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.