me now.

Wrap up: praise God, praise God, the power was restored around 2:30 pm today. I ventured home (still on an ice rink) shortly thereafter. Hubby decided to stay at MIL's a bit longer to rest up from our ordeal. Gladly, with a song in my heart, I shoveled the driveway for a couple of hours in order to safely drive into the garage and begin the ugliness of cleaning out the fridge/freezer.

Tomorrow's agenda: long, hot shower; more Wal-mart shopping to restock all things lost; cook piping hot pot of chili and cheesy chive bread; lots of celebrating around our walking, talking 60" big screen tv as the Steelers lay it to the Cardinals; and more praising God for electricity.

Oh, what's that? I think I hear my bed calling, friends. Sorry, I'm going to need to take this call.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snow Day 1 results

Just Another Button Company
Jingle All the Way
freebie pattern, JABC buttons and GASampler threads

I took the snow/sleet/ice storm that kept me home from work today as a sign from higher up that I should finish up that Christmas SAL I started Sunday. So, I did. Not sure what this little cutie wants to be when it grows up, but maybe a flat fold (easel)? Saw a great tutorial over on Vonna's blog that might just play up perfectly. If the photo had turned out better, you'd be able to see the liberal sparkles in the fabric. It suits the pattern to a T.

I would say "Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow", but seriously, I don't think it would be prudent at this juncture.

It is looking most likely that I will be spending another snow day home tomorrow, so until tomorrow, dear friends, stay warm, safe and busy!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

SIG SAL and a little white lie

Ok, so I'm not making any progress on my Finishing with Flair BUT I didn't really have a choice today. TODAY WAS THE 25TH of the month, so it was Christmas SAL DAY! I have had a little freebie from Just Another Button Company in the pig pile since I visited the National Cross Stitch Show (NCSS) in Arcola, IL 2 1/2 years ago. (What a great show! Highly recommend it!)

Seriously? Who sits on freebies for two and a half years? Apparently, you're talking to her. Anyway, today was just the excuse I was looking for to pull it out. As an added bonus, today's wintery mix of weather set the perfect stage for Christmas stitching. (this is me faking excitement about some really nasty weather).

No photos of Jingle yet because I didn't finish it, but I'm already looking forward to February 25th!

Friday, January 23, 2009


If I stitch it (see previous post), it will come!

It has been SO cold for SO long, I could not believe my eyes (and senses) driving home tonight! As you can see, 55 degrees, and at 5:00 pm! WOW!

I am positive that my latest finish and this weather phenomenon is no coincidence. If I had only thought of freeing those little hostages earlier!

Wonder where my "Lucky me, I'm a lotto winner" pattern went?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

another cube finish

Call it wishful thinking...

Isn't the ribbon a lovely match?

In the interest of giving credit where credit is due, thanks go to Hannah again for her simple yet perfect cube tutorial. Love it Hannah!

Monday, January 19, 2009

A New Day

Dear Mr. President,

I am so proud of my country to have seen past it's prejudices far enough to recognize brilliance and potential when they see it. Yes, you are young and somewhat green when it comes to the ways of Washington, we all know this. But I have a feeling you are a quick study. Be a quick study, Mr. President.
Be brave, strong, courageous, smart, alert, and above the fray.

With that said, I have a couple of requests on behalf of myself and my prosterity:

  • Form a more perfect Union for us

  • Insure our domestic Tranquility

  • Defend us from all enemies foreign and domestic

  • Promote our general welfare

  • Secure our Blessings of Liberty

I know it's a tall order, but these are our expectations.

God Bless and God Speed, Mr. President!


What a surprise!!!!!

This was found on my bedside table this morning with a little note:

Dear Lady,

Please accept this small token of our appreciation for rescuing us

from the PIG place. We thought it was the least we could do.

Carrot, Periwinkle, Butternut Squash, and Spring Grass

Wasn't that thoughtful of them? Bless their hearts.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


The call came in just after 7 this morning...

Caller: Hello! Hello!
Me: Hello? Who's calling please?
Caller: This is Carrot! Butternut Squash, Spring Grass and Periwinkle are here with me too!
Me: Really.
Caller: We're being held hostage!
Me: Really? Where?
Caller: All I know is it's a pretty big box; only marking says "P.I.G.s". It's really crowded in here and I'm afraid we're running out of oxygen!
Me: You just hang on! I'm on it.

I rush downstairs, whip open the PIG storage box, and sure enough, there lay "Hello Spring" all kitted up with Carrot, Periwinkle, Butternut Squash and Spring Grass. Without hesitation, I ripped open the baggie and retrieved the four hostages.

Carrot: AAHHHHhhhhh. Fresh air. Wow, it's been awhile.
Me: How long have you guys been trapped in there?
Carrot: Months? Years? Not sure.
Me: Well, you do not have to worry about that awful place ever again.
Carrot: Really?
Me: Really. Let's get you upstairs and introduce you to some others who have been through what you've been through.
Carrot: Great! But...
Me: But what?
Carrot: What about the others?

To be continued...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

one pretty pile of pancakes

Well it's Saturday and all is well. The d.o.g. seems nearly herself again, hubby slept in and I felt like slipping out of bed early to spend some quality time in the kitchen. After a particularly hairy week, spending a couple of hours whipping up epicurean treats like frothy hazelnut cappuccino, cinnamon apples, and fluffy, browned to perfection, pancakes is just what I need to set my compass on North again. The aromas alone were enough to transport me to a happy, warm, soft place. And now, a few minutes with "Breakfast with the Arts" before the laundry and chores pull me away.
Happy Weekend friends! Stay warm wherever you are!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Panicland update

Thanks for all your kind words and concern; I have downgraded my panic to "guarded concern" today. It was a long night. The aliens faded away overnight, slowly. This morning, she took some liquids but no food. She did eat a handful of her food nuggets this evening and drank a little more liquid. She seemed to feel well enough to walk, so we did the walk. I'll heat some more milk later to help ensure she's not getting dehydrated. She did feel spunky enough to bark the "I'm warning you, squirrel!" bark on the walk, so I'm feeling a bit encouraged. I'll feel much better when she's eating a full meal and back to her "I'm Carmen, with a capital C, Queen of the Universe, Ms. Sandiego if you're nasty" sunny disposition.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


As I begin this post, I'm three hours into a panic, so bear with me. How is it that a person of above average intelligence, above average skills can handle high stress situations day in day out, sun up sun down, without as much as a Tylenol but coming home to a sick dog sends me deep into Panicland? I can not figure for the life of me what has happened. She was fine this morning, but tons of very bad symptoms tonight tell me she has digested something very bad for her. No sign of destruction in the house. No clues, no hints. Could this be a doggie stomach virus? Oh why can't they have a "once a year and only when you are hurting" talking pass?!?!! She wants out, she wants in, we go out, we come in. 15, 20 times in three hours? It sounds like there is an alien in her belly, a big alien, trying to gnaw it's way out. She's pacing, panting, pacing, pacing. I stroke, comfort talk, scratch the butt, use the "everythings going to be alright" voice. It looks like it's going to be a long night friends. And, oh yeah, it's going to be all of -5 tonight. Luckily, I do have an emergency supply of vet meds on hand. If you've read this far, I'd really appreciate some random prayers, if it doesn't seem too silly to ask. And, actual professional medical advice is welcome too!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Part 1 - Finishing with Flair

Go Go GCC!! Gold star for me. Although there are no less than twenty PIGs screaming for my attention, I will NOT start another new thing or work on another UFO until this EGA GCC is in the mail to teacher extraordinaire, Marion Scoular. To be honest, since I gave up on the idea of using my almost finished Adam and Eve sampler for Part 1 (hemstitching), it has gone very quickly. I would show you the Adam and Eve sampler, but it's just too sad. The colors (as recommended) are so far off the model, I'm disgusted. I tried to fool myself into believing it was going to be ok, just keep stitching, right? That's what we tell ourselves. Just keep stitching? Well, so now, it's practically finished and here I sit, disgusted. I would love to do the hemstitched edge on Adam and Eve, one day.
For now friends, I'll be focusing on finishing "Finishing with Flair", finally.

Monday, January 5, 2009

On the 12th Day of Christmas...

And just when you thought it was over! Since I seem to be the only person I know who has even ever heard of "Little Christmas", I wanted to share this old tradition which might be new to you. Little Christmas, or January 6th, is the day after the 12th day of Christmas, marking the end of the Christmas season. Oh, I know what you are thinking, the twelve days lead up to Christmas, right? Wrong. The twelve days of Christmas come after the big day. Some of us are old enough to remember when the Christmas season did not start the day after Halloween and people used to carry the spirit of Christmas into the New Year. We used to even exchange one last especially precious present on the twelfth night, or January 5th.

According to Wikipedia (and my Irish Catholic mother), Little Christmas, or Nollaig Bheag in Irish, is one of the traditional names in Ireland for January 6, more commonly known in the rest of the world as the Epiphany. It is so called because it was the day on which Christmas Day was celebrated under the Roman calendar, before the adoption of the Gregorian calendar. And, according to my mother, we could take all the ornaments off the tree but the star topper had to stay until January 6th because the Wise Men were still traveling by it's light to Bethlehem. This was also the day we could add the wise men figurines with the rest of the Nativity.

Little Christmas is also referred to as Women's Christmas or sometimes even Women's Little Christmas. It is so called because of the tradition, of Irish men taking on all the household duties for the day and giving their spouses a day off. Most women will either hold parties or go out to celebrate the day with their friends, sisters, mothers, aunts etc. Bars and restaurants usually have a majority female clientele on this night. Children often buy presents for their mothers and grandmothers, and it resembles Mother's Day in this respect.

So maybe next year, you'll remember Little Christmas, leave the light on for the Magi, and have a little get together with your gal pals. Sounds to me like an excellent excuse for a stitch-over!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Year = Clean Slate

I do love January 1 for one reason. The clean slate effect. It's all mental, of course, but that's good enough for me. I like to clean out the fridge, ridding ourselves of any nasty leftovers; pay all the bills; balance the checkbook; clean house so to speak. And this year, as a direct effect of all that stitching I got accomplished in a flurry late last year, I enjoyed filing away a large pile of thread I had caringly placed close to but not actually in my thread storage boxes. With each thread I filed away, I thought of the project it was pulled for. A happy little walk down memory lane.

I do love my thread storage system with each clear cd storage box (available at Target) housing a different varietal; one for six-stranded DMC (regular) thread, one for silks of all sort, one for overdyeds, and one for perle cotton and Caron threads. There is a family of ziplock bags that lives inside the DMC box. Each bag containing a certain series, the one hundreds live together, two hundreds together, so on. You get the idea. In the other boxes, metal book rings gather like threads together. To each his own, but this is a system that has been working for me for several years now. I've tried most thread storage systems (must be a Virgo thing), but had to come up with something that worked for me and the way my mind thinks (danger,danger) before I was happy. My Watercolours collection is growing so rapidly (darn it), I may have to add on and move them into a box all of their very own! However, a little stitching would help keep that population thinned down.

The work table photo is my idea of a clean slate. I can hear you laughing. You'll just have to trust me. As much as I love order and organization, I find that my work table is a three dimensional thing, with a length and a width and a height. I work in layers. Presently, there is only one layer of activity on the work table. And to quote Martha, one layer is a very good thing.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I felt a tug at my conscience, "remember me?", it said. "Me who?" I answered. "It's me. The Finishing with Flair correspondence course you were just dying to get your hands on, last August". "Oh." I said. Yes, I remember you. I hadn't forgotten you. I was just waiting for a clean slate to start you.