Friday, July 30, 2010

And we're back!

I'm very happy to report that the laptop is back from it's trip to the doctor's office and seems to be feeling better than ever.  My head is still spinning over the fact that July (and more than half of this year) is gone.  G.O.N.E.  Despite the heat, I've really enjoyed this summer.  I've been blessed to see old things with new eyes and with deeper appreciation.  Maybe it's 'maturity' (or maybe my last nerve took a leave of absence) but for the most part, regardless of how hectic and crazy life has been this year, I've remembered to breathe deeply, keep a sense of humor and count my blessings.  My evening walks with Carmen give me breathing room and time to meditate/pray.  Here's a peak of what a typical summer evening walk looks like:

So we walk, every evening.  Rain or shine.  Heat wave or freeze warnings.  We walk.  We have discovered many things on our walk.  Many wonderous, beautiful, and perfect things like brand-spanking new fawns nestled down in the brush just off the walking path,

protective mama

Indigo Buntings, 

ruffled hearts disguised as leaves,



and grass.  Yes grass.  As it turns out, our neighbors have the best  grass in the whole wide world.  So, without fail, every evening, we go through this routine:

Carmen's hearing/vocabulary test

She can also spell as well as a 5th grader. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stay tuned...

Hi friends! It's been a very busy week and I could go on and on, but I won't! The good news is my Texas family is back home safe, my Dad is home from the hospital, my MIL is not in the hospital, and I've not killed anyone. The bad news is my laptop has a bad virus...and there is one more day in this workweek! Hope to have the laptop fixed tomorrow. Going to Kansas City on Sunday for business. I'm very hopeful to be back in Bloggerville soon. This message comes to you via iPhone. Technology--can't live without it!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

how to give yourself a heart attack

Recipe for self-induced heart attack:

1 pair white pants with black buttons
1 bathroom break
1 sideways glance

Mix three ingredients together, in tick season, and 30 seconds later, PRESTO: near heart attack.

not a tick

Doesn't this thread pattern look like a tick to you?  It sure did to me!  And might I add that when you are 'in the library', it's never a good time to think you see a TICK ON THE INSIDE OF YOUR PANTS!!!  Talk about shuckin' and jivin'.  I was shuckin' the pants and talking jive simultaneously, until of course I realized that the 'tick' was just the black thread used to sew on the black button.  I'll try to remember this trick next time I'm out of coffee and need an adrenaline kick. 

Geez Louise. 

Note to self, when using black thread to sew on buttons, never but never allow the back side to look like a bug. 



Friday, July 23, 2010

Special Friday

Last night, my XSDNs were sooooo excited about all the things we can do during their visit, we decided to made a list so we could decide what we were going to do first. 

Then we changed the list seventy-eleven times.

Then, once etched in stone, we did a "live" broadcast from the back deck about the Special Friday List of Things To Do, which include:

Smoothie Breakfast:

Tidy room and Get Ready!

Ladies that Lunch:

Lunch at Lake Dave:

K9 Lovin':

And LOTS of fashion show preparations.  There are tickets, programs, snack tickets, two acts, and intermission and two costume changes.....times three girls.  If I make it, those pics will be up before Monday.

Now, it's dog-walking time so we can get off to our early dinner at the Chinese buffet and back in time for the Special Friday Fashion Show!

Hope you have a Magical Weekend too!

Monday, July 19, 2010

just passing thru

Feeling like it's been a long time since I checked in - only four days, but tomorrow is 5, then Wednesday a.k.a. 'Family Visit Eve', is 6, then the actual visiting, 7, 8, 9, 10 - so thought I'd better say HI before you think I've died and forgotten to tell you.

I'm currently knee deep in readying the house for BIL, SIL and three very active, gorgeous, inquisitive, brilliant, charming, perfectly perfect small people.   Basically, all sheets need washed, all guest towels freshened, breakables go up, clutter goes out, not to mention every cup and plate in the house needs to be clean and at the ready.  Nothing like little people to plow through little cups.

If I can find the right trick in my Auntie bag o'tricks so as to get all three of them in the same frame at the same time (HA!), I will share some photo evidence of their sheer perfectness later this week. 

I am absolutely 100% promising myself some stitching time next week.  And, (what I need to keep saying out loud because all I can think about is stitching anything BUT), I WILL DEDICATE MYSELF TO MAKING FAVORS UNTIL THEY ARE DONE! 


Thursday, July 15, 2010

This week at the feeder..(edited)


A goldfinch - FINALLY!  I've been trying different kinds of bird feed to see if I can attract some less common (around my house) birds. 

The "finch sock", as they are called, above has been hanging for over a week, maybe even 10 days and every night when I'd bring it in, I could tell no seed had been eaten.  But I can really tell that they made some progress with it today!


We've always had plenty of robins, cardinals, woodpeckers, bluejays and the like, but yellow and orange are colors I've not seen very often around here.  It was shocking to see how much brighter the male was than the female, when they both we at the feeder together.  He is brilliant!  Once I have a chance to research it a little more, I'd like to try to bring in orioles.  Their orange and black plumage is stunning too!

The hummingbirds have been great fun to watch but one of them has grown very territorial over ALL THREE feeders we have outside.  He is of the ruby-throated variety so we've named him 'Red Neck'.  Seemed to fit.  There is a white throated one, we call her Plain Jane, who can't even think about stopping off for a drink without Red Neck chasing her away.  So, hubby and I decided we might just have to stake out about 17 feeding stations around the property, to give the other little ones a fair chance!  If nothing else, ol' Red Neck might just give himself a hernia trying to police all of the stations, all day, every day!

And lastly, it does seem that the pair of Eastern Bluebirds that have been scoping out a bird house down around Lake Dave for weeks have decided to call it Home. 

I'm really glad they did.  Their color is just beautiful but they don't sit still for long, so they're going to be harder to photograph than the hummingbirds and finches.  Here's a quick shot of the male sitting on the windchime stake:

and about to enter the birdhouse:

male with nesting materials, on birdhouse stake

The "Mommy" bird, keeping a watchful eye from above:

Almost finished with Women, Food and God, so no stitching updates from me.  Family from Texas (BIL, SIL and three of my XSDNs*) may come for a visit next week.  I do hope they can work it out for the whole bunch to come.  I love me some niece-y time!

Until next time friends, happy stitching to you!

*XSDN=extra special darling nieces

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer Reading

I'm taking a little break from favor making (just for a day or two) to read "Women, Food and God" by Geneen Roth.  Usually, I'm not the first, or even the last, to jump on a big book craze.  I'm not too terribly wild about fiction - I might pick up a biography or social commentary every now and then, but most often, I protect my stitching free time with vigor.  Maybe I could be, some day, when time is less limited, be an avid reader.  But for now, when I give up stitching time to read a book, cover to cover, it's gotta be good.  And, in my humble opinion, this book is better than good - it is Truth. 

If you, or anyone you know, have ever had a love-hate relationship with food and/or your body, this book is a Must Read.  It cuts to the heart of the issue with realism and sensitivity.  It introduces a method of confronting and normalizing obsessive behavior that is not only effective but "tranformative" (to use an Oprah word).  I'm almost stunned at how neatly and cleanly the author 'gets you there', in just about 200 pages when entire libraries could be filled with nothing but self-help books (some more sucessful than others) written with the intention of helping people break cycles of destructive behavior.  Roth isn't ordering you to "STOP THE INSANITY" at the top of her lungs or telling you how simple it is to "Eat Less, Move More" or how fun it is to "Sweat to the Oldies".  She is telling The Truth, as one who has lived a life of food obsession and overcome it.  Truth - Universal Truth - when spoken so well has boundless power.  She does have it figured out and I sincerely hope that anyone who is searching for help has access to this book.

If I'm right, and I hope I am, the ideas she presents in this work might just save millions of people from a lifetime of obsessive behavior. 

As a bonus, check out the Oprah website for the Companion Guide.

The disclaimer:  I have no affiliation with the author, the publisher, Oprah, Kevin Bacon, Daffy Duck, nor do I stand to gain a single penny from this endorsement.  

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Feel Good Dog Story

I love a good dog story, don't you?

I also love being "off leash"!!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Christmas Exchange Finish!

O yea!  That's right!  Christmas. Exchange.  FINISHED!  Knowing that I'll be tied up making favors for my EGA chapter Christmas party for the next month or so, I wanted to hurry up and finish my exchange piece before I get fed up to my eyeballs with Christmas and swear I'll never stitch another Christmas thing as long as I live I dive head-first into Favor-paloosa!

I've been trying to decide how I could show you my exchange piece without showing all my chapter sisters (since I'd like "it" to be a surprise).   At first I thought, "Seriously, who am I kidding?  I could take out a full page ad in the local newspaper about 'it' and nobody would remember it come December".   Then I thought, "Seriously, it really IS impossible for you to keep anything under wraps, isn't it?"  This mental tennis match went on for a full five minutes before I came to this conclusion:  some chapter sisters have already seen me stitching this piece, but not the 'finished' thing, so I should be allowed to show all of you the stitching, at least!  Right?  (I know, Coocooforcocoapuffs is my middle name)

Snowflake Lace by Simply Old Fashioned
threads: white floche, beads attached with silver blending filament
Mill Hill clear iridescent seed beads
2001 Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue

The Exchange theme is "White", as in White Christmas.  I know it's only July, but I'm excited to see how creative and imaginative everyone gets with the theme. 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, a pair of Eastern Bluebirds have decided to nest near Lake Dave.   You remember Lake Dave, don't you?

I don't think I've ever seen bluebirds around "these parts" before, so I'm kinda excited about it.  Not to sound like a nerd (too late?), but I googled "nesting + bluebirds" and found out horrible things about House Sparrows and how these evil assassins prey on angelic bluebirds, killing them, their families and their babies given even a sliver of a chance.  So now, hubby has a new 'honey-do' job.  We must have a Sparrow Spooker.  You can google it.  He's going to love this!

And now stitch-fans, I'm off to Favor-ville for the kick off of Favor-paloosa.  Hope you enjoyed this stitching update, it could be a looooonnnnnggg time until my next one!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Paging Dr. DooLittle

Happy 4th of July friends!  Hope you all are enjoying a little down time, family fun and local festivities, wherever you are!

You might be wondering what the 4th of July has to do with Dr. Doolittle.  Well, it seems a little hummingbird got itself lost inside hubby's man-cave and collapsed from exhaustion sometime Saturday.  Hubby found it, realized it was still breathing and brought it to the house for us to nurse back to health.  Having skipped Hummingbird Rescue 101, I really wasn't sure what to do for the tiny little creature.  Poor little thing. 

Deciding it probably needed rest and fluids, we put it inside a decorative bird cage I have in the sunroom (for safe keeping), set a dish of nectar closeby, covered the cage with a pillowcase and let it rest.   It rested all night and seemed stronger this morning.  I thought fresh air would be good for it this morning and took it out on the deck with me.  Soon it was stretching it's wings and looking all around, as if to say, "Where am I?  What happened?  Where are my clothes?"       (Kidding!)

Within an hour or so, it took flight, still weak, but we are praying for the best and have ordered a hummingbird repair kit from Amazon, just to be prepared in case this happens again!  ;-)

In addition to being a holiday weekend, this is the weekend of the MSACF that I blogged about last year here.  I had really hoped to get back there this year, but it just wasn't to be.  :-(   Maybe next year.  I'm glad though that they have had excellent weather this year for the festival.  So many years passed, it has been miserably hot or rainy.  Nothing but blue skies for them this year! 

It's also time to register for the State Fair.  I haven't decided yet if I'm going to send anything or not.  Registration deadline ends soon so later this afternoon (after cookout festivities and before fireworks display), I plan to survey what I've managed to stitch since last July and make a decision.  That is one nice thing about writing this blog.  It does give me a very accurate record of when I finished what.  At the rate I stitch, you'd think it would be easy to keep up with!  However, this year, I've been more interested in getting other people to enter the Fair than I have been about entering the fair myself.  Like, my sister, who is in a photography club and has taken some wonderful photos.  I have encouraged her to submit a few to the fair this year.  It would be great to see her bring home a ribbon or two (and some prize money)!

Gotta run friends!  Have a safe and happy 4th!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Yellow (?) Thumb

Sometimes my incredible lack of gardening skill produces a rather unexpected result:

My sources tell me yellow leaves mean too much water. 

Hey, you can't be good at everything!