Saturday, March 29, 2008

My Talented Friend

I just must show you the latest designs by my very talented friend, Barbara Ana in Spain. For several years she has designed her own charts and last year she started to sell them! The first is "Welcome Spring"
The second is "Spring Biscornu"This is turn such a gift into a new career. I am so proud to know her. You can find her designs at Stitching Bits and Bobs and at the French site Creative Poppy.

Tried desperately to break my New Year's Resolution today. I went in search of the little round clips to make some floss tags. Apparently they are not as easy to find as I thought. I found just tons of rings in silver or gold tone in various sizes in the jewelry department, but these were the coiled up rings, like on a key chain. You know, the type that simply break your fingers off as your attempt to pry them open to get your key in there. This certainly would not do for use with the somewhat delicate cardboard floss card. Then I did find the exact rings I wanted; the hinged back and the little clamp on the front, but they were enclosed in a scrapbooking kit. It seems these type of ring clips are popular with the scrapbooking set to hold pages together rather then putting them in a ringed binder. Well, I wasn't about to pay the $20 for the entire kit just to steal the rings out of it. I did find one other floss ring in the needlework department of Hobby Lobby. It was 3 inches around and $14.99!! So the New Year's Resolution Fairy was watching over me and I bought nothing but a package of $1.29 DMC #26 embroidery needles.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Of Household Things

Not a lot of stitching going on in the past day or two. I did a bit on the "Olde Burial Ground", but not enough to merit a new photo yet. So I will show you a bit of the household stuff. Speaking of houses, that big white house at the beginning of a previous post is indeed our house. I know, it looks like something pulled from Hawk Run Hollow and is in desperate need of a paint job. I could use it as a model for a sampler house.............indeed there is enough cat fur in here to spin my own floss!
Raining again, so only a few brief hours outdoors yesterday. The cats are just itching to be out there, eating grass and then "returning" it to me on the living room carpet. The little carpet is only about 2 foot by 4 foot, but they can hit the mark every time. Luckily Bud the dog keeps his mess outside. He has a fine dog house that Joe built for him, but look at this beauty we acquired over the weekend. It comes from Joe's parents' new house. Infact, it matches their house exactly, right done to the yellow vinyl siding and the white trim. They don't have a dog so they let us take it here for Bud. So far we have only managed to wrestle it as far as the top of the weighs a ton!

The Spring flowers are trying to make an appearance through the piles of wet leaves. My tulips and irises are well on their way and should be blooming over the next few weeks. I was pleased to see that my red 'hens and chickens' came back too. I don't know the official name for this plant but it has been a favorite of mine since childhood. Another pleasant surprise was my French Tarragon. I had put the ceramic container on to our porch during the first freeze in an attempt to prevent the ceramic planter from cracking. I had no idea that the entire plant would survive the Winter out there and now begin to sprout again. This is one of my favorite herbs (cooked with chicken it is wonderful) and I was sure I would have to invest in another expensive plant this Spring.

I must detach myself from this machine and attach myself to the sewing machine for a few hours. No cross-stitching today. There is the prospect of some doll clothes sales this evening at the gym so I need to "update the inventory". Any extra money coming in right now is truly a blessing, so I better get to work.

A happy Spring day to all!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Up To Date

I feel like I have really accomplished quite a bit in the few hours I have at home this morning before going to the gym. I have read my usual 8-10 blogs and tried to make a comment on each. As Barbara has said "this is the only way we can 'talk' to each other" (I hope I have quoted you somewhat accurately, Barbara). This is so true. I have met so many wonderful, talented, friendly and generous people through blogging. Yes it is a bit time consuming, but any friendship worthwhile takes a bit of time. I have gotten so many nice comments on my felt needle book. One would think I invented the idea. The poor old heart-shaped one I have from my mom has been hanging around for ages. I just thought this idea was rather old-fashioned, but it seems I have started a bit of a trend. I will honor it with a photo. As you can see it is well-used; the ribbon is tattered and it has collected more then it's share of cat fur.

I am currently working on Carriage House Samplings "Village of Hawk Run Hollow". I am certainly not bold enough to take on the entire village, so I am making only block #12, "Olde Burial Ground". It will be for a 'tombie' friend of mine who collects everything vintage Halloween. I bypassed all that stitching of the black background. Since I was only making the one square I chose a piece of 28 count linen that I had dyed gray with black splotches. I think it looks like a good 'ole creepy sky.

If Edgar is out there......I got the Hands to Work "Heart and Hand" freebie from a friend in Belgium. She mailed me the printed out pattern. I can certainly do the same for you if you would like the pattern. I miss a lot of the really good freebies because of my slow Internet connection. I just don't have enough hours in the day to sit and download all the great stuff that's out there. Generous friends have really helped me out. Dear Nicole also sent me the Mon Ami Pierre freebie that I have been obsessed with lately.

Another rainy day and 6 hours at the gym loom ahead. Well, at least that is 6 hours away from the refrigerator.

Monday, March 24, 2008


I took the Quaker themes from this weekend and started to finish-finish them. The first, the birds and topiary, are made up into a little needle book. It is based on a felt needle book that my mother made in the 1940's when she was a girl. I still use it for my needles today. The 'A Mon Ami Pierre' design is stitched to a piece of blue printed calico and then trimmed with cording. The pages of the book are colorful felt edged in blanket stitch using the same Needle Necessities floss "Bali Hai" that was used to stitch the design. This will be a gift to someone who shall remain nameless for now.
Back to the gym later today. I can only imagine what will go on this week, with it being Spring Break from school for the majority of the gymnasts. Good or bad there seems to never be a dull moment there.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

I've been tucked away in the house both yesterday and today savoring every moment of my short holiday away from the gym. I do have quite a few photos to share though. I have been absolutely obsessed with Quaker designs these last few days. Here is a series from Mon Ami Pierre, all done in overdyed or variegated floss. The peacock is done in Needle Necessities 'Yuletide'; the birds and topiary in NN 'Bali Hai'; the swan in Weeks Dye Works 'Basil'(very washed-out photo) and the geometric theme in Dinky Dyes 'Aussie Pride'. I seem to be quite fearless in the use of my treasured speciality flosses lately. With the discovery of Threadworx I don't feel I need to hoard these lovely colors anymore. They can finally be used in actual cross-stitch projects instead of being 'display pieces' in a little plastic bag.
Several pet photos to share also. Bud on our walk yesterday. Elliot sunning himself in the front window. Alix proving that the kitchen table is a good place to throw one's coat. And Sammy who thinks the cat food tastes much better eaten out of the bin then from his dish.
Already after 9pm and I am just boiling some eggs to dye. I am a little behind schedule. I would prefer to be outside tomorrow, but I think we are stuck at Joe's parents' house. It is too cold to do much outside anyway..."Easter-freeze your keester" as my dad would say! At least the flood waters have gone down and I don't need to drive 25 miles out of my way to get into town. None of the major flooding came near our house, but it was rather inconvenient on Thursday trying to get to the gym.
A very Happy Easter to all!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Positively Drooling

Thanks to several kind bloggers I have found a replacement thread for Needle Necessities. In fact, I think it is the same thread going under the new company name of Threadworx. Thanks Barbara and Ginny for your help. I am positively drooling over the color chart at Needle In A Haystack (search the thread area for Threadworx). I have just now printed the whole thing out, using several gallons of expensive color ink, so I can take it into the living room and drool some more. This has satisfied my need to acquire new stash items. Even though I am not actually buying, I know they are out there and I don't need to rush around and find NNs before they completely disappear from the face of the Earth. Maybe I can hold out until July......maybe not.
Here is the latest finish, "Heart and Hand". I really love the results, although it is not quite a "traditional" Quaker in regards to color choice. I have started on another Quaker design. Actually it is one of the small themes within the large design "Quaker a 6 Mains" (excuse my horrible French) . It is a freebie from "A mon Ami Pierre". I am making the peacock theme as an ornament using Needle Necessities #151 Yuletide. I am suddenly no longer afraid to use up my stash of NNs! There are only a few stitches in on this project, so I won't post a photo yet.

Today I got some beautiful flowers from one of my junior team girls, Katelyn. Aren't they lovely? As soon as they are done blooming inside the bulbs will go out to the flower bed to be part of next year's Spring display.

Mandatory pet photo of the day. Twinsy, coming up our walk for his daily visit to the porch for some food. I know his family feeds him, but he seems to prefer our house.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Peaceful Rain

Although the weather forecasters are warning us about floods, I can only find peacefulness in all this rain. A chance to just sit and stitch for a while. It is moderately warm ( 46 degrees F) so I don't have to keep putting wood in the stove. Joe is home too, so it's kind of an "us" day. I am making some Easter treats. I made two pizza rustica pies last night. They were an Easter tradition in my house growing up. A pastry crust filled with ricotta cheese, ham and pepperoni filling....sort of like a cheese quiche, but a bit denser. Not a bit of nutritional value in any of it, but they sure taste good. One is already being eaten and the other goes to Brenda at work. Then maybe a chocolate cake for the gymasts. Speaking of work, it looks like this week will finish out in a peaceful way too. Not many kids at the gym as we gear up towards Spring Break for the local schools. Next week will be even more quiet. It's a good chance to work more individually with the gymnasts and to perfect new skills. My weekends are now all mine. The competition season is over for the Level 4 group so I am home on both Saturday and Sunday, unless I choose to go in and do some private lessons on Saturday. This all hinges on Jill fulfilling her obligations with the Level 5 group. They have the Zone/Regional Championships on the weekend of April 5th and 6th. I think my exact words to my boss were "I don't care if Jill catches on fire, she's still going to the Zones Meet". So I've made my point very clear on that one. Somehow, in the back of my mind, I know she will find a way to weasel out of it. She didn't come in on Wednesday, knowing that the new Level 4 coach , Alisha, would step up and cover for her. I felt bad for Alisha, but good for me. I love working with Alisha and I'm so glad to have a coaching partner who shares a lot of my goals and also a rather interesting sense of humor.

As for stitching, "Heart and Hand" is nearly complete. I loved stitching with the Needle Necessities floss. It is a shame that they have gone out of business. I should have bought up more of the colors when I had the chance. An eBay seller used to sell them in groups of 25 for a really good price. Now I can hardly find any of them anywhere. Does anyone know of a good source for Needle Necessities floss? There is a shop about 30 miles from here that specializes in needlepoint and interesting fibers. I bought my first NN there to fill in for a Weeks Die Works that ran out in the middle of a project. That is the main reason I like NN too.......the skeins are huge and the price is reasonable for all the floss you get. This works perfectly for single-color designs, like Quaker themes. I am debating whether to drive down to that shop and break my resolution if I can stock up on some rare NNs.

Here's the mandatory pet photo. Coal being the perpetual copy-cat again...trying to muscle in on Sammy's favorite spot on top of the fabric bins.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Mystery Solved.

The beautiful owl pattern decided to reappear. It was in the "stash cabinet" amongst the big binders filled with patterns, the cardboard magazine holders and various other items. So photo and pattern are happily reunited. Thanks so much to Jean for this beautiful pattern! I can't wait to stitch a few of the individual animals. I don't think I'll take on the whole design just yet.
Another big "thank-you" goes out to the lovely Nicole in Belgium. She has graciously shared the 4 newest Prairie Schooler booklets with me. I had been dreaming of getting these and I couldn't bear to wait until July, when my New Years' Resolution expires. More then 2 1/2 months into that and I am not feeling the pain so much anymore. Well, getting big packages filled with my wished-for items certainly helps. Thanks also Nicole for the other charts you sent along with those to satisfy my new lust for all things Quaker! Speaking of is another forbidden new start. A freebie from Hands To Work called "Heart and Hand". I am working the entire design in Needle Necessities Mcauly Manor #127; shades of stone, gray, tan, gold and brown. Sort of like moss on an old stone manor house. Here are the few stitches I managed to put in on Friday. The rest of the weekend was a total loss. It was the District Championship competitions. Yes, two of them! The one scheduled for last Saturday was canceled because of the snow storm. Once again I was "designated sub" for other coaches who could not make it. Saturday was 6am-11:30pm and Sunday was 10am-9:30pm. The Level 4 group was 1st Place, Level 5 (Jill's group) was 4th, Level 6 (Becca's group) was 3rd. Those are the one's I coached this weekend. Then our Level 7s (Brenda's group) was 1st and Dennis's Level 8 group didn't place because only one girl showed up. The others were guests at the infamous Sweet Sixteen party and didn't make it...including Kelsey, the guest of honor and her mother Jill who bailed out of Saturdays' competition weeks ago. It was nice to be able to spend the day chatting with Brenda. We never get to talk at the gym anymore. We were both able to air a lot of our grievances to Peggy while we were driving (2 hours) on Sunday. We both feel a bit better about the situation in the gym, knowing that Peggy is a bit more aware of what has been going on.

Last week I did manage to finish three little dolly sweaters, even if not much cross-stitching went on. Right now I am melting some fat. No, unfortunately not off my own body, but in a large kettle. I am melting some fat from the grocery store to make some bird suet cakes. I need to mix in the bird seed, pour it into the plastic moulds and let it harden. By tomorrow I can put it outside for my feathered friends.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! I have not made a single green cookie or even a green iced cake for the gym tonight. Just ran out of time. I even considered boiling and dying some eggs for the girls for Easter next week.....oh wait, that is this week. I would have to make them all up and give them out Wednesday because there is no practice on Friday. Time is just moving too quickly. I did manage to get the final ingredients for my pineapple-angelfood cake and a nice turkey breast to roast for dinner on Sunday. Other then that I am not very well organized. The Springtime stitching has fallen by the wayside, as well as the one-Christmas-ornament-a-month goal I had set for myself.

The items I ordered from the garden catalogs are beginning to arrive, but it is way too cold and wet outside to do anything with them. I just received a box with my leeks in it. I have no idea when I should plant these. I imagine they are like an onion and must go out in the early Spring. Right now my vegetable garden patch looks more like a swamp.

A few hours left of happy stitching, then off to the gym for a while. I am really looking forward to the little Easter 3 day holiday.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I guess I am really getting old. While trying to relieve some of my "stash-buying withdrawal" I was looking through all the folders, notebooks and plastics sleeves I have filled with charts friends have sent to me. In the back of a very old brown folder I found this beauty. I am pretty sure it is from Jean, who I met through Cyberstitchers. She is very fond of owls. The only thing is, there is only this lovely photo and no chart. Have I lost the chart? Sent it on to someone else? Was it just a photo sent to me as inspiration? I do not know. Jean if you are out there ( I'll send you an embarrassing e-mail to confirm my stupidity also) can you explain this one. It really is a beautiful design. Any one of the animals individually would make a nice ornament.

Just hooked on the computer today for some reason. Maybe it is because I know my days are numbered as to how much "me time" I have left this week. Oh well, the marathon weekend looming ahead will make up for past Friday's snow day and next Friday's Easter holiday days off from work. Somehow it will even out and I may even come out ahead financially on this one.

Here is my latest Easter wishful thinking idea. This cake looks great, and not too difficult to make. I am the choco-holic in this house, so Joe would appreciate something of an alternative flavor. I watched a very interesting show on The Food Network last night about making corn beef. I wanted to try it for St. Patrick's Day, but the first step was "prepare brine and spice solution and soak brisket for 10 days". Oh well, another year shot on that one. It's all moving too quickly....everything except this pitiful dial-up connection.

Maybe I'll be back to post again tonight..................

Monday, March 10, 2008

Hey, how about those photos ( part 2)?

Yeah!!! Here they are FINALLY. I guess Google fixed itself. After several days and many, many tries I can finally post my photos. It seems rather pointless now to post photos of the snow. In the last two days it has warmed up dramatically and most of the snow is already gone. March is such a weird weather month.

Here is the guest of honor, Mark with his cake and gifts. We got him a barbecue set for grilling fish or veggies ( the odd looking frying pan with the holes in it). Overall a rather pleasant weekend although I didn't see much of Joe. He and Mark spent most of their time together visiting other friends ( within walking distance), so it was more of a "Boys Weekend".
It was a stitchy weekend for me though. Here is Prairie Schoolers "R is for Rabbit". I started and finished this one in three snowy days. I loved working on it. I could feel the gardening "growing" as I stitched it. The rabbit himself is just amazing. One of PSs most beautifully detailed animals I have ever seen. The whole design reminded me of the movie "Cold Mountain".....the grand old house up on the hill overlooking the garden. I love historical costume dramas and I waited for years for this one to come around to TV. I was a bit shocked though as I was similarly when I first saw "The Piano". I expected the beautiful costumes and scenery and a nice old-fashioned romance story. Well I got both of these in both these movies, but I was so surprised at the violence. Of course it went along with the story and added to the theme of these movies, but I really wasn't expecting it at all.Another long weekend looms ahead. The Level 6-9 District Championship competition was canceled last weekend. The Level 4 and 5s are on Saturday. This is the competition I am taking over for Jill as it is her daughter's Sweet Sixteen party (even though she has known about the competition schedule since August). The 6-9 meet has been rescheduled for Sunday. Becca. the Level 6 coach had already bought her plane ticket to Jamaica for spring break assuming her competitions were over for the season on the 8th. So I am also coaching the 6s at the competition on the 16th. I really do love working with this group, but that's a lot of traveling and time away from home this weekend. But it does mean a bit more money to spend on Easter stuff.
Everything is speeding up. This "spring forward" with the clocks makes me feel like I have lost much more then one hour last Sunday. I feel like the whole calender is closing in on me. I had the best of intentions to be well done with a lot more UFOs and on to some Easter gifts to mail to friends. I don't think it is happening this year. I am still keeping to the New Year's resolution and have not bought a single craft/needlework item. Thanks to wonderful friends I don't feel at all deprived.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Let's try those photos once again........

Trying to put up the photos from my last post. I wonder if Google has cured itself yet?



Yes, it was actually declared a blizzard from late Friday night through most of the day Saturday. Our final total after nearly 32 hours on non-stop snow was somewhere between 14 and 16 inches of snow. The high winds didn't help much in the measuring. As you can see Bud had a rather clear area to run on, but it was piled up at the door of his dog house. Coal, on the other hand, had some trouble navigating the white stuff that went up to his belly and beyond. He really did like it though and even rolled around in it like a dog. Bud left that foolish behaviour to the cat.
Stayed inside all day and, as predicted, the big party dwindled down to just me, Joe and Mark the guest of honor. It was lucky Joe brought home half the party food the night before. Now we need to find our way over to his boss's house and reclaim the rest of it. There is enough for at least four large meals that I can save in the freezer. The second cake is going to work with me on Tuesday for a party for one of the teachers who is moving away.
Spent all day stitching (and refilling the wood stove) and even started something new. Ah yes, the forbidden "new start", but I couldn't resist. It is Prairie Schooler's "R is for Rabbit". The rabbit is so cute! I think I may be able to finish it today, as it looks as if we are stuck inside for a least another 24 hours. So I will save a photo until it is nearly done. Then it will not fall into that ever-growing UFO category. Many thanks to the lovely and generous Harmien for granting my wish for the two Prairie Schooler freebie cards. I have so many wonderful stitching friends that it makes all the bad things in Life just fade away into the distance. I am truely blessed by all the great people I have met through blogging, on Cyberstitchers, and through many gymnastics and royalty chat boards. Being suspended in my "White Solitude" for the past 48 hours has made me appreciate them even more.

Hmmm, for some reason Google is coming up with some sort of "server error" that will not allow me to post my photos here. I'll put up the text and then try to add the photos later. Maybe by then "R is for Rabbit" will be done.

Friday, March 7, 2008

The 'White Death' Cometh

Maybe I have been watching too much of "The Tudors" and it is altering my speech! Here it comes, the largest predicted snowfall of the season. So far as I can see the predictions are actually correct this time. It started at about 7:45am and already we have three inches on the ground by 11am. The schools are letting out early and I wonder if we will have gymnastics team practice tonight. It is the big District competition for the Levels 6 through 9 girls tomorrow, so it doesn't effect me directly. As usual my boss will wait until the last possible moment to decide on this.....most likely after I have gone out and cleared off the car and the driveway; possibly even after I have started on my way. I live the farthest from the gym and on days like today I leave extra early to allow myself enough time to navigate the winding and hilly back roads of my rural town. I have heard from my neighbor who is the City Manager of Lebanon, the town where I work, and she says the City government buildings are closing down at lunchtime, which is right now.
So I sit and watch the snow pile up with my usual childish delight. Though the delight and glee are a bit dampened by the fact the my big surprise party will probably be a total failure. The guest of honor has already called to ask if the birthday dinner is still on for tomorrow. He has no idea that I am planning a much larger party and I nearly had to give up the secret in order to convince him to still come. He said he was leaving work at that moment (10am). He works on a road construction crew and work had been called off for the rest of the weekend. I suppose he is now trying to make the over 80 mile journey north from Kentucky to Clarksville with his two Jack Russell terriers. There is another large glitch in the works as all of the food was brought over to Joe's boss's house this morning when I took Joe to work. Here is the scenic view out the car window when we arrived there at 9am. I have already called over there to ask Joe to bring home one of the cakes and one of the pans of lasagna in case we have to seriously scale down the party to just me, Joe, Mark and our neighbors Roy and Sharee. The cake assembly went along pretty well last night. I am rather organized with all of this, except that the lovely snow has now turned it all upside-down. Oh well, there could be worse things then being stuck at home with nothing to do but stitch all day. In regards to my "I Want Must Have Them"post about the new Prairie Schooler designs, my prayers were answered by my wonderful friend Nicole in Belgium! Thank you so much Nicole for your kindness and generousity. Of course my wish list still includes a few more items and I was wondering if anyone has these little freebie cards by PS that they are willing to share with me?
Again I close with two contented cats. This is Mocha. I don't think I have shown her photo before. She is the very shy cat who lives in our barn and on our porch. She is friendly to me and lets me pet her and pick her up, but she runs away from anyone else. Here she is crunching away on her food in the barn. I sat out there with her for about an hour this morning, enjoying the snow from the relative warmth of the barn. Lastly, here is Sammy resting on the little whicker table in our living room.
Hopefully more snow updates and photos later today...............

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Another Finish

Finally, another finish from the UFO bag. Birds of a Feather "Blackbird Sampler". The vines were supposed to be in black, but I thought that was a bit too depressing so I changed it to dark green. The kitchen floor has stopped calling out to it is just a low whimper every now and then. I did give it a good cleaning, but since the kitchen door is our main entrance it is a hopeless battle. The massive food preparation goes on for the party on Saturday night. I finished two large pans of lasagna, and about 120 little meatballs. Now I must put those in the big slow cooker pot and add tomato sauce. Then they make the trip to Joe's boss's house to "hide out" in his industrial sized fridge until I start the cooking process on Saturday afternoon. The two pans of uncooked lasagna are in there too. Both cakes are done....well, half done. The cake parts are made; one chocolate, one vanilla. The chocolate one gets a cheese cake filling and cream cheese icing and the vanilla one gets a chocolate mousse filling and chocolate icing. I think that should be enough variety to suit everyone. So far there are about 20 people attending. But I've been to parties at this place before and they tend to "expand" as the evening progresses.

Done some stitching on the next UFO, "French Sampler", but I see no end in sight. It is not really a top priority item as it is not a gift, just something for our own house. Those type of "for me only" projects tend to fall by the wayside. I am still burning with desire for the new Prairie Schooler booklets.

Speaking of 'burning with desire' I am watching the re-runs of "The Tudors" the Showtime TV series. Ah, the young man who plays the youthful Henry VIII is absolutely gorgeous! His name is Jonathan Rhys-Meyers. The acting is superb and the costumes are stunning. I didn't think I would like a drama from this time period as I have always found that era a bit rough and violent ( lots of heads being chopped off and stuff like that). Now I find myself researching a lot of the details and even plotting to make some of the costumes in doll size.

Well, another interesting evening at the gym last night. Jill has no decided she immediately wants out of coaching Level 4, the group we legitimately "share". She wants to be a bus driver now and coaching at 4:30pm conflicts with her new, now more all-important schedule. I suppose she is still sticking with her domination of Level 5, but I didn't even want to ask. I am just stunned that my boss goes along with this. To just drop a group at the end of the season is rather confusing to the gymnasts. Now wait a minute.........wasn't that the reasoning behind keeping Jill at Level 5 and dumping me!? It is sunny and predicted to be clear and warm (45 degrees F) so I will focus on that and leave this mess behind me for now. Maybe I can bring in my friend Alisha as the other Level 4 coach. She has subbed before and is great with the the girls. The more I think or write about gymnastics, the more upset I get. This is just awful because for over 30 years it has been the center of my life and a very enjoyable part at that. I think I need to distance myself from it and really just consider it "work" simply to get through the next few months. It is really a shame because I do feel that great "fire" again each time I go into the gym and get some success with the girls. It is almost more difficult to be cold and uncaring then it is to be sad and upset. I'll end on a happy note with photos of the two biggest kitties. First is Twinsy, the neighbor cat. Here he is on top of the cabinets on the porch. He doesn' know how to pose very well and is always walking right up to the camera lens.

Then there is big Coal, taking up most of the rocking chair. He is such a loving cat and enjoys posing for photos.