06 November 2021

So much time has passed

 I can not believe it's been just short of a year of me posting. D'oh.

Everything just putters along. I have spent a lot of time this year reading.  I made a decision to read the major works of Jane Austen this year, since my brother bought me a beautiful set of the major six novels a few years ago, and I hadn't buckled down. I have almost completed that goal. I just have to read Pride & Prejudice and I will be done. I plan on doing that closer to the holidays, though. Since the last time I read it--the day Left-brain proposed to me--it only took a day and I have 4 days of vacation coming up, I think that's doable. 

I also managed to finish the entire Outlander series this year.  I restarted it in 2018, during my period of unemployment, and it's taken me this long to read all 8 of the current books. But reading 3 this year is exceptional for me, particularly since I got bogged down by The Fiery Cross. I am ready for the next one to come out. I am working my way through the Emily of New Moon series by LM  Montgomery now. I finally finished reading the Anne of Green Gables series last year--I kept getting stuck on Rilla of Ingleside--but Emily has always been difficult to read the whole way through. I am determined to get the series done by Christmas. 

Which is not to say I have not been stitching. I finished Claire by my self-imposed deadline. I promise to provide a photo next time I pop in. I am planning on spending the next few weeks finishing ornaments for Christmas. I probably could have a lot more done had the sewing machine not died, but it is what it is. I choose not to take it to the repair shop for fear of what they will say. I did ask for a new machine--one not so fancy and fiddly--for Christmas, so we will see what happens.  And I have picked Summer Ball back up. 

I have determined my stitching plans for 2022. I picked 4 large UFOS: Summer Ball, the piece I started for my daughter the summer I was pregnant with my son, the Winter bell pull from SC I started years ago, and one other that I forget right now because I am exhausted. My planned rotation is to do the first round through them as a one month. I think with one month devoted to each, I can make good progress and probably finish the one for my daughter. Then, I will change to two weeks on each. I think I can make good progress. 

I think  . . . 

19 December 2020

Happy Holidays

I have no photos to post, but I wanted to come and wish everyone Happy Holidays. 

I know we are all stressed. I know this pandemic is exhausting at this point. Personally, this is the first holiday season since 2007 that hasn't included me spending many hours at the theatre. It's been nice to have time to bake cookies. All my gifts are wrapped. We drove and looked at lights the other night. But it's not quite Christmassy. But we'll have next year. And I will appreciate how special the season is and, as always make sure our patrons know how grateful I am that they make our little theatre part of their holidays. 

I did decide next year is all about learning contentment. So many of the mistakes I have made as an adult were made trying to be happy. But my mentor, who became a friend, gave me advice that adulthood is more about contentment than happiness. And that is where I want to be. So my focus is to stitch what I love, finish what I can, read what is on my shelf and enjoy the clothes I own. And to write with passion. I actually have a novel brewing in my head and I would like to put it on the page. Even if it never gets published, it would at least be real.

So that's it from here. From our house to yours, be well, know love, and have happy holidays. 

13 September 2020

Introducing . . . Le Passe Compose!

 First Born
28 count aida with required threads

I did not realize it had been so long since I posted an update on this. 

2020 strikes again, and not in a good way. Anyway, I have completed another page and a half of this chart. I should be further along, but I took 3 weeks off in August to work on a Halloween project. I just needed a bit of a break. I finished that on the 31st, so picked it back up and this is my project as of Thursday. 

Here is the Halloween project: 

In Words Halloween House
DKT  Charting
DMC floss, including Etoile and Colouris

This was an Etsy purchase (I was on a chart shopping spree on there earlier in the year) and I did not use the called-for colors. The chart was kind of a pain, but it did allow for a lot of customization and I wanted to play with Coloris and Etoile. I have some charms, and am trying to decide if I want to put one on there. I will let you know what I decide.

I have been reading like crazy. Each book is like a small vacation.  It helps remove me from the current  world situation. Some of the best books that I have read lately are below.

1)Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows. OMG, so good. I really have not read a lot of books about this community, but a former co-worker had it listed on Goodreads, and I trust her taste, so I gave it a try. I am also trying to expand my horizons and learning about new cultures has been something I have enjoyed during quarantine. This was well worth the effort. 

2) Girl Woman Other  This came to my attention after the unrest following George Floyd's death. I just wanted to read more books about people whose lives are not like mine, to try to see their side of things. This was wonderful; the book is the story of several black women in Britain. Their stories are seemingly vaguely connected, but, as the book moves on, you see the relationships develop. It was so good and the accolades the author received are well-deserved. 

3) On the Occasion of my Last Afternoon This was by an author I love, and a subject, the American Civil War, that I love as well. But it was a little different. The main character is the wife of a doctor whose life is dominated by her crazy father and her loving maid. She hates slavery, hates what it does to people, and tries to help whoever she can. But the thing that I love about this book is that it does ask the question, even if women hated slavery, what did they do to make it unnecessary? It was interesting and a different take.

4) Kindred I do not love fantasy. I do not love science fiction. But I love this book about a woman who is pulled back in time to 1819 Eastern Shore Maryland, who has to survive and escape slavery. I am so annoyed that it has taken me all this time to find this amazing story. Even in college, in Major Black Writers, we missed this one . . . .

5) Gramma Gatewood's Walk  This is very different from the other books on this list, but very inspiring. Gramma Gatewood was 66 and had survived an awful marriage when she decided to walk the length of the Appalachian Trail. Wearing Keds. Left-brain wants to start hiking, and I delighted in telling him this woman walked, carrying a bag with 17 pounds of supplies, through the remnants of two hurricanes, sleeping on porches and in houses when she could, bedding down along the trail when she couldn't. People were mean to her at times, but mostly, she was met with overwhelming kindness. She was the first woman to walk the trail, completing the trek 3 times, as well as walking from Missouri to Oregon. This is such a cool story. I don't know why it hasnt been made into a film, but it should be. 

We did take some time last weekend to go on a hike as a family. I told Left-brain that this was our vacation for Summer 2020. We drove down to the C&O Canal, which runs along the Potomac River. The last time we were there was the summer after we got married, so 9 years, maybe. And the kids obviously had never been.  We did 5 1/2 miles, and the kids loved it. I loved chilling out down by the water, enjoying how nice of a day it was. 

This tree was interesting. I don't know what caused it to break like this? Maybe the tornado from earlier this year (why does February feel like it was 47 years ago?)

Logan was being Mr Independant, running off across the Aqueduct. He couldn't figure out what this structure was. I had to explain that the canal crossed a little river and this carried the water across. 

We took a picture at lunchtime to remember the day. 

I hope you are all enjoying these first days of "fall"  We have started to put out our decorations, but it will take a while. Left-brain is still not sure he wants to put our blow up out at all, in case it makes people congregate outside the yard. I don't see the problem, it's not like they will lick our doorknob. We need to give people a little happy, I think. 

26 July 2020

1/3 of the way through

Claire et Le Passe Compose is 1/3 of the way completed.

I did some hard-core stitching last week.  This is officially 9 weeks and one day progress. I decided I had earned a break for the weekend, so have been focused on reading.

I finished a book, Enchantress of Paris, this morning, about Marie Mancini, I have had it for a while, Our library lets you renew books 20 times, and then, when everything was shut down, they set the next renewal date to July 31st. Someone else is requesting it, so it has to go back. They can have it, it was not good. Maybe it's my general lack of knowledge about French history, but I just could not get into this book. I did finish it though. It's ready to go back to the library. I have one heavy adult book to get through, and then will read young adult fiction for a bit.

If one can say anything good has come out of this isolation, it's that I have expanded my horizons on my reading material. I had already started reading more books by African American authors, but I finished Girl Woman Other last week and it was phenomenal (although, full disclosure, the writer of this book is not American and the book is set in Britain). I have some works by Asian writers, and even chose some books with LGBTQ+ themes, which, honestly, I haven't had that much exposure to, but I LOVED Red, White and Royal Blue. I bought quite a few books from various sources over the past 4 months and am dying to read them.

Not much is going on here otherwise. My husband found a new job. He had started working part time, but it was very hot last week, and he isn't 20 anymore. But this guy pursued him and basically hired him without an interview, for what he wanted.  When my husband closed his company, this one took over some of his customers, so he was able to see the work my husband does. He also said he saw him around the supply house and liked his attitude, so he wanted to work with him.   He was supposed to start tomorrow, but the company is so busy, he actually started on Friday. Yay!  I am so happy for him; the company seems good and seems pretty flexible. This is the kind of work I have been praying for for him. It feels good to let go of that anxiety; we have started to talk about buying me a newer car, and adopting a puppy, things we haven't been able to think about with all the medical debt and unsteady work, but we can . . . maybe . . . think about. I think we are going to celebrate his official start with a cake tomorrow. Yum!

12 July 2020

Happy July!

Hi, everyone!

Hope your July is going swimmingly so far. We soldier on here at my house.

My husband found part-time work with an old employer. He starts tomorrow. We both know part time is not enough, but it's something for right now, and, hopefully, he will find something better, full time.

Our 4th of July was pretty tame. My daughter, the Someone-Not-So-Small-Anymore turned 8 at the end of June (I know, CAN YOU IMAGINE!!!!), and we had her birthday over 4th of July weekend because I had what ended up being a 4 day weekend. It was very small. My mom and brother, and Left-brained's parents came for pizza. They have all been social distancing, and they used hand sanitizer, so it was OK.

We also went for our traditional blueberry picking day on the 4th of July. I do not advise it. It was incredibly hot and humid. We couldn't bring our own containers to put the berries in, normally not a big deal, but you had to pre-purchase containers, and I just couldn't fill mine. They put my mom and daughter on the side of the row away from everyone, but I had to wear my mask. I do not advocate berry picking in mask in 90 degree heat.  Mainly because this orchard has smaller bushes, so no shade, and our bizarre May weather--the freeze warning over Mother's Day--killed the blossoms that were there, so the berries that survived weren't as big and it took longer to pick. I ended up with heat exhaustion, not a fun way to spend the day. I spent the afternoon in bed, only waking up when the whole neighborhood reenacted the Battle of Baltimore. Ugggghhh. I did feel better at, like 2AM, so had a long party day last Sunday. Oh, well . . . I try to remember to enjoy the moments, if not the entire experience. We have been doing this picking at this orchard since I was tiny. I only missed the year Katie was born, for obvious reasons, LOL. And we were together. Lots of families didn't get to spend 4th of July with their loved one here on Earth.

This was not the best week in the house. My son, at some point, got up on my desk and CUT the wires in both the power cord and the mouse for my laptop. I am so upset with him, but at least it was my personal laptop and not the one for work. I can always salvage another power cord and will buy a wireless mouse. For this, he lost his Paw Patrol toys for a few days. Some other stuff happened, and I was so frustrated by Friday that I just told my husband I needed to get some time to myself yesterday.

I ended up going to Hobby Lobby to get some floss I need for Claire. I have been having issues finding a decent supply of floss since they relaxed the restrictions. I know there are supply issues, but I do worry they will put us back in lockdown again, and I don't want to be without supplies to finish this piece. HL was FULLY-STOCKED. I got what I needed and got out of there, then treated myself to some HOT Krispy Kreme doughnuts and a large Coke, then went home and stitched for most of the afternoon. It felt like bliss.

My updated progress on Claire. I have reached the bottom of the design and now am working my way over. I am so pleased with her. She is my pride and joy. I may take a week off when I finish this column of pages, but not sure.

I hope your month is rolling along.

28 June 2020

This morning

It is only 3PM and I have already had a full day. One of our neighbors up in town decided to start celebrating the 4th of July at 4:30 this morning by shooting off fireworks. Our town is in a little bowl and we are up against a hill, so it sounded LOUD. Since I read I'll Be Gone in the Dark, about the Golden State Killer, earlier this month, we keep all the windows closed and the A/C was on high, and it sounded like someone was shooting at the house; Left-Brain was bingeing "Band of Brothers" and it pulled his attention. If I can hear you over WWII and the window A/C unit and it wakes me up, it is not time to be setting off fireworks. I honestly wanted to lean out the door and yell something, but common sense prevailed.

I couldn't get back to sleep, so I ended up watching Netflix and stitching while folding laundry. We are still purging out stuff and I was really pleased with myself for being able to give away clothes I like, but don't wear. It's a big step for me. 

My favorite thing to do in life is to watch studio apartment tours on Youtube. I look at all these people and think about, if I had to, if I was young again and had enough money to rent a place, could I have contentedly lived in a studio apartment and still been ME. I am not sure. I did see a couple who bought individual place settings of patterns of china at thrift stores and mixed them all in together and I thought that was BRILLIANT, because I think you have to inhabit a space joyfully and like you want to be in that 300 square foot space, so you better have dishes you enjoy washing by hand.  But, like, I like my books and clothes and things. So I would have to have a loft bed with lots of storage underneath, or at least room to put a sofa underneath so I could put a massive bookshelf across the room to put all my books, where the sofa would normally go. I don't know what I would do with my clothes. I like to tell myself I could reduce down to a capsule wardrobe, but then in reality, I know how many clothes I took when I went to train in AZ two years ago, and I would be LOST.  Let alone all the tiny bits and pieces of detritus that seem to be in my life that I never see in anyone else's world. I know, I am a weirdo. But I gave up some clothes to go to a better home, I got rid of most of my maternity clothes earlier--still wearing those maternity jeans, they were expensive and they are COMFY--and I am trying.

Anyway, I ended up watching the piece on Woodstock that American Experience did. Sooo good. And it made me sad I didn't go. Not like I could have, 7 years before I was born. Even if I had been alive, my parents wouldn't have let me go, LOL. If you haven't seen it, it's worth your time. They also have a documentary about a guy who made fake expensive wine. It is the most interesting thing. Like, he had an amazing palette, so he would come up with formulas to reproduce wines and came pretty close. Crazy, right?

And I stitched. I am almost to the end of the 2nd page of First Born. A lot of confetti stitching, but, gosh, is Claire lovely. 

I will post a photo when I get the page finish. She really is amazing. I would say that if she wasn't my piece. She is just luminous. 

21 June 2020

Adventures in Social Distancing


It has been forever since I posted. The days just seem to follow one another during this time; even with the rhythm of the days giving a bit of comfort, it sets you into a solid routine that has been hard to deviate from.

Like most people know, this time has not been all that pleasant. I don't know who these happy people are that they show on TV, baking and cooking and doing puzzles with their families, but this has not been like that for us. My sewing machine broke the first week, and, of course, no one was open who could fix it. Distance learning has not worked out well for us; I cried a lot over that, but, then again, I can do Common Core math now. My husband lost his job over his Covid-19 concerns--knowing our son is immuno-compromised, his boss not only had him on a job where he spent 12 hours in the house of a person who had the virus--the dude kept standing around where my husband was working--but they also wanted him to go into a nursing home to do work. The chain he was in was hard hit, and when my husband expressed concerns, he was let go. I have had respiratory issues since the end of March--not the virus, just a really bad respiratory infection, and then my sinuses kicked in. Last week, I finally started feeling human again. That is a LONG time to be sick. I am trying to be hopeful for my husband to find another job, but I don't know.

We have been using this time to get the house organized. Lolo has his own room now, Kay-kay got a loft bed with a desk underneath, and our closets have gotten a thorough going over. Our room is starting to be pulled together. We are giving a lot of stuff away, and trying to make it a happy, peaceful room. All my books are going to go from our living room to the family room, and then the next project is to get my books from my mom's house and go through them to donate them. I want to use this time to learn to do better.

I have been finding a lot of respite from this all in books. Here are my Goodreads reads for the year. It feels like I can go everywhere in a book that I can't go in real life. I have read 30 books in 3 months. For me, that is a lot. I managed to get my last holds picked up at the library 3 hours before it closed and I have been reading like a booger. Really good stuff. I have been trying to challenge myself to step outside my comfort zone in my reading material and I am pleased with the results. The library just opened for touchless pickup last week, so I picked up some things. They were bulk renewing through July 31, who knows if that will be extended, so I have a while to finish up what I have signed out.

My company gave us 4 days off for the Memorial Day weekend, so I finally made the effort to kit up First Born, by A Stitch in Time Designs. This was a company that sold on Ebay when I first started shopping on that platform. I think the art is so beautiful, but it's always scared me to start it because sometimes, productions of art work look hazy. And I didn't want this to look like that. Look at how pretty the chart is!

And look at how pretty my WIP. She doesn't feel hazy to me! 

I am so in love with this piece. If you had told me 4 weeks ago that I'd nearly be done the second page of 9, I wouldn't have believed you, but it's flying along, even with the confetti stitches. It's gorgeous. 

The equine model for this piece is the artist's horse, but I renamed her for my piece. A very good high school friend passed away on 1st June, and it was a shock. She and I took French class together from when we were little kids til senior year of high school; by our senior year, we spent most of our time working on verb charts in the back of the French room. I was sick that year, but she was always very positive to help me get through; she wanted to be a lawyer, I wanted to make movies. Life didn't turn out that way, but it was good to know she was around. She was a beautiful, gentle, funny, lovely person and I miss her. Something about the mare put me in mind of her--in the best possible way--and so I have christened this mare Claire, and her foal is Le Passe Compose.  It's a tribute to her, her beauty and her beauty as a mother to her boys. 

I think I will sign off for now, since I am sure I am terribly depressing. I will try to be a bit more positive for the next one. 
I do my thing and you do yours. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, then it is beautiful. If not, it can’t be helped--Frederick Perls