Sunday, December 28, 2008

Where Are You, My Friend?

I had intended this to be an upbeat, happy post filled with holiday stories and photos of our trip to New Jersey. This is also my 100th post on Blogger, and that deserved some sort of celebration. What was a wonderful trip has suddenly crumbled into anger and sadness.
When we returned home last evening, the water pipe in our laundryroom had burst and the room was filled with about 4 inches of water. All boxes, bags and even a few clothing items were floating around in there. Hence, no water supply at all until the plumber can fix the leak. But that is a small inconvenience compared to the greater issue. Alix had gone with us on this trip and survived the ride amazingly well. Infact, it was decided amongst Joe, my parents and I that Alix enjoyed Christmas most of all! Coal and Elliot arrived to greet us as soon as we pulled in the driveway. There was Bud standing outside his dog house and the kittens were waiting inside. Even the elusive Mocha came out of the barn to say 'welcome back'. So far we have not seen site of our Sammy. He is our oldest black cat and has FIV, a form of Feline Leukemia. He shows no outward signs of being ill and is over 12 years old (at my best guess). He has suffered in the past from bouts of illness that cause him to "shut-down" and just lay still. It effects his upper respiratory system and these attacks last several days. He usually hides himself away under the bed or in a quiet corner of the house until he feels well enough to join us. He has even vanished outside somewhere for 16 days and then returned to us....a bit thinner but healthy again. With being away from home for 8 days I have no idea if he was ill or when he was last seen. The neighbors in charge of the care of the house/pets say they saw him Friday night, but he didn't want to come inside because the weather was unusually mild. But these are the same neighbors who were in charge of the water shut-off valve. I don't mean to be ungrateful for their help. I suppose I am just frustrated, angry and sad all at once. My house was cold, messy and water was spewing from my laundryroom at high speed. Now my dear friend Sammy is missing. I've searched and searched in all his usual hiding places. I have even done the mandatory search of the roadside ditches for any unfortunate accidents. Luckily, nothing. Please come back to us Sammy, we miss you.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


What is a Cyber-Slug, you may ask? It is one who composes countless blog entries in the mind and then never actually sits down at the computer to write them. It is one who takes numerous photos and then leaves them in the digital camera until they are hopelessly out of date. It is one who reads other's blogs and marvels at their capacity to stay on top of things in a timely fashion, but then does nothing to improve her own blog. If these descriptions have not clued you in, here is a photo of the beast itself:
Here is said Slug with co-workers. Slug is at far right. From the left it is Brenda, Kaysa, Alisha, Jill in the back and Carina .
Slug has many seasonal and family photos to share, but that must wait until tomorrow. Slug's "computer skills" are required by the parents to update their computer, make labels, and clean out their e-mail folders.

A Very Merry Christmas to all my on-line friends!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Full Circle

So what is it that's put me in such a good mood? The fact that I can finally post photos here again? Yes, sort of. I give more credit to this though.............

and these lovely ladies.

Quite a few stitchy photos to show too. Here's a collection of WIP items on the sewing chair. Some half-finished doll clothes and a little knitted hat in the background, a few Prairie Schooler ornaments and a little freebie bird from a French website.
Of course the pets always put me in a good mood too. Roy and Carmella are just loving every minute of living with us and it's hard to imagine them living anywhere else but here. They have both gotten bigger and a lot stronger just by having so much more room to run around and play. They spend several hours a day wrestling or playing with all the recycled cat toys. Then they spend an equal amount of time napping in all the newly discovered places, but most likely the couch or the bed.

A little "holiday warmth" to share with you. Our main heating source, the wood-burning stove in our living room. Luckily we also have a good supply of wood, courtesy of Joe.
Ok, enough already with all the photos! I've run out of stuff to post for today. Is this what the hip young people call "over-sharing"!?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Can I really Manage Two Blogs?

I can't believe I am back here on Blogger. I actually got a picture to post here after nearly two months. I really do like this style and set-up better then Wordpress, but to have two confusing is that? And they both have the same name! So I'll go at it full-force for a few minutes and get some photos up here and see what happens. I honestly don't know how I managed to get this to work again. Something about settings and entering that little encrypted password of gibberish. Then suddenly it said "Welcome to Blogger, you're ready to post." How weird is that?! After 96 posts I'm suddenly "ready" again. Technology; I'll never figure it out.

Look at me, I'm writing while the photos upload. I love that feature and can't seem to get that to work at Wordpress. I'm such a fickle old thing these days. These photos are from last week, but I haven't gotten a new series out of the camera yet. All of cats of course. Roy bonding with Joe's sweatshirt, Carmella discovering the many benefits of furniture, Alix inspecting the new arrivals.

La, la la..the photos are uploading! I get such a thrill out of the oddest things in Life.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I Have Moved......... a Wordpress blog. Thanks to the kind advice of Barbara, I am trying Wordpress instead as my blog host. I am tired of trying and trying to post photos here without results.
You can find me now at Ohio Is My Dwelling Place. It is a very plain site right now as I try to figure out the new set-up and icons. I hope to make it a bit more colorful and interesting very soon. I will leave this blog up for a while so that everyone can find me. Yes, I just had to try one more time to post a photo here and guess didn't work. So it is off to Wordpress to jazz up my new "home" a bit. See you there.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Random Acts of Kindness

I was RAK'd twice last week. I have been so caught up in my troubles over posting photos(or lack there-of) that I totally forgot to acknowledge the two wonderful people who sent me gifts....Edgar and Diane. Although I call these random they were more like "Purposeful" Acts of Kindness. Diane had read my comment on another blog about not being able to find the Just Cross-Stitch 2008 ornament issue any where and she graciously sent me an extra copy she had. Edgar read about my "weakness" here for Royalty Magazine and he has generously offered to send me his copies when he's through with them (yes, I did get the first shipment!). Two wishes granted in one week thanks to two wonderful people.
Dare I try to post a photo today?............................


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hmmm, Maybe A Photo Or Two?

As I get closer to my milestone 100th post, I'm getting more and more frustrated over not being able to post photos. I have cleaned out all sorts of files, adjusted and re-adjusted various settings and still nothing. I have tons of stuff to share. Photos of stitching, pumpkin caving, costume making, frolicking pets. I try, day after day and always the repetitive page pops up "Upload Photos". Yes, YES I want to upload photos! Then why won't Blogger do that for me?
This morning I found three kittens by the road side. They were on the end of our street, but very near the busy highway cross-roads. One was pale orange-striped, another dark gray with golden markings and the third, the smallest one, was all black. I very much wanted to keep them, but I knew that would upset the delicate balance of pets we already have. Sammy would accept them immediately, but I was afraid both Coal and Elliot would chase them into the road. I couldn't bear to take them to the local animal shelter. Although it is a wonderful place that does a lot of good, it is not a no-kill shelter. If the kittens were not adopted after a certain amount of time they would be euthanized. So I took them to my Vet. She always has several animals roaming around the place, waiting to be adopted. She was pretty full-up on cats but agreed to take them for one month. At least for that amount of time I know they are safe and well cared for. After that, if they are not adopted, I must decide whether to take them to a shelter, a pet store or back home with me. I know what I will choose if it comes down to that, but I really can't have any more cats inside. With Alix being so old I think 3 new little guys would upset her very much. In a month it would be too cold to introduce three little indoor cats to the cold outdoors of our barn. Mocha does fine year-round outside, but she has always lived in the barn or on the porch. I will still sleep well tonight knowing the little kitties are away from the road and away from the awful person who dumped them there. It is just so painful to think that no one wants them. I will get to see them again tomorrow when I take Bud, Elliot and Sammy in for their annual shots. I will take a few photos of them...but of course you will never see them here!

Monday, October 20, 2008

OK, Now I'm Really Getting Mad!

Where are my !@^#&*%$%$ photos. Day after day I try to post them here and day after day the stupid little screen pops back to "post photos" after I have spent innumerable times pressing the UPLOAD NOW button. Should I try again? Maybe a nice shot of me flipping off the computer? Better yet, I'll shut off this blasted machine and go and stitch.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This Is Only A Test.

Blogger has been giving me a hard time lately when it comes to posting photos. Or maybe it is just my odd, old computer. Something about Java and Cookies. Sounds more like a morning coffee break to me then some computer problem. Lets see if I've gotten past this tasty little glitch....

..............apparently not. Anyone else using Blogger got a clue as to what I'm doing wrong?

Saturday, October 18, 2008


My heart goes out to my friend Nicole in Belgium who lost her beloved cat Suzie on Thursday.

I very much wanted to post a photo of Suzie here, and have been trying for two days............

Friday, October 10, 2008

WIPs, Wishes and Weaknesses

A few stitchy items in the works. Actually this little Owl from La D Da is done and in his sparkly black wreath. I think he will live at home here with me rather then go away as a gift. There is something about stitched animals that attaches me to them, as if they are real animals. I am still working along on the French Sampler too.The Halloween decorating at my friend Sharee's is also a WIP. Here is the porch, made up after last years' magazine cover of "Mary Englebreit's Home Companion". (Picture is very dark, but I love how the sky looks!)Doll clothes are always a WIP and I need to complete some more for the 18" dolls for a craft fair at the gym 13 December. I still dream about making more 1900 outfits for the 16" dolls though. The last WIP is a little turkey quilt patch I pieced together years ago.I found him in a box of holiday decorations last week. What he's doing in there I have no idea. He is part of a larger seasonal quilt by "Country Threads". That series of books is similar to the "Needl' Love" books I am crazy about. But now I am drifting into the Wishes category..................
As for wishes; the usual ones, happiness, peace, financial security. On a more tangible scale:
1. I wish I wrote more letters. I used to be an avid letter-writer, but a combination of soaring postal rates and the Internet have really curtailed my writing. I have over a dozen "pen-pals". I suppose there is a more adult word then pen-pal, but I have called them that since childhood. Infact, one of these "pals" has been around for over 25 years. I have been writing to my friend Gudula in Germany since we were both young, aspiring gymnasts in our early teens.
2. I wish I could focus more. I find I set out to do one task and as I walk to that particular area of the house or yard I am suddenly taken up by another task and then another and then nothing seems to get completely done.
3. I wish I saw more movies. I made a list the other night of the movies I have actual seen as first-run features in the movie theater. There were 9. Yes, nine in my entire lifetime! I think that is part of the focusing wish. I just can't sit still in a theater for several hours and not be able to stitch or clean or cook or perform some other useful task. Here is a list of the movies I have seen:
Star Wars ( yes, the original in about 1976)
Strawberry Fields (or something like that. A drippy little movie with Peter Frampton redoing Beetles tunes. My cousin and I were just wild over Peter Frampton in those days, about 1978)
Mad Max (yuck, not my style at all. But it was the style of the boy I had a crush on in 1981)
One of the Bond/007 flicks (about 1984, again more crush-oriented then a topic I was really interested in.)
Some horrible South American torture movie (again motivated by a boy. Around 1987 and I closed my eyes through most of this one, hence the lack of a proper title.)
Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993.(Liked this one, except for the fact that I went with my neighbor and her three screaming kids)
Somersby, about 1993(again with the same neighbor and her screaming kids)
Jurassic Park about 1994(went with my mom and dad of all people! My mom wanted to see it because she taught 3rd Grade and wanted to be up on the current trends. My dad went to see it because it was a $1 matinee!)
Ace Venture Pet Detective about 1995 ( with my husband,just for laughs)
Movies I wish I could see: The Duchess, The Notebook, The Queen, Brideshead Revisited....are you seeing a trend here? Movies I saw on TV loved: Enchanted April, Out of Africa, Forrest Gump, Cold Mountain, The Piano. Those last two sort of creeped me out a bit, but I still like them.
Under the category of weaknesses: Of course I don't include chocolate,cheese, fabrics, threads, cats of any shape or form. Magazines is #1. The more expensive and hard to find the better! My latest two cravings are "Majesty" and "Haute Doll". Both totally useless (no patterns or charts) and dreadfully over-priced. Another weakness is dolls. I just can't seem to get enough of them. I have nearly all of my childhood dolls, including two 11.5" Dollikins that my mother bought for me in 1973. Here are two more beauties I would love to have. They are "The Devereaux Sisters" form the Robert Tonner Doll Company. They are 16.5" tall fashionistas from 1920's Paris. They are $70 each so they will remain just a wish for now.
I suppose I should add the category of "Weirdness", since this entire post is rather odd. But that is the course my brain is taking today. Oh well, it's Friday and I have the entire weekend to get back to reality before Monday rolls around again.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Let's go back in time a bit. Not an entire century, but about two weeks to get caught up on what's been going on around here. Not that you people are out there hanging on my every word, waiting for the constant stream of boring gymnastics stories and endless pet photos. Well, here it goes anyway. I think I left off around mid September. Right before the wind sotrm we had some lovely weather and I was able to complete a few nice doll outfits, including this one. It is from a series of amazing books by Susan Sirkis called "Wish Booklets". It has truly been my wish to own one of these books. I was lucky enough to find two of them at Amazon at a pretty good price. They are hard to come by as they have been out of print for over 20 years. The patterns are amazing and it took very little "fiddling" to get them to fit my 16" Alex doll. This one is from the 1900 Fashion book. The other book I got was Jane Austen style, 1806-1810. Can't wait to make some more dresses.

Then the wind storm/hurricane hit. 70 mile an hour winds with gust up to 85 miles per hour! It took this huge tree limb down on the side of our house, narrowly missing the roof and the kitchen window. Clean-up was slow, but the weather before, during and after the storm was bright and sunny. We did a lot of raking, burning and even split up a little wood for the fire this Winter. As I mentioned before, the electric was out for over a week and here you see Elliot worshipping the generator as well as the bin of Bud's food.

The following week I got my crafty/stitchy stuff together and set up a table at a craft bazaar as part of the 30th anniversary celebrations at the gym. It was $10 for a table space and I made over $150.00!! I was stunned, as I didn't expect to make a penny. This was more of a fitness fair/kid's festival and I wasn't sure how many serious shoppers would be there. The most popular items were my doll clothes, displayed on the rack at the far right of the photo.

Last night we went to a neighborhood fish-fry party at the famous "party house" on our street, the home of our friends Roy and Sharee. Sharee is also the local "Queen of Halloween" and later today I will be helping her decorate her porch and barn. The inside of her house is already spectacularly done-up! They will be hosting the huge annual Halloween party on 24 October. It will be a short party for me because our fist gymnastics competition is the next day. A 5am trip 2 hours north of here for a "gymnastics marathon" lasting about 14 hours (not including the 2 hour trip back home). I am hoping my back, shoulder and collar bone cooperate on that day. That would be an awfully long time to sit around in all the spotting kids, setting of equipment, moving of springboards etc. Thank you for the wonderful and encouraging comments I have gotten regarding this injury. I really appreciate all the advice. I am not one to complain much of physical pain. I usually don't let it effect me. As a gymnast I had plenty of painful injuries and just learned to "work through it". I am one much more affected by emotional pain or seeing pain in others.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Almost Back

Although the electric came back on very shortly after my last post ( Sunday 21 September) I have been avoiding the computer for the past two weeks. I just found so many other "non-electronic" things to keep me busy during the week-long blackout that I am finding it hard to settle back in to blogging again. Yes, I miss everyone and I have browsed around a little and left a few comments. But I have felt really disconnected ( pardon the pun) from blogging, e-mailing and even my beloved eBay!
I apologize for the extended absence and I really have no excuse for it but my own selfishness. It is hard to let several hours drift away here at the computer while waiting on this slow dial-up connection to finish the tasks I've requested. I am instead spending my time mostly outside, reading, sewing, cleaning up the yard ( yes, there is still some lingering damage to be repaired), or just enjoying the time with my Joe and our pets. Sort of a throw-back to 100 years ago...a time I am more suited to anyway. Time at the gym drags me back to the 21st Century for several hours a day, but I am not finding much pleasure in gymnastics these days either. A "Mid-Life Crisis" perhaps? I am not quite sure, but whatever it is the flip of the electrical switch did not cure it.
Again on a selfish note, I have been plagued once more by the pain in my left shoulder, neck and collar bone, which could account for the lack of enthusiasm for coaching gymnastics. It's gone from mildly annoying to life-disrupting this past week. It keeps me up at night as I struggled to find a comfortable sleeping position. Most days I have headaches the run up the left side of my face and make me squint in my left eye. The amazing American medical insurance system (or lack there of) prevents me from going to the doctor or chiropractor. I am also a bit afraid the diagnosis would end my career as a coach. I still swim three mornings a week and that seems to do no harm. I've managed to lose 3 pounds, but for nearly 7 weeks of swimming that isn't much of an accomplishment. I tend to use food for comfort these days and that has always spelled trouble for me.
So, my dear friends, I will still read your blogs and comment as often as I can. I love to see all your stitching, crafts, family photos, pets and wonderful stories. I may be an "absent poster", but I am still an avid reader.
I send big and joyous BIRTHDAY GREETINGS to Edgar and Larisa. Edgar, you are such a dear sweet man and I could not let this day pass without a happy birthday wish to you. Your kindness and generousity have overwhelmed me. I am so glad I met you.
Larisa, who may or may not be able to read my blog, Happy Birthday wishes to you my wonderful friend for so many years. I did not forget you; I'm just a few days late. I have shared with you things I could never tell anyone else. Thank you for opening up your life to me. I treasure your friendship!
Hope to post again soon at "full strength" and add some photos too.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

In The Dark

Actually, the sun is shining brightly today as it has for the past seven days. So it is very easy to see now, unlike the evenings when there is total darkness. We have been without electricity for SEVEN DAYS! I must make this brief, although I am dieing to go on and on about what has been happening here lately. We are sharing the use of a household generator with a neighbor, so we only get 4 hours of electric power per day. I send out my deepest apologizes to my fellow bloggers and e-mail pals who must think I have fallen from the face of the Earth. Also those who chat with me by phone...yes, our phone is electric too though we do have phone service through the regular line. As the phone sits in it's little charging holder it obviously gets no charge at all, therefore no phone at all. According to the little clock that sits idle on my kitchen stove, our electric went off at 1:10 pm on 13 September as the remnants of Hurricane Ike blew through Southwest Ohio, Indiana and parts of Northern Kentucky. 80 mile per hour winds for over 5 hours, but not a drop of rain. I have tons of photos to share of trees knocked down,various lawn furniture and barbecue grills strewn around yards and a collection of odd items we acquired via the wind from neighbors yards. Yes, it is rather annoying and inconvenient ( I am running desperately low on clean underwear!). Gas stations that did have electric ran out of gas as people lined up for hours. The situation was the same for bags of ice and drinking water. Luckily we have a propane water heater so showering and washing dishes is not an issue. For all of this upheaval I still feel blessed and think of those poor folks in Texas who got the full blast of the storm. Joe and I are safe, our animals are all fine and we get the use of this generator for a few hours a day. We finding great kindness from neighbors and friends who have suddenly spilled out into the streets to greet one another...sort of like a week long block party. We are invited to eat the contents of neighbors refrigerators ( and they likewise from ours) before things spoiled. We all sit and chat by the light of bonfires in the evenings as we burn the tree limbs that have fallen all over the place. We have our homes ( some, including ours, with a bit of damage here and there), our beloved pets and all of our stuff. We consider ourselves lucky. Sometimes it takes a little taste of what true sacrifice and suffering are to really appreciate what we have. We think about the people in Texas and pray for them.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Back On Track

Back to the gym for the Fall season. It's been a bit wacky as the gymnasts and coaches get used to the new arrangements. It was wonderful to have Fridays off since June, but now we are back to 5 days a week. We also got the competition schedule for the upcoming season. It looks like Joe and I might be able to get out to New Jersey at Christmas but Thanksgiving is a mess again. Just like last year the Head Coach has entered us in an invitational several hours away so that ruins the weekend holiday. Of course we have Thanksgiving Day off, but then we are gone Friday, Saturday and return early Sunday morning. The kids love it but I'm sure it's no thrill for their parents either. Oh well, the trainings are going along at a good pace and I think my groups will do OK in competition. As always there are a few "thorns in my side" but overall I have two nice groups of girls this season. Here I am with my two juniors that moved up to the Team in August, Brooklyn and Callie. They are both only 7 years old and this is their first experience with the "big girls" training. It makes my job more enjoyable because I have not had two of my own junior group move up in a few years. There is something special about coaching a child from the age of 4 up until they reach the Optional Level. I had this with Sarah and Morgan, but now Morgan has left the Team to pursue soccer instead. She had ongoing knee/leg injuries and trouble with the Head Coach so she made the decision to leave us. I was very upset about this and hardly see how soccer will help her injuries any. Sarah is now a Level 7 and I am so proud. I can't wait to see how she does in her first Option Level competition in October.
On the stitching front.....I was browsing through my old magazines and came across the Carriage House Samplings design "1823 Emma Elizabeth Blackwood Sampler"in the June 2005 issue of "Just Cross-Stitch". I fell in love with it immediately and stitched it from beginning to end in two days. There was something about the colors that drew me to this design and I just couldn't put it down until it was complete. True, it is not a very large piece but I've had some "Stitchers Attention Deficit Disorder" lately in regards to finishing projects. Now I'm digging through more magazines, books, charts etc., to find two nice pieces for my PIF. Piko and Heidi, I have not forgotten you!
It finally rained yesterday.........all day. We really needed it and it also gave us a break from the oppressive heat. It is a pleasant 66 degrees F with sunshine today. I must resist my urge to go to Joann Fabrics, as their calicoes are $1.00 off per yard today. There are tons of colors and patterns I would love to have, but really I don't need anything else for my stash. I think it will just be the grocery store for some more cat food. As you can see, Coal knows exactly where the food supply comes from.

Oops, almost forgot..................

I wait and wait for the "Just Cross-Stitch" Christmas ornament issue every Autumn. I just love all the variety of designs. I got the chance to go with my neighbor to the big Barnes & Noble book store the other day and guess what I found? A Halloween Ornament issue! I used to subscribe to this wonderful magazine, but financial challenges have required that I drop most of my magazine subscriptions. What a thrill it was to find this beauty. Thirteen different ornaments!! I love the Prairie Schooler owl and moon.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Politically Correct

With all the hub-bub about the political conventions I certainly could not ignore this topic any longer. Not that I am going to make any sort of political statement here...I really don't consider myself a very political person anyway. But I do like patriotic themes in needlework, especially these cute little guys from Prairie Schooler book #8 "American Primitive". I have been wanting to stitch these for ages and this seems like the perfect time. The lighting of the photo is a bit off (too many shadows outside) but I think it is still viewable. I had the quilt block sections already cut out and stored away in a box in the attic. It seems that many years ago I planned to make the Dresden Plate pattern block and then ran out of the fabrics before completing the last three sections required to complete the circle. So here are 9 of the 12 pieces stitched up to cover a 12" twig wreath. The donkey and the elephant fit very nicely at the bottom and the center "hole" is fill with buttons (there is cardboard behind the piece to support it). I am pretty pleased with how it came out. My other political venture is the set of Colonial Era flags. Not quite sure what I am going to do with these. Then there are Uncle Sam and Miss Liberty from Need'l Love "Holiday Friends". Speaking of Need'l Love, I managed to secure three more of their wonderful books in the "Threads" series. These books are based on seasonal themes and have hooked rugs, felt-work, cross-stitch, quilting, soft sculpture etc. I just love them. I had three Autumn/Halloween books and now I have three Winter/Christmas ones also!
Still managing to swim almost every day. For all my efforts I have gained 5 pounds, but my toe nails are really, really clean. I have even managed to buy another bathing suit in my size, a number which shall not be mentioned. Infact, it is the exact same suit that I have now, just in an alternate color combination. At least I know the style and size will fit me and I got it at a real bargain on eBay.
It had been rather nice weather-wise lately, but then yesterday and today have been real scorchers. I would prefer to sit outside and stitch in the last days of my break from the gym, but instead I hide inside with the cats under the ceiling fans. I want to show you a lovely addition to my outside decor. We got this clock from our neighbors and great friends Roy and Sharee for our anniversary in July. Isn't it marvelous?! Completely weather-proof too. Now I can linger outside as long as I want before going to the gym, not interrupted by getting up to check the time every few minutes.
Here are some other little guys I've been working on in my quest to clean up the WIP pile. Can you guess what they are? Ok, just scroll down to the next photo to see the pieces I needed to make from polymer clay to finish them up. And here they are....... incredibly cute gourd chickens!

Well, I sat down here with a million ideas running through my head and tons of things to write, but suddenly my mind has gone blank. I think my brain is cooked. Back to the gym tomorrow night. This will be the first week of testing out the "swim in the morning/gym in the evening" schedule. I have plenty of time, it is just the expense of two trips a day to the club that worries me. Well, at least it will be less time at home alone with the refrigerator.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

So Much to Show.....

The days of my mini break from the gym have gone by in a flash...or should I say splash. Inspired by the 41 year-old swimmer Dara Torres at the Olympics, I've taken up swimming, again. I love to swim. I used to be in the water 4 to 5 hours a day as a child. Either in the community pool or the Atlantic Ocean, depending on where we were on any given day over the Summer holidays. Well, I am back at it. I now go every morning over to the gym and swim laps. No, there will absolutely not be any photos of this. I am still surprised that they haven't kicked me out for displacing too much water already! I haven't been in a pool, much less a swimsuit in at least 5 years. As with every new adventure I was a bit nervous. I am not much of a "joiner" so it's a bit tough for me to get out there and do stuff when it involves public places and strange people. The first day (Monday) it was 2 elderly ladies, one elderly man, two very fit swim team girls and me. Yesterday and today it was only me, so apparently the site of me in a swim suit has scared all the others away. I do my little breast stroke thing with my head up out of the water and a full-fledged back stroke, which was my favorite racing stroke as a kid. The technique is still there, but I need to work on the speed! I last about 20-25 minutes or about 15 laps. I go early in the morning, between 7:30 and 8:30am and then I am showered, dressed and back home around 9am. It's a great start to the day and I'm now totally addicted. I don't know what I'll do when I go back to the regular evening gym schedule. I really can't afford to make two trips a day other there. I missed swimming on Tuesday because I went to the Newport Aquarium with my mother-in-law, Joe's sister and three of her 4 kids. It was really nice to have a family day out and my mother-in-law was kind enough to pay for everything, including our lunch! I love zoos and aquariums (museums and botanical gardens too). I am such a tourist! My favorite parts were the seahorse tank, the otter tank( I could have stood there for hours watching those little guys) and the walk-through tropical bird area. Little did I know that my sister-in-law is a "birdophobe". She is absolutely terrified of birds flying near her or (God forbid!) landing on her. My niece fed the beautiful tropical birds from a little cup of nectar that could be purchased for 50 cents. My sister-in-law cowered in the corner for a few minutes and then made a quick exit. Overall it was very fun day. This aquarium is only about a 40 minute drive south of here, but I would never have gone on my own. Hopefully I will get to the zoo again soon.

On the stitching front I am bouncing around between several different project, none worthy of a photo yet. I did make this primitive Halloween display. The pattern is in one of my favorite series of books by Needl'Love Company. The books are a bit pricey, but worth every penny. They are filled with felt-work designs, rug hooking, quilting, applique and a bit of cross stitch. I found a good selection of them on-line. I am always searching eBay to get a good deal on these. So far I have "Haunted Threads", "Spooky Threads", and "Autumn Threads". I would love to get a few of the Christmas-themed books.

A beautiful gift arrived from Barbara over the weekend. A late birthday surprise. These are the best because then it feels like my birthday celebration goes on forever. Don't you just love Prim Kitty sitting here with Alix. Alix bonded with her immediately. It might have something to do with the natural wool filling of Prim Kitty. She is stitched on a lovely hand-dyed linen of a tea color with a soft red wool nose and real button eyes. The backing fabric is shades of brown printed with smiling cat faces! Also in the package was a beautiful card, an amazing French cross-stitch magazine, and a bundle of DMC white floss for me to dye. Thank you so much Barbara, you really made my day...and Alix's too.

Time to get rolling on the gymnastics cross-stitches for the Fall. The Olympic competitions in Artistic Gymnastics is over. I am very satisfied with the results. Sad that the Olympics are coming to an end though. it was a joy to watch, for a change. Usually I am very stressed and tend to disagree with the results. But this time I think everyone was placed where they should be, even though I still struggle to work with the new scoring system. From what I saw of the other events there have been many records broken and very little controversy surrounding various victories. I am also impressed with the overall good sportsmanship I have seen, especially from the host Chinese athletes. The scenes of Beijing and the nearby country side are amazing. Now I have to take all these ideas and motivation and convert them into cross-stitch.

I will savor the few remaining days of my break and try to get as much accomplished as possible without spending too much money in the process. I have resisted trips to my favorite needlework shops and have instead searched through my massive piles of supplies. If I do this once or twice a year it is almost like "buying" new stuff just through re-discovering what I already have.