People, please stop talking...

before it becomes TMI.

TMI. Too. Much. Information.

Yes, I said it. And I'll say it again. TMI!

I don't care to hear about your bodily functions/sex routines/strange things you find in new places/gross labor stories.

I don't care to hear about what infections you've had and where.

And I certainly don't care to hear about your daily bathroom habits. When and how often you go, what it sounds like, or what it looks like is none of my business. And I don't care to hear about what other people feel is necessary to share with you either.

You know who you are.

Is nothing sacred anymore? Have you become so desensitized to everything that you are willing to share everything and anything with anyone who will sit next to you for 30 seconds? Do you not see the look of horror plastered on my face, or the fact that I am experiencing an entire body shudder from the visual images running through my head? Is my green, puckered face not enough to tell you that enough is enough?

Being a family member or a friend does not mean that I am open to hearing everything you feel a need to share. If you really want to be a friend...

...keep it to yourself!


With everything that's going on...

I just can't keep up!

Of course it doesn't help that we have all been sick. Really sick. Sick enough that Justin's mother had to come and help out for a couple of days. Especially me and Aislin. We have spent the last two weekends in bed, coughing and basically dying. We had to take Aislin to the hospital this weekend too, as she was running a fever of 102 degrees.

I started back to school full time also. Even though my classes aren't as demanding as I feared, it still takes some time to study and keep up with everything. I'm still teaching two classes in addition to school and kids and house and husband. I'm pretty tired.

I guess I should update about the county fair last month. I placed first with TW's Knotwork Bookmark, Crossed Wing's Cardinal, Paw Printing's Queen Anne's Lace, Christmas Ornament 2004, and the Whiskey Creek Ink box that I made for my mother. I placed second with Just Nan's Winter Blues, TW's Jeanne Love's Angel, a beaded ornament, and a purple and silver bracelet. Not bad for my first fair! And I finally have some things framed that I can hang around my house!

I did manage to finish another project for my mother. It's called "Marilyn's Garden" (see sidebar under recently finished) and it will be her Christmas present this year. Yep, her name's Marilyn.

I hope to finish a few more WIP's because, frankly, I'm sick of looking at them. It really does feel good to finish things that have been sitting around yelling at me. I try to give them all some attention, but having so many projects going really limits the time I can spend on each one. Maybe I should pull them all out and put them in order as to the time it will take to finish each one. Then I'll start with the ones closest to being finished. Then again, not many stitching goals I put together come to fruition.

Finally, I need to catch up on SBQOTW. That's one thing that I really need to keep up with. Anyway, here goes...

For September 7th: Which way do you stitch (/// and then \\\ or \\\ and then ///)? Can you (or if you haven’t done it before, do you think you could) change the way that you stitch temporarily if it is asked of you?

I learned to stitch from my mother when I was 13, and have always stitched /// then \\\. It's as natural to me as driving or breathing. I don't think I would have any problems switching, it would just take some thinking and conscious effort on my part to keep it going. Otherwise, I would probably switch back to the way I naturally stitch.

For August 31st: What do you use to hold your fabric while you stitch? A hoop, a Q-Snap, a scroll frame, something else, or do you stitch in hand? Have you always used just the one thing or have you tried one or more of the others? Which do you like best? Why?

I started stitching with a hoop, and used that method for years. Until I discovered scroll frames. I always hated to rings and the squished stitches that the hoops left, and it takes a lot of time to iron them out. Most times they don't come all the way out. But scroll frames leaves a lot more stitching area exposed, and I can move from one section to another pretty easily. Plus the stitches stay put and there is relatively little ironing to do on a finished piece. I still use a hoop on smaller things, like ornaments though. I guess old habits are hard to break.

For August 24th: What’s the largest project you’ve ever done? What’s the smallest?

The largest project I've done is my sister and brother-in-law's Wedding Sampler by TW. It took a year of constant stitching and, even though it's 8" x 10", it's a huge project for me.

The smallest project I've ever done was a little saying "Cross stitcher at work, Do not disturb." It was done over 1 with just backstitching and it's so tiny that I'm going to make it into an ornament. I hope to make it bigger one day, to hang on my craft room door.

For August 18th: How often do you wash your fabric for each project? Do you wait until the very end until to wash it or do you wash it more than once?

Honestly, I don't normally wash my fabric. Not even finished pieces. Since most of the floss is cotton, I'm worried it will shrink or bleed. I did wash a bunch of older pieces in the washer on delicate, and they turned out fine. They were so dirty from sitting around for so many years that they really needed it. But otherwise, no I don't wash them because I'm very careful to keep my hands clean and handle the piece carefully.

I guess that's it for today. Aislin is crying in her bed. Poor baby is still not feeling well.

She needs her Mommy. But then...

...who doesn't?


It was a big PITA...

to switch around two girls' rooms!

I'm soooo exhausted! I have places that hurt that I didn't even know I had.

On August 11th, Alyssa asked Justin and I if she could switch rooms with Aislin. When we bought our house in April 2004, Alyssa got the smaller room because it had a bigger closet. She had a ton of Barbie stuff and horses and things that wouldn't fit in the other room's closet. Now that she has *outgrown* those things, she doesn't need the closet room.

I convinced Justin that it would be easy. Aislin only has a few pieces of furniture, so it would be no big deal.

I. Was. Wrong. There, I said it. I was wrong.

We started on August 13th, sure we would get everything done that weekend. We had every intention of doing something with the walls eventually, as we have laminated sheetrock. The most hideous laminated sheetrock. So I so naively tell Justin that I want to paint the rooms before Alyssa can hang anything. Both rooms have wall shelves, and I figured why not do it now? So after four days, two painful coats of primer, two even more painful coats of paint, and a lot of touch ups where the tape pulled off paint, the first room looked great. Even if I did feel like I could sleep for a week from walking up and down the ladder for four days. Did I forget to mention that both room's ceilings start at eight feet and slope to ten?

Setback number one: the builders forgot to put baseboard in the girls' rooms. Not a surprise because we have had nothing but problems with this house from day one. So Justin said he wants to trim the rooms. I say ok, but no more laminated crap like the trim all over the house. I want real trim. Four more days and four coats of paint and the trim is installed. It looks fabulous! Justin installed that stuff like an expert! Although he did have a bit of trouble holding the nails. Missing thumb you know.

Next we need to reinstall the shelve sets, but of course we have to buy another set because Aislin only had one set while Alyssa had two. Setback number two: does Lowe's have the three-foot shelves we used before in stock? Nooooooo! Because that would be too easy. We had to get six foot shelves and cut them down. Shelves are now installed on either side of the window. Looking good!

All of Aislin's furniture moves easily, except the crib, which has to be taken apart. No big deal.

Most of Alyssa's furniture moves easily. We had to take the bed apart, detach the hutches from her desk and dresser, and take her computer apart. No problem. Move bed into room...setback number three: headboard hits the wall as I'm attaching it to the bed frame. Yep, you guessed it. The latex paint peeled off the laminate like a big sticker. I swore. A lot. Good thing I had a styrofoam bowl of paint in the kitchen.

Setback number four: As Alyssa and I were moving her bookcase, I ran it over my foot and broke my toe.

Since Alyssa is changing her room theme from purple flowers to green frogs, we spent some time online looking for new bedding and accessories. We found things she liked quickly. Then I thought it would be cute to install matching switchplates and outlet covers. Setback number five: we don't have standard covers. They are of a snap-in type, and the only ones available are the ones that screw in.

But being the genius that I am, the girls and I went to Hancock fabrics and found a bright pink fabric with little green frogs all over it. I wrapped the fabric around the cover, cut out the center and hot glued it all down. Then I put three coats of Mod Podge over the fabric to give it that *laminated* look. Even though the MP darkened the pink to a more pinky-orange, Alyssa loves it and thinks I'm the coolest Mom ever!

Everything else went pretty smooth, and I even got two bags of trash out of Alyssa's room! Can that girl collect some junk! And Aislin is now sleeping in her own bed after sleeping between Justin and I--mostly sideways--for eight days.

So as of noon yesterday, the girls have brand new rooms. But I didn't bother painting Aislin's room yet.

Would you?


We just got back...

from getting new pictures!

These are for Aislin's 2nd birthday. Alyssa is 11 and I'll be getting a portrait of her in her ballet recital costume soon. The rest of the pictures are in my Webshots album in the sidebar.

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Aren't they such pretty girls? Yes, I'm a very proud Mama. But Daddy was walking around like a peacock. I said we would get a few pictures because we don't really have a lot of money right now.

$204.00 later...


I'm past due...

on the SBQOTW.

I really do have the best intentions on keeping up with this on a weekly basis. After all, this blog is supposed to be about stitching. But as my mother says, "I've slept since then."

August 3rd: Have you hand-dyed your own fabric? Why or why not? Would you like to try to do so?

No I have never dyed my own fabric. I would love to, and am envious of those stitchers I know who have tried this. C even dyed some with koolaid! It turned out lovely!

I think I'm worried about the mess. Or the fact that I'm such a perfectionist that I will hate every piece. Or something.

July 27th: What is your most unique/interesting stitching quirk? (This could be something concerning the way you stitch, how you organize your stash, etc.)

I don't know that it's interesting, but it is a quirk. I'm obsessive about how my stitches lay. They have to lay side-by-side, not twisted, and all the stitches have to be the same height. Meaning that if I look at my stitching from the side, there better not be any stitches sticking up higher or sitting lower than the others.

I even have several tools to help in this endeavor. I can't remember the name, but I have a stitch *tucker*. It is like a big needle that can be pushed down into the holes of the fabric and it *tucks* stitches toward the back. How's that for obsessive?

July 20th: Have you ever done a color conversion? If so, what did you think about your results and would you do it again? If not, would you like to try someday?

Yes I have done a conversion. I did TW's Knotwork Bookmark, which she designed with color conversions in mind. I was very happy with it, and used my absolute favorite colors. I'm going to enter it in the county fair this month.

Absolutely yes I would do it again! TW also has a dragon that calls for conversions, and I have looked at some colors for him also. The only problem I have is taking so long to find the *right* colors. But there is such a sense of pride when the colors I choose actually work!

I have framed my first piece for the fair this year. It's my first fair, so I am very excited and completely nervous. Since my sister Heather is so stingy and won't let me enter her gorgeous wedding sampler that will probably win a blue ribbon (I love you Sissy!) I had to find some other pieces. But I think I've picked some nice things to enter.

1. TW's Knotwork Bookmark. Not actually finished into a bookmark yet. I'm just waiting on the vinyl sleeve and tassel. I was thinking dark brown to match the brown in the border.

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2. An ornament. I just have to put on the hanger.

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3. Winter Blues by Just Nan under samplers. Needs to be framed but I will probably do that today.

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4. TW's Jeanne Love's Angel. The first thing I framed myself!

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5. Main Street Box. This was a recent finish for my mother, but she generously allowed me to enter it in the fair. It will be under perforated paper. It can be seen under recent finishes in the sidebar.

All the details for these pieces can be found in my webshots albums. Look under "My favorite links" in the sidebar.

Other things I'm thinking about include a piece of jewlery that I made, a silk gauze piece, a beaded ornament, and a beaded egg.

I'll post more pictures as I finish things. I'm so excited though, and I'm going to be selfish once again...

...and hope I win something!


Today is the day...

that my parents are moving to North Carolina.

It's a long, hard, 2-day drive from New Mexico. I understand completely why they are moving. My mother has never liked the Southwest. She was raised in places like Washington state, California, and Alaska, and she was born in North Carolina, so it has been very hard on her here. She was stationed in this state twice while in the military, and she retired in this town in 2001. But she wants to be near her deceased father's family and get a teaching job out there.

I feel so alone. I am very used to moving. We moved every 2-3 years when I was growing up. That's the life of a military brat. But the older I get, the more I want to settle down. I want to have a "home." I've never had a place I could call home because I wasn't ever from anywhere.

And the older I get the more I want to be closer to my parents. I have seen them every day for the last 5 years. Now I won't see them but once or twice a year.

I feel very selfish. I feel like a big baby. But I still feel very lonely, even with Justin and my girls.

I will be busy this fall, with school and work and family. Will that make the time pass by faster?

Maybe Christmas will come early this year.


Where does the time run off to...

when you don't do much during the day?

I mean that in the most sincere way, in that it seems that the days pass by faster this summer when I'm not working, than during the school year when I teach. It's unbelievable, because I'm even getting up earlier in the morning than usual. Then I blink, and the day is over.

I think I'm focused on this aspect even more than usual because my baby, Aislin, turned 2 years old this last Saturday. Plus she got her first haircut. She screamed the whole time. I really need to post pictures. But her turning 2 is impossible, because it hasn't even been enough time to forget the labor pains. She just can't be 2! Can't be! And Alyssa can't be 11 1/2 and going into 6th grade! And she has boobs! My little Peanut is as tall as me and has boobs. *sigh*

Why? Why are they allowed to grow up? I guess I took it for granted that they would always be babies and need me and be able to snuggle on my lap. Selfish, yes, but see previous posts. I think I'm wallowing in misery because I got out their baby books to reminisce and to update Aislin's and the changes just got the best of me.

On the plus side, Justin's thumb is looking great! After just 2 months after amputating it, it is almost fully healed. There is some concern with the nail, as a little bitty sliver of it is trying to grow, which is gross, and the doctor will decide in 3 months what to do with it. But it doesn't hurt as much as it did, and he's now getting weird phantom pains in it. I just feel bad for him when he tries to do something that requires a thumb...

...and he forgets it's not there!


Wow, twice in one day...

that I have finished a project. Granted they are very small, but I feel a great sense of accomplishment. Not only is the stitching finished, but they are framed and ready to display! They are over on my sidebar under "Recent Finishes."

Finishing projects is part of my self-imposed therapy for trying to work through my OCD. One of the problems is being a perfectionist and I take so much time just to finish something. I pick at the stitches and take them out if they don't look right to me. I spend hours with tweezers pulling out little cat hairs that only I can see. And the thought of leaving a mistake gives me a panic attack.

I made up my mind that I was going to finish something, anything today. And I finished two! Yay for me!

So once again I need to catch up on SBQOTW.

June 11th: What do you do when you have some sort of obligation stitching to do, but don’t want to do it?

I really hate obligation stitching in general, because it's always patterns that I probably wouldn't ever do unless it was for that person. When I did TW's Wedding Sampler for my sister and brother-in-law last year, I pulled out my hair and cried and threw a fit and begged Justin to not make me do anymore. It was the greens. All those damn confetti greens that TW is famous for. But I pushed along and got more excited as I got more done, and I couldn't wait to be finished so they could see it.

I model stitch for one company about every three months, and once again they may send something that I don't particularly like, but I have to finish it within the deadline or 1) I may not get paid, and 2) they may not send another model for me to stitch. I think I'm more excited seeing my name associated with the piece than with stitching them.

But then there are those pieces, like my dad's "Forest Deer," that has been languishing in the "I hate you" pile for several years. I think it was supposed to be his Christmas present for the year 2000.

June 6th: Do you think that you stitch neater on Evenweave than you do on Aida cloth? If so, why?

Actually I think I stitch better on Aida than on evenweave. I hate hate hate stitching on Aida, but since it's stiffer and harder to pull and distort the threads, my stitching just looks better than on evenweave.

I still won't stitch on aida though, unless it's something very small.

I never said I wasn't a snob.


I think I've finally come to a point in my life...

...where I really don't feel like stressing about stuff.

Usually I'm a complete "Type-A personality," but it seems that the things I was worrying about is not so major in the grand scheme of things.

Take for instance:

1. Bill collectors. I most often worry about bills. Are there any due today? Did I pay this one or that one? How is my credit? I have almost perfect credit and I don't want to ruin it. Now most people do worry about keeping up with their bills, but I'm really sick of obsessing about it on a daily basis. I am not teaching this summer so I am a little behind (40 days) on one credit card. Most days this would have me in migraine status. But today I told the *customer service* rep that I am paying what I can when I can, and will get back on schedule when my contract comes up again in August. I can't do anything else about it, I can't give them money I don't have, so I'm not going to freak out like normal.

2. My girls. Normally I obsess about how they look. Are they wearing clean clothes? Are their faces washed and hair combed before going out in public? Have they bathed recently? For health factors, yes, I make sure they bathe and comb their hair and brush their teeth on a daily basis. But Alyssa (11 1/2) is giving me fits with her clothes. I try to buy her a new shirt and a pair of pants or skirt about every month. Shoes and school clothes are about twice a year. Recently I bought her a pair of black converse that she *had* to have. 3 weeks later I made her throw them away because she had colored all over them with Sharpies. And not nice coloring either. Mom said I should have made her wear them anyway, but I'm so afraid of someone questioning my parental judgment that it was almost impossible to let her walk out the door with them on. I don't want her to look like a rag, but I'm beginning to realize that it's not worth obsessing about, because if someone questions me I'll just tell them that she's the one who writes on her shoes and pants.

3. My house. I spend a great deal of time cleaning. Of course I don't want a messy house, but going to obsessive lengths to make sure the house is immaculate all the time is depressing me. One of my goals is to realize that I don't have to scrub everything every day. The girls won't get sick if the floor doesn't get mopped every day! Will they?

4. School. I HAVE to get straight A's. I had a 4.0 GPA with my Master's Degree, and I don't think anything less is good enough for me. I just started back to school to get a public school teaching license and I got an A in the first class. But does it matter if I don't get A's in everything? It used to. Now I'm not so sure. Not that I'm going to slack off or anything, but I don't know that it's healthy to be so obsessive about it. And I really see the affect it has on Alyssa if she doesn't get straight A's. My best should be good enough.

5. My parents. Especially my mom. I always have to try to be perfect for them. Not that they expect it, it comes from me only. I know I disappointed them quite a bit while I was growing up, and I don't want to continue. I am bound and determined to realize that my parents do love me and are proud of me. Once again, being happy with myself has to come into play. But my parents are moving all the way across the country in a few weeks. How will I function without them? Wait, I'm 35 and I have a job and a husband and kids. I have to tell myself I'm a big girl now, and flying is cheap these days.

I think those are the things I obsess about the most.

What am I thankful for?

1. My beautiful, intelligent, funny, sweet, healthy girls. They really keep me going.

2. My handsome, caring, tender husband. Tough on the outside, soft on the inside...just the way I like 'em!

3. I have a place to live, food to eat, tv to watch, and cross stitch. It doesn't get any better than that.

4. Loving parents and family and a few very close friends who make life that much more enjoyable.

5. My brother is still safe in Iraq. Please support our troops!

I'm going to focus on these aspects now, because the other worries just seem silly by comparison. No I'm not selfish...

...I have OCD.


Has it really been that long...

since I've replied to the SQOTW? I guess it has. Doesn't time just fly?

For June 29:
When starting a new project, do you start in the middle? If you do, once you’ve worked down to the bottom, do you turn your chart and fabric around so that you are stitching the top section downwards again or do you just stitch upwards from the middle?

This is such a great question! I am always a center starter. Always have been and always will be. I have tried starting in the upper left corner, but it seems that I can't get the stitching centered that way. I did one Just Nan sampler that I started at the top left, but I left enough fabric that, even though it was off center, it left enough for framing.

I can't work from the pattern upside down either. I just sort of spread out from the center.

For June 22:
Are there any types of designs that you won’t stitch?

Since I am a wannabe Athiest, any type of religious designs make me uncomfortable. I do celebrate Christmas and love to stitch Christmas designs, but I tend to stay away from anything with a Biblical element.

I also tend to stay away from several particular designers that put out abstract, flat types of designs. There are some Celtic Crosses or stained glass windows that come to mind. Not only do they turn me off, but they tend to give me a headache for some reason.

I also don't like doing really cutesy designs anymore. That was the only type I would stitch when I was younger, and I think they really helped me in learning the technique. But I don't think they really challenge me anymore. But I would stitch one if it was for a baby or a child.

For June 15:
Do you feel the need to stitch a design from a specific designer just to say that you’ve experienced stitching one of their designs?

Hmmm. Excellent question! I would say for the most part no. There are many designers out there that people love that I just can't bring myself to stitch. And even if I did start one, I would most likely not finish it and then it would languish in a box with my other "I-don't-love-you-anymore" WIPs. Most of the Mirabilia patterns are that way for me because it doesn't seem like she does anything different each time, so I can never get excited about them. It's always a yellow fairy. Bleck! Although I do love her Royal Holiday queen and would love to stitch her!

On the other hand, I finished Teresa Wentzler's Wedding Sampler for my sister last year. I love it when I get to brag that I actually finished a larger TW.

For June 1:
What do you like least about cross stitching?

I think the thing I dislike most is that it takes so long to see any progress on a larger or smaller complicated design. I am a slow stitcher and it takes me hours to see any progress. I can stitch until I'm sore and have a headache, and then want to cry because it doesn't look like anything different.

And I really dislike it when you come to the end of a length of thread, and have to rethread the needle for one more stitch! Grrrrrr! Especially when it's a blend!

It looks like that's what I missed for the time being.

It's amazing how time just gets away from you. And I'm supposed to have more time in the summer. I'm not working, the kids are home, and I'm not doing much. We don't have ballet and soccer and band and day care or anything right now. But I am taking an online education class. It doesn't take that much time, maybe 5 hours a week, but I think after spending that much time in on online class I don't really feel like spending any more time on the computer.

Or maybe it's just too hot here...

...and I hate it when my bare legs stick to the chair!

Normally I don't feed into this type of thing...

but I can't stand by and just watch anymore.

I'm talking about Tom Cruise and his behavior and comments as of late. The man is becoming dangerous and a threat to the public. His *ahem* knowledgeable discussion with Matt Lauer recently about mental health and medication is irresponsible and self-serving.

You can read a transcript of the interview here:


His condescending, holier-than-though attitude with Matt Lauer was enough to make me vomit.

His attack on Brooke Shields, who was very courageous to come forward and share her ordeal with post-partum depression, was ignorant and hateful. How can he not see that there are people who look up to him and will follow what he says just because he's TOM CRUISE? Does he not think about the repercussions of what his comments will mean to people who desperately need help?

I am one person who has suffered from a lifetime of depression and suicide attempts. And I suffered from severe post-partum depression when my oldest daughter was born. Anti-depressants have saved my life. Anti-depressants have helped me to get out of bed and have the courage to face the day. And anti-depressants have assured that Aislin and Alyssa will have a mommy to see them grow up. Would he tell them to their little faces that "mommy just needs to take more vitamins"?

I have signed a petition that says I am boycotting "War of the Worlds." As someone with a degree in English, I am sorry to say that I am not going to see a movie that I was so looking forward to. I love and respect Steven Spielberg, and I am sorry that Tom Cruise's behavior will affect his movie. But this is my political stand against a dangerous, uneducated, and narcissitic "man" who spouts his trash to the public.

There are people out there who say that Tom Cruise has a right to speak about anything he wants, and we don't have to listen. I agree to a point. As a public figure I believe he has a responsibility, like a parent or a teacher, to think about who might be listening. And I for one would not want my children to hear his opinions.

If you agree that Tom Cruise's behavior and comments have gone too far, please sign this petition. If anything, it will let him know that there are many, many people who have lost respect for him (if they had any at all).


And if you don't choose to sign, that's fine too...

...and I sincerely hope you enjoy the movie.


I've come to the conclusion...

that children are born crazy.

Crazy, nutty, bizarre, strange...whatever you want to label it, it still comes down to the same condition.

Don't get me wrong, I love my little girls with a passion. But they're weird.

Case in point #1. Alyssa, 11, loves animals. Not so strange because she takes after her mom. But right now Alyssa is obsessed with all things kitten. She wants a new kitten, and I'm sure my 14-year-old cat Shadow would be thrilled with the idea, considering that Shadow freaks out if a bug lands on her. She hides for days! Anyway, for the last 4 days Alyssa has been in my face about a kitten. Literally. In my face. She stands next to me with her nose on my cheek. When I ask her "what?" she replies, "Can I get a kitten?"

Last night as I'm sound asleep on the couch with Aislin, Alyssa puts her face right next to mine, which guarantees I'm going to wake up with a start. "Mom," she whispers. "Can I get a kitten?"

Case in point #2. I have the most intelligent, brilliant girls to ever grace the face of the earth. Aislin will be 2 in July, and her vocabulary is progressing at an astonishing rate. She can also use my cell phone to call everyone in my phone book. Grammy and Grandma are her favorites. She absolutely loves to jabber on her play phone, and carries my cell around with it tucked against her shoulder, walking around and talking and saying "Uh huh" like Mommy. But when someone calls to talk to her, she won't talk. She will only talk if she hangs up on the person. Someone on the phone? Acts like she can't speak a word. Hangs up on the person? Talks like she's been doing it for years.

She has also named her feet. Right foot "Mama." Left foot "Dada." She point back and forth stating her feet names. Mama. Dada. Mama. Dada. Mama. Dada.

I know this cannot be an isolated incident. I'm sure that everyone's child(ren) is (are) weird. So I just have to say...Mom, Dad...I'm sorry...



I missed out on a few...

Stitching Bloggers QOTW since I have been feeling so horrible the last few weeks. But since Alyssa is at her friend's house, and Aislin is eating popcorn and watching Nick Jr, I have a few minutes to get caught up!

May 11th: Given the option, would you rather buy a chart and get the material and floss together yourself, or buy a pre-packed kit?

I guess it all depends on two things: 1) Is the design available as a pattern? 2) What is the quality of the materials in the kit?

I have been finding that I am becoming more irritated with kit quality as I get into more complex designs. I used to stitch exclusively from kits because they seem to be more cost effective when you are on a very limited budget. But now I can't stand to stitch on Aida, and the quality of a lot of kit floss leaves much to be desired. In fact, I just started a limited edition Mickey Mouse kit and just couldn't bear the thought of stitching on the Aida provided, so I switched out with a piece of 28 count linen. If the kit is something I really want to do, and if it has linen or evenweave, I'll usually buy it. But if it's in leaflet form I will usually just kit it up myself.

May 18th: How many strands of floss to you prefer to stitch with? Why?

99% of the time I use 2 strands on a 28 count fabric. That is the standard and I'm quite happy with the coverage it gives most of the time. Some designers call for 3 strands on 28 count, which does provide a blanket-like coverage. But I find that the 3 strands get "lumpy" and start to really bug me. It doesn't lay nicely like 2 strands! My favorite stitching is over 1 with 1 strand. Over 1 allows you to get some great details into a design. And I think I like it because I know many people really aren't comfortable with over-1 stitching. Yep, I'm a cross stitch snob!

May 25th: How do you deal [with] a "stitching slump?"

I don't know about anyone else but I have had some ultimate stitching slumps. I had one that lasted for 7 years! It was bound to happen, considering I have been stitching for 22 years! I just walked away from it and didn't look back, until I found Teresa Wentzler's designs and her bulletin board. That got me completely obsessed again, and I became a collector.

On the smaller slumps, where I just don't feel like looking at any stitching, I usually read. Sometimes that helps, sometimes doesn't. Other times I will look at a designer that I normally wouldn't stitch, or find something that has a lot of different types of stitches in it. Just Nan samplers or any type of sampler is really good for this. I also look at Bent Creek or Lizzie*Kate designs, because most of them are fairly quick finishes and the use of overdyed threads makes the stitching a little more interesting. But other times there is nothing I can do, and I just have to let it pass. You can only be excited for so long at one time about making x after x.

Well, I guess I'm caught up now! Hopefully I will be on time with next week's answer...

...unless Dumbass cuts off his other thumb.


If it's not one thing...

it's another.

I really haven't felt like doing much at all this month. I got my students' grades in early, and after that everything just went to shit. Here is a summary of being me the last couple of weeks.

First, why Kenny Chesney, why? Why have you forsaken me? Didn't the thousands of emails and the underpants I sent mean anything to you? Don't you know the energy it takes for me to email you that much, and to follow you around the world? Not to mention the perfectly good pair of drawers that I sent. Do you not understand the trouble I could be in with my husband if he found out that I was following another man around the world? All the money I've spent on concert tickets and cds and t-shirts? The fact that I had my "Justin" tattoo scratched out and had "Kenny" tattooed right below it? Don't you understand the world of shit I would be in? No. You don't. Because you had to go and secretly marry a stick. With blonde hair. Yeah sure, she's got an Oscar. But does she really love you Kenny? I mean you've only known her for 4 months, while I've been loving you for YEARS! Years Kenny! Ok, ok, so you wrote a song when you saw her in "Jerry McGuire." Big deal. All your other love songs were about me, weren't they Kenny? You just couldn't wait until I could pay off my student loans so we could be together. Fine. If that's the way you want it. Mail me back my damn underwear! And by the way, you shouldn't run around barefooted so much. Grown men have ugly feet.

Yes that's a joke. I wish Kenny and Renee all the love and happiness in the world.

Second, Teresa Wentzler, why have you forsaken me also? Your cross stitch designs are what I live for. The obsession began with "Unicorn" and just spiraled from there. I guess people buying your over 100 designs just isn't good enough for you, is it TW? I've sent you birthday cards, and terrific emails, and have participated at your bulletin board for 8 years! 8 years TW! And you decide that you have to take a sabatical from designing cross stitch to pursue your other artistic endeavors! We don't even get the ones you are working on right now? I have EVERY ONE of your designs! Well except Mimi and Victorian Portrait. But I do have all the other ones. I guess the only thing I can do is sell off my TW collection, become a hermit, and never stitch or do anything crafty again. You did this because of me, didn't you TW? DIDN'T YOU? Am I not good enough to work on your designs? Just because I have so many started and have only finished 1 larger one, doesn't mean that I won't finish any more. Please, TW! Please don't quit! I'll send you all my money! I'll sacrifice myself to the Goddess of the Blended Threads! I'll go on Fear Factor and eat everyone's bugs and worms and eyeballs and moldy crap for them! No? OK fine. But I'll never be able to look at 3041 or 3042 again without relapsing back into what my medication takes care of. And it will be all your fault!

Yep, another joke. I wish TW all the happiness and success with her new artwork that she had with her cross stitch designs. What a wonderful woman she is!

Finally, in between the heart-crushing realizations that Kenny Chesney is off the market, and I will be getting no more cross stitch designs in the forseeable future from TW, I have come to the conclusion that I am married to a dumbass.

Yes, a dumbass. Said dumbass cut off his thumb. Yeah, you heard right. He cut off his left thumb right in the middle of the knuckle. And then he went to bed. Nope, he didn't tell me a thing, just put some tape around it and climbed into bed next to me. Check this out...he was out making wooden stakes on the table saw. I thought maybe at first we were having a vampire scare, but it turns out he wanted to stake off the driveway because we are putting in a yard. But one stake got caught up in the saw, and instead of turning the saw off and removing the wood that way, dumbass decides that it would be less time-consuming if he tried to "nudge" the wood through. And ZIP! there goes his left thumb. Most normal people, including most of the men I know who normally just fix their cuts with electrical tape, would have at least let their wives know, "Hey honey, I just cut off my thumb. Can you bring me a beer?" I don't even get that.

I went to bed at 10pm with the start of a migraine, and dumbass came to bed at 11pm. At 1am I hear the clear packing tape being pulled off the roll. You know the sound I mean...that "EEEERRRRRPPPPP!" sound.

So I go into the kitchen, and dumbass has a piece of gauze around his thumb, trying to tear off packing tape to wrap around it. So I go to help and find out what happened. Following is our conversation, word for word:

Me: Honey, what happened?
Dumbass: Oh I just cut my finger.
Me: Ok well let me help you. How bad is it?
Dumbass: Not bad, I think I cut off the tip, but I don't think I hit the bone.
Me: Well, that's good. Wait, you cut off the tip? Don't you think you should let me take you to the hospital? It may need stitches.
Dumbass: No I'm fine, I just need to wrap it.
Me: Justin! JUSTIN! Sit down! Justin SIT DOWN!
*sound of dumbass hitting the floor*
Me: Ok I'm calling mom and we're going in.
Dumbass: No please don't! I'm fine, I just got dizzy.
Me: No you are getting your ass in the car and we're going to the hospital! Now get your pants on!

So my mother says she is on her way to stay with the girls. Meanwhile I find that the bed, his pillow, and everything in that area is saturated with blood. Little did I know just how bad it was! We go to the ER and when the nurse takes off the gauze I have a mini seizure and start crying out "WHY? WHY DID YOU GO TO BED!" I realize know that he was in horrible shock, but it was probably the worst thing I have ever seen. Those of you familiar with table saws know that they don't make clean cuts. And of course since we live in a little bitty town, the ER can't do anything without an orthopedic surgeon to look at it. So the nurse kinda cleans it, and wraps it, and gives dumbass a shot of Demerol. But he has to wait to get it fixed until we can get to Lubbock (100 miles away) to see an OS. Luckily my mother-in-law is friends with one. But he is gushing blood and stuff for 15 hours. It's all sewn up now, no problem. He has an appointment tomorrow to get it checked and the dressing changed. And his best friend is calling him "Stubbs."

So the moral of this story ladies, is that when your dumbass tells you he's fine, say "OK honey"...

...and take him directly to the emergency room.


It's Friday, so I missed...

the Stitching Blogger's QOTW on Wednesday. I've been putting a bunch of things up on Ebay to get rid of. Plus my last day of class was yesterday so I've been grading and getting my students ready for their final exam on Wednesday.

But that's ok, because we get a 2-fer question this week!

Do you finish all your finished pieces? (pillow, frame, etc,) If so, how do you finish the pieces? If not what do you do with them?

I very rarely finish any of my pieces. My sister has two that are finished and framed, Lizzie*Kate's Bless the Graduate and TW's Wedding Sampler. Hopefully she will send me a picture of WS soon!

Other than those two the only things I have actually finished are some ornaments. Most of the Mill Hill ornaments I stitch I finish because I can just cut them out of the perforated paper and slap on some sticky backed felt. Nothing could be easier! I have sewn up and stuffed a few other ornaments, but I am so embarrassed by my lack of sewing skills that I try to avoid sewing anything. The ones I have done look so bad, but my family members that have received them really like them.

I think I've done a couple of magnets too. One for a friend and one for my sister. Those were easy to sew up.

The remaining pieces that I have stitched are sitting flat in a nice box. I would like to have them framed because my walls are so bare, except for the 3 million pictures of my girls. It does cost more money to frame than I have right now though so they will have to sit there for a while. But every once in a while I visit them!

What is your opinion of Internet "freebies?"

Freebie patterns are so diverse and varied. Between different designers and subjects, I could get really addicted to printing them out. In fact, I just got rid of a stack of about 300 freebie patterns! I have realized that I have far too many designs to stitch and need to get rid of about 75% of it.

Anyway, I try to stick to freebies from my favorite designers: Teresa Wentzler, Victoria Sampler, etc. I have all the freebies from Dragon Dreams too, but the rest I have are very different. I have to be realistic about any pattern I get, and ask myself if I am really going to stitch it or is it going to sit in the binder forever?

That probably didn't answer the question, but I'm in a hurry. I have to head to the university to pick up student essays. I have to take Aislin with me today because Mom is at work. Summer's coming...

no grading for 3 whole months!


Time for...

the stitching blogger's QOTW!

Do you set stitching goals?

Hmmm...good question. It's difficult to set goals for anything, between being a mom and wife and teacher and soon-to-be student again. So where can I fit in all my stitching time and my new obsession for beading (I would like to open a store one day!) in addition to playing mommy, cleaning, teaching, and grading? And not to mention all the other crafty things I like to do.

I don't normally set goals as far as a rotation or have to do *x number* of hours on a project before I get to move on. I follow what's known as the *screaming* rotation, ie work on whatever screams the loudest until I'm sick of looking at it.

I do have a couple of monthly scheduled stitch-a-longs that I work on also. The second weekend of every month is dedicated to TW's Romeo and Juliet, and the last weekend is dedicated to TW's Lady of Shallot. I try to tell myself on that starting Friday that I'll finish something specific on that design, like LOS's cushion or Juliet's dress, over the weekend. Hasn't happened so far. But after the weekend is up I stitch until I can't stand it anymore.

An unofficial goal for 2005 is to finish at least one large project. I would like it to be one of my UFO's (stitching that I have about half finished but started hating them), but actually anything would be great. I think I get sick of looking at these faster than the other projects, and put them away in disgust after only a couple of hours.

I guess another unofficial goal is to use what I have in my stash to kit up those projects that I would like to start working on. I need to quit buying stash, and since I have so much fabric and floss I really should see what I can kit up. But then again do I really need more WIPs? I mean, honestly, the list at the right is overwhelming as it is!

My last unofficial goal is to go through everything I have and either sell, trade, or auction off the stuff I don't want. That means going through tons of magazines and culling the ones that don't have at least one project I can see myself doing in the near future. I try to be honest with myself, but sometimes I'll see one that I just have to keep for whatever reason. And a lot of my patterns, well, I can't remember what I was so attracted to in the first place. As my tastes change I find that I want more patterns than I can sell, and just want to *have* them. I like to hoard! You stitchers know what I mean!

So I guess my unofficial goals for this year (and it won't kill me if they aren't accomplished) are to:
1. Finish 1 (at least) larger project
2. Kit up projects that I can from my stash
3. Do some major stash reduction (and limit my buying!)

Seems do-able...

...on paper.


It doesn't get any easier...

to lose a beloved pet.

This Friday I took my mother to the vet to have their dog, Max, put to sleep. He was the sweetest dog. He never complained, he never argued, and best of all his temperament was amazing. Kids could crawl all over him and he would never make a sound. He loved babies and kittens, and licked both with equal zest.

But as much as you think your animals will be with you forever...they just can't be.

There comes a time when they get sick. Really sick. Max had a very strange cancer. One of the cells from his salivary glands traveled up into his forehead and became cancerous. By the time we noticed anything, it was too late.

The lump above his left eye just appeared one day. And then his eyes started bulging out. The doctor said he had glaucoma, so we started giving him glaucoma medicine. The doctor said he had Horn's disease, and the lump should go away on its own. Then the doctor said, "Let's do a biopsy."

It turned out to be cancer, and the doctor said he only had a couple of months to live.

And Max never complained. Not once.

Until Friday. He bumped into Mother's leg and cried. He was in serious pain. And his right eye was bulging and looked rotten. Obviously the tumor behind the eye had cut off the blood flow to the eye itself. It was time for him to go.

We took him to the vet that afternoon. Mother was crying and saying that Max was acting like a puppy, running around and eating like normal. But I knew, just like I knew the lump wasn't good.

It only took a few seconds. Max slowly relaxed and went to sleep. And he didn't make a sound. Mother was holding his chin in her hand because she couldn't hold his head. It was too painful for him. The doctor placed his head on his paws, and he looked just like he did when he slept at home. I don't know if that was comforting or not.

I feel a lot of guilt about Max. He wasn't really my dog, since my parents got him when I was 20. He turned 15 this month. But I feel like I maybe talked Mother into doing it, if only for *Max's sake*. I couldn't stand the thought of that sweet dog turning mean because of the tumors pushing on his brain. I couldn't stand the thought of him going through seizures, or dying in more pain than he was already in. And I really couldn't stand the thought of coming over during the day while Mother is at work and finding him dead.

Mother had hoped he would die in his sleep, so that she wouldn't be forced to make one of the hardest decisions of her life, but he was tough.

My daughter, Alyssa, has been hit the hardest. Max was around for 4 years before she was born. He was her best friend. We lived with my parents for several years and Max slept in her room. She took him for walks, and in every family picture we have, Max is in her lap. Alyssa can't stop crying, and I don't really know how to comfort her except to say that I know how she feels. I have been through the same thing and, although the hurt never fully goes away, it does get easier. That deep, rotting sorrow eventually fades into something more managable.

One thing I didn't tell Alyssa was that Max went to Heaven, or *Crossed the Rainbow Bridge*. I did tell her that Max is wherever makes him happy, doing the things that made him happiest when he was alive, and he is in no pain. Someone suggested giving her a copy of the Rainbow Bridge poem, but I just can't do it. I realize that it makes it easier for many people to deal with a beloved pet's death, but to me *Crossing the Rainbow Bridge* sounds like the animal is on the path to Big Gay Al's house. Too much South Park I guess.

I just can't stomach anymore euphemisms. Phrases such as "passed away" or "crossed the rainbow bridge" or "euthanasia" or "put to sleep" just covers up what really happens. We can tell ourselves and our kids all we want that someone "passed away," but in the end we still have to realize that they're dead. There is no other way around it. And it's easier to explain death to kids the first time than when they come to you later and say, "You said he was sleeping!"

I realize how harsh that sounds, but everyone deals with death in their own way. When Misty died 15 years ago, I spent 3 days in bed sobbing. I thought I would die from grief over that dog. And then there's Shadow, who's now 14. My cat has been with me through 3 husbands, 2 kids, many moves, 2 college degrees, 2 hospital stays, and 1 nervous breakdown. 14 is pretty old for a cat. I don't want to think about taking naps and not having her snuggled under the covers with me. Because one day she'll be dead.

And it doesn't matter what *nice* label you put on it.


The saying is true...

there is no rest for the weary.

Once again I have been affected by crud. I'm stuffy and snotty and my throat hurts. I had no voice at all this morning so I'll be lucky to get through teaching my class today.

And I should be grading papers again. I don't feel like it. But I did find this on blogthings.com (and yes, it's all true!):

You Know You're From New Mexico When...
You buy salsa by the gallon.

You are still using the paper license tag that came with your car five years ago.

Your favorite restaurant has a chile list instead of a wine list.

You do all your shopping and banking at a drive-up window.

Your Christmas decorations include "a yard of sand and 200 paper bags".

You have license plates on your walls, but not on your car.

Most restaurants you go to begin with "El" or "Los".

You remember when Santa Fe was not like San Francisco.

You hated Texans until the Californians moved in.

The tires on your roof have more tread than the ones on your car.

You price-shop for tortillas.

You have an extra freezer just for green chile.

You think a red light is merely a suggestion.

You believe that using a turn signal is a sign of weakness.

You don't make eye contact with other drivers because you can't tell how well armed they are just by looking.

You think six tons of crushed rock makes a beautiful front lawn.

You have to sign a waiver to buy hot coffee at a drive-up window.

You ran for state legislature so you can speed legally.

You pass on the right because that's the fast-lane.

You have read a book while driving from Albuquerque to Las Vegas.

You know they don't skate at the Ice House and the Newsstand doesn't sell newspapers.

You think Sadies was better when it was in the bowling alley.

You have used aluminum foil and duct tape to repair your air conditioner.

You can't control your car on wet pavement.

There is a piece of a UFO displayed in your home.

You know that The Jesus Tortilla is not a band.

You wish you had invested in the orange barrel business.

You just got your fifth DWI and got elected to the state legislature in the same week.

Your swamp cooler got knocked off your roof by a dust devil.

You have been on TV more than three times telling about how your neighbor was shot or about your alien abduction.

You can actually hear the Taos hum.

All your out-of-state friends and relatives visit in October.

You know Vegas is a town in the northeastern part of the state.

You are afraid to drive through Mora and Espanola.

You iron your jeans to "dress up".

You don't see anything wrong with drive-up window liquor sales.

Your other vehicle is also a pick-up truck.

Two of your cousins are in Santa Fe, one in the legislature and the other in the state pen.

You know the punch line to at least one Espanola joke.

Your car is missing a fender or bumper.

You have driven to an Indian Casino at 3am because you were hungry.

You think the Lobos fight song is "Louie, Louie"

You know whether you want "red or green."

You're relieved when the pavement ends because the dirt road has fewer pot-holes.

You can correctly pronounce Tesuque, Cerrillos, and Pojoaque.

You have been told by at least one out-of-state vendor that they are going to charge you extra for "international" shipping.

You expect to pay more if your house is made of mud.

You can order your Big Mac with green chile.

You see nothing odd when, in the conversations of the people in line around you at the grocery store, every other word of each sentence alternates between Spanish and English.

You associate bridges with mud, not water.

You know you will run into at least 3 cousins whenever you shop at Wal-Mart, Sam's or Home Depot.

Tumbleweeds and various cacti in your yard are not weeds. They are your lawn.

If you travel anywhere, no matter if just to run to the gas station, you must bring along a bottle of water and some moisturizer.

Trailers are not referred to as trailers. They are houses. Double-wide trailers are "real" houses.

A package of white flour tortillas is the exact same thing as a loaf of bread. You don't need to write it on your shopping list; it's a given.

At any gathering, regardless of size, green chile stew, tortillas, and huge mounds of shredded cheese are mandatory.

Prosperity can be readily determined by the number of horses you own.

A tarantula on your porch is ordinary. A scorpion in your tub is ordinary. A poisonous centipede on your ceiling? Ordinary. A black widow crawling across your bed is terribly, terribly common. A rattlesnake is an occasional hiking hazard. No need to freak out.


It's Wednesday again...

and that means the stitcher's question of the week!

Have you ever been asked to do model stitching?
Did you do it? If so, what was your compensation? (money, stash, etc.) If not, why not?
If you haven't done it, if you were asked would you? Why or why not?

I just started model stitching in January for Stoney Creek. I have only done one ornament, and am working on three bookmarks. For right now they are very quick stitches and I really enjoy doing them. The selection process was pretty nerve-racking, because I had to send several samples of my stitching to the company. It's difficult to choose just a few, and you constantly ask yourself, "Is this one good enough?" or "Maybe I should choose something else."

But I get to stitch different things before they are actually on the market, and it's a total self-esteem booster to know that I was the first person to stitch something, ever. I work with different fibers and projects that I may not necessarily choose to do myself, but I think any stitching I do can only improve my technique and skill. The money is not necessarily a factor (I get paid hourly minimum wage), but I think it's more of a selfishness on my part. I get paid to do something I love, and I get to see my name on the finished product when it's published. Plus, just the fact that someone thinks my work is good enough for the world to see, well...that's a whole 'nuther reward in itself!

I would really like to do more model stitching with other companies and designers because, as I said, it's a real ego booster. I've worked hard for my 15 minutes of fame!

So what's wrong with trying to drag it out a bit longer?


It's April 19th...

and I'm haunted by yellow socks.

Every year, on this date, I become even more horribly depressed and paranoid than usual. And everytime I close my eyes I see yellow socks.

It's been 10 years, the building is gone, the devil has been destroyed, but the image of the yellow socks never goes away.

I have a similiar reaction around September 11th, as it was just as horrible an experience as any. I try to keep most of the people faceless, because it's easier to deal with that way. Not that I don't remember that they were human, or that it was any less humane, but the yellow socks makes it so much more horrible, so much more incomprehensible, in my mind.

Was it because it was carried out by one of our own? That one of the "good guys," someone who swore to defend our country, came out of the shadows and snuck up behind us when we weren't expecting it? Someone who attacked when we were most vulnerable, looking to outside forces as a possible evil? We never would have believed it.

Maybe it's because the owner of the yellow socks would be the same age as my oldest, but was the same age as my youngest when it happened. I look at my girls and ask myself how I would cope. I don't know that I could. I have no doubt that I would drop down dead with my grief, a grief so deep that it would destroy any semblance of humanity that I possess. Did her mother feel that way? Was she angry because her daughter's yellow socks became the symbol for evil in the world? Did she feel vindicated when the devil was destroyed?

Just because the devil is gone, that doesn't mean the demons aren't still haunting us. I can't close my eyes today, as the yellow socks are there. And the fireman.

The fireman holding the dead little girl with the yellow socks.

  • April 19, 1995
  • 4.15.2005

    Between PB&J sandwiches and mopping the floor...

    I found some time to google "Sandra." Yes, that's my name. Why else would I bother?

    In addition to the usual Sandra Bullock or Sandra Brown sites, I came across this...

    Download Sandra
    Free Sandra track.
    Free Trial with no obligation.

    For reasons unknown, I was bothered by the possibility of people downloading me. Why would someone want to download me? And what would they do with me if they did? Would I end up as a cut-and-paste on a porn site? As a target on a virtual dart board? Hit normally semi-attractive woman in the third eye and win a prize! (Third eye=incredibly large pimple directly centered in the middle of my forehead. I heard it mumbling about world domination last night.)

    My curiosity got the best of me, and I wasted no time getting to the site so that I could download Sandra for my own personal gain. The toilets need to be scrubbed, and my cat has been walking around holding a sign that says, "Hey hey Ho Ho that kitty litter has got to go!" I suggested sending in a scab to cross the picket line, but my cat reminded me that our queen/serb contract specifically states "No substitutions." And I think Aislin just made a poop face.

    How divine it would be, I thought, to be able to download myself. TOS (the other Sandra) can do all of the chores that I dread! While TOS is taking care of the dishes, the toilets, cat litter, laundry, and mopping, I can sit around on my ass and watch Law and Order reruns while simultaneously cross stitching, reading to Aislin, and helping Alyssa with her math. Oh joy! And while she's at it, TOS can grade those quizzes I have been putting off, and write that hate letter to Sports Illustrated for Kids (because damnit I didn't order your magazine and I'm not paying for it! Get the hint!)

    But alas, no such luck. Sandra turned out to be a program for diagnosing computer problems. It doesn't clean toilets or litter boxes, or write nasty letters to overly-zealous sports magazines. But I won't let it get me down. Because "a woman's work is never done." That's why it can wait. I'm going to go snuggle with Aislin.

    Poop face and all.


    Nothing more interesting to me today...

    than quizzes.

    Sandra's Aliases

    Your movie star name: Chocolate Cake Robert
    Your fashion designer name is Sandra London
    Your socialite name is Sissy Austin
    Your fly girl / guy name is S Tol
    Your detective name is Owl Robert D. Edgren
    Your barfly name is Rice Crispy Treats Margarita
    Your soap opera name is Leanne Parkview
    Your rock star name is Snickers Cheetah
    Your star wars name is Sansha Toljus
    Your punk rock band name is The Pissy Toothpick

    The Pissy Toothpick?

    Your Linguistic Profile:

    70% General American English
    10% Dixie
    10% Upper Midwestern
    10% Yankee
    0% Midwestern

    Hmmm...considering I've lived in the south most of my life.

    You May Be a Bit Dependent ...

    You're more than a little preoccupied with being abandoned.
    You need a lot of support in your life, at all times.
    It's difficult for you to survive on your own...
    And you don't reallly think you ever could.

    Sounds about right *sigh*.

    You are

    And they base this on the color of your drawers?

    You Are a Losing Lottery Ticket!
    Full of hope and promise.But in the end, a cheap letdown.

    I get those all the time!

    You are "Yakuza" (Japanese mafia)
    John Kerry

    *snerk* I lived in Japan, so I know about the Yakuza.

    Well, I think that's enough fun for today. I need to go do some soul searching.


    Like I said before...

    there's nothing like a job interview to show you what you really don't know.

    It seems that I'm not as qualified to teach for Upward Bound as some of the other applicants. That's ok, since I'll be getting a license to teach public school soon. That's why they didn't hire me, because there were several licensed teachers who applied. I still feel a little worthless though, because I know I'm a great teacher.

    But the day isn't a total bummer, because I got my next model stitching project for Stoney Creek! It's three really cute bookmarks. I should be able to get those done in no time, because they're mostly words with a few little designs on them.

    Today is Wednesday, so that means the stitching question of the week, courtesy of the Blonde Librarian:

    Do you "stitch with the seasons?" (This could be reflected by the colors that you stitch with, the themes that you choose, or even that during your favorite season you stitch more (or less) than in others.)

    I think it really depends on the mood I'm in. I do generally stitch nothing but ornaments towards Christmas, and a favorite subject is snowmen all year round. Then there's my favorite designer, Teresa Wentzler, whose designs I have plenty started. I work on those year round too. I do like to stitch *lighter* things during Spring and Summer. These aren't necessarily Spring and Summer themed or colored, but maybe a specialty stitch sampler or something smaller with not a lot of solid stitching, in between the regular projects. Lizzie*Kate and Bent Creek are perfect for smaller, instant gratification type pieces. Often times I will get really bored with what I have going and can find nothing in my stash to pacify me, so I'll run to HL and see what they have, or else do something else entirely. It's not unusual for me to just want to read during late spring and early summer. So I guess I don't really "stitch with the seasons," but stitch whatever appeals to me most at the moment.

    I think I'll get started on my model stitching. At least today someone thinks I'm useful.

    And I didn't even have to do an interview!


    It's amazing, the things people do...

    when they think no one is looking.

    Most of us spend a lot of time in our cars, whether it's going to pick up the kids, run errands, drive to work, or do any of the millions of activities we have to take care of away from home. And a lot of that time is spent sitting at stoplights. I'm amazed at the amount of stoplights we have in our little town, and the fact that they are so slow. The average stop light in our town lasts about 4 minutes. That's a lot of time to spend sitting, so I have a tendency to watch people in other cars.

    Yesterday I observed the following:

    1. A young man (older than teens but younger than 30) sitting in a nice pickup. Said young man is waving his arms and flopping his head back and forth. I became quite worried for the young man and thought he may have been either a) having a seizure, or b) being attacked by a swarm of killer bees (after all, it has been warm enough to have the windows down). As I ponder as to whether or not I should dial 911, I realize that the young man is listening to the same radio station as I am (we have maybe 3 stations that aren't talk radio or religious discussion, and 2 of the 3 are country). It becomes apparent to me that this young man is heading for American Idol auditions next year. What would be Simon's retort to this young man's seizure-like stage presence. Hideous, maybe?

    2. A young couple in a white Grand Am GT is sitting right next to me. The passenger, a young woman, is looking very Annette Funicello-ish in her bouncy pony tail. Said pony tail is tied up with a white ribbon. Upon closer evaluation I notice that she is also wearing a white sleeveless blouse, white sunglasses, and has a French manicure (seen as she holds her hand up to make a point to the driver). When did it become trendy to use your car as a matching fashion accessory? Does she only wear white? Or does she have other cars to match with her wardrobe? And Mom thought I was obsessive about matching my socks with my shirt.

    3. Oh look, there's a matching white Grand Am GT sitting right next to the first one. No wait, not quite, as the second one has 4 doors and the first only has 2. Second Grand Am driver is revving his engine and *scootching*, obviously trying to entice first Grand Am driver into a battle of the Grand Ams. Apparently, it doesn't work. Does he only do battle with white Grand Am GT's? Maybe he should widen his arena of possible duel contestants.

    4. An older man, again in a pickup, though not as nice as "Seizure-boy from New Mexico American Idol contestant 2006." Said man is very impressed with his reflection in the rear view mirror, as I notice he spends quite a bit of time staring at himself and making faces. He has just brought something up from his lap. I think it's a...no, it can't be! Yes, it is! It's an electric nose-hair trimmer. He's trimming his nose hairs in the privacy of his own vehicle on the busiest street in our town. Egad, what would his wife/significant other think about that? Nevermind, she's in the passenger seat.

    5. There were also various people doing various things, such as a) putting on makeup, b) reading the newspaper or a book, c) arguing with another person in the vehicle, d) arguing with the radio, e) eating large, sloppy hamburgers, f) smoking, mostly cigarettes, or g) picking at various body parts, including, but not limited to, ears, noses, eyes, teeth, and something below the window line.

    All of these fascinating people beg the question: Is everyone late for whatever activity that they may be heading for that they can't spend an extra 10 minutes in the bathroom? When did it become acceptable to move all of these activities to the city streets? Do they think that they are invisible in their vehicles? Don't they realize that, yes, other people can see them? Please people, I beg of you! Do your private business in the privacy of your own home/bedroom/bathroom/kitchen/den/etc. I have no more creative answers for Alyssa as to why you are flossing in your car. Have mercy on the poor drivers who are just trying to get somewhere.

    On the stitching side of things, I have become disgusted with Tigers, and once again realize why I stopped loving it. The kit floss sucks. Really sucks. It shreads and most of the time breaks. I hate it. It gets in my eyes and in my mouth and sticks to the cat. Why can't all kit floss be like the lovely kit (Mickey Mouse Through the Years) I got from England? It's a great quality, not fuzzy, doesn't break, and is quite smooth to stitch with. Now I know why many stitchers swap out kit floss. And Tigers has once again gone into the "I hate you" pile.

    I'm such a snob.


    It's the little things in life...

    that affect us in the biggest ways.

    I really did have a nice birthday this year. I got a HL gift card to go spend on whatever crafting goodies I want! Yah me! I also got a card from my girls that had $75 AUS in it, just so I can order a subscription to my favorite magazine, which does cost $12.95 an issue here in the states. But the problem is that I have to drive at least 100 miles each way just to get a copy.

    I also got a dining room table. Yep, a table. I don't know of anyone else who gets furniture on the holidays, but I always do. We have had a card table in the kitchen since we bought our house a year ago, only because I couldn't find the *perfect* table. It's mission style, just like most of the furniture we have. I like this style because it's very simple, and I'm a simple but elegant kind of girl. Justin is so sweet! He gets me things that I don't really know I want, but they end up being perfect.

    I have a lot of issues going through my mind lately: like why do we have to live in such a windy place? How am I going to go back to school when my parents are moving to North Carolina? Why is Britney Spears getting so fat? and ugly? and why has she quit bathing?

    The town I live in is only 100 miles from one of the two most windy cities in America...Amarillo, Texas. I can't remember what the other one was, but I don't think it was Chicago. Anyway, here we live in the high plains, where the wind blows at 50 mph on a good day and 75 on others. Forget curling your hair. Forget even combing it before leaving for work. It's inevitable that it will look like something a family of birds has nested in on any given day. And if you have allergies, just don't even look at moving here. Every day you will look like someone popped you in the eye. The sniffling, sneezing, watery eyes, scratchy throat, and bubbly nose make every citizen in this place look like a walking allergy commercial. Spring is here, and I feel like my sinuses are being used as the fourth ring for Barnum and Bailey. I think it would probably feel better to use my hand for target practice out at the police academy. Maybe when I finish school next year we can follow my parents out to Greensboro.

    I haven't heard from Upward Bound yet. Nothing like a job interview to remind you of how little you know about anything.

    I realized this week that age is just a number. It wasn't as bad as I thought to turn 35. It doesn't seem much different than 34.

    Maybe I just don't like odd numbers.


    Does being a year older...

    really make me a year wiser?

    35. Today. Today I'm 35. Wow. I don't look 35. I don't feel 35, but sometimes I feel about 70. When I was a teenager I thought 30 was really, really old. I'm not sure how I feel about turning 35, although I am dressed in all black for work.

    I haven't gotten anything yet today, since it's still early. But we did go out to dinner last night with our closest friends. Our normal "birthday thing" at the local K-Bobs. We go 4 times a year, just for birthdays. Justin did tell me he got me the Australian funds to get a subscription to my favorite magazine, "Cross Stitch and Beading." It's about $12.95 an issue here in the US, and the subscription is about $75 AUS. Expensive, but well worth the funds. It covers both of my obsessions in one fell swoop, so who can pass that up? I know he and the girls have something planned to give me later, but they won't tell me what.

    Mom and Dad have been slowly giving me things for the last couple of months. Mostly ordering beads and things I need to get my business up and running. I've made a few gorgeous necklaces, bracelets and earrings out of semi-precious stones and Swarovski crystals and pearls (another one of my obsessions). I also got a bead designing software cd and a cross stitch designing cd for designing patterns. They are really cool! I have had fun playing around with them and learning what they can do. I think they are a must to have if I want to make the most of a jewlery/cross stitch business. Now I just need to get a license and a website, but I'm really not sure what to call it yet.

    I got stash in the mail yesterday too! Stash always makes the day better. I got the Stitcher's Pocket Inventory online from Lazy Daisy in Raleigh. It is about 220 pages of checklists for different flosses and fibers. The biggies are the Rainbow Gallery families and the Caron families. I think it's one of the best stitching invention ever, besides the multi-needle holder. Ingenious! I really recommend them to any serious stitcher. I think I'll add a new section to my blog today...Recommended tools.

    I have a job interview today for Upward Bound. I don't know why it had to be scheduled on my birthday, but that's the soonest it could be done.

    Nothing like having an evaluation on your birthday...I don't think my grey hairs are showing.


    I hate winter...

    but I love snowmen! Go figure.

    Wow. I feel like crap. And not just any crap. Crap that has been stuck to the bottom of some poor unknowing person's shoe and has been tracked all over hell and back.

    It started Tuesday at work. My eyes started feeling itchy and began to swell. By the time I got back home at 3 pm they were nearly swollen shut and my body ached all over. As far as I know, I haven't done any amateur wrestling in the recent past. Maybe I got jumped and had my ass kicked, or Justin accidentally backed over me in his truck. Likely not. But that is exactly what I felt like. And still feel like. Achy. Cruddy. Snotty. Did I mention achy? I had to cancel class yesterday, but the secretary wasn't in the office all day so she didn't get my message to leave a note on the door. So of course my kids called asking if I was coming to class. I'm sure they missed me.

    On the upside, I did get to spend the whole day with Aislin. We watched The Wiggles every 1 1/2 hours from 5 am to about 1 pm. I also got to stitch a little. I pulled out a UFO (Peaceful Stream--see my stitching links off to the right) and worked on that. Even though I can't see very well (nothing seems to make my eyes feel better) it's a pretty easy stitch. Especially since most of it is only half stitches, which gives it a very surreal look. I don't really know why this became a UFO, when it doesn't have any fractionals, very little backstitching, and everything but the house and bird are in half stitches. Plus I really enjoy the color palette.

    I have an interview with Upward Bound on Tuesday (which happens to be my 35th birthday) to teach a summer class. We'll see how that goes. But as for this weekend, hopefully I can grade papers. I think I have senioritis.

    And I'm not even close to being a senior.


    Why do they call Spring Break a vacation...

    when all you do is work? We went to the Grand Canyon last week and had a great time. The canyon was breathtaking, and we didn't have to drive around because we went on one of the tours. They picked us up at our hotel in Flagstaff, drove us around to all the great spots, provided lunch, and dropped us off back at the hotel. The only thing we had to pay for was souveniers, which we got a lot of. We also walked around old Flagstaff, and went to the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert, both gorgeous also!

    But it seems that I came back from vacation even more tired than before I left! Poor Aislin was in shock because she didn't get to sleep in her crib. Justin and I had her between us and for 3 hours she kept standing up and flopping herself down on the pillow. Not much sleep for any of us for 3 nights let me tell you! I had nightmares about Alyssa falling into the canyon because she's so jumpy. She jumped down the stairs at one of the lookouts. Good thing I wasn't at that particular lookout at the time or I would have dropped down dead of a heart attack!

    Then of course there's laundry to do and a cat to console when you get home. I swear every time I go away for a few days, Shadow tries to punish me. Sometimes she pees on my bed or leaves a bunch of hairballs. Most times she just ignores me for several days, just so I know who the queen of this family is.

    I've been doing more updating my blog than actually writing in it the last few days. It was a little blah to me, so I wanted to put a little entertainment value with it. I like it! Plus I've been stitching constantly, much to the chagrin of my students who turned in papers before spring break. I'll get to them, I promise! Since I don't stitch at all during the day until the girls go to bed, I stay up pretty late to stitch. I like the quiet after a long day. But I'm really tired.

    I actually look forward to dying sometimes...maybe I can actually get some sleep then!


    Old age or just plain lazy?

    I just realized that it's been almost four months since I've posted anything. Not that there wasn't anything fascinating happening in my life by any means. I just wasn't feeling very creative for a while. I did finish my sister's wedding sampler, and got a model stitching job with Stoney Creek. But I've just been feeling withdrawn and well...lazy.

    I didn't realize how difficult it was going to be to have a child in my 30's. I had Alyssa when I was 23. I had Aislin when I was 33. Big difference. I'll be 35 in a couple of weeks but I feel much older. Where on earth did I get the energy when I was 23? I had tons of it then. Sleep? Who needed it? Now I feel like an old, tired lady who could sleep for 3 weeks. Not that I don't work just as hard to be a mom to Aislin. I'm a great mom! It just seems much harder to keep up with her than I did with Alyssa.

    Which brings me to what I have been thinking about for a few months...I think I am going to go back to school to get an alternative teaching license. I do have an MA in literature and have been teaching college freshman composition for 7 years. But since I live in such a small town, full-time teaching positions are at a minimum. A couple classes a semester doesn't cut it anymore. I don't get any benefits, and the pay is very low. 1200 dollars per class per semester does nothing more than depress me, because I have to use credit cards a lot and after bills are paid there's very little, if any, money left over. But if I go get a license, I will have full-time employment with benefits, and still be able to teach a night class if I feel like it. I will only have to take 6 classes and do a semester of student teaching here in the high school and will get an alternative license to teach public school. Then I just have to teach for 3 years under the supervison of a mentor and will be granted a "regular" license with all the perks. I'd rather do that then take a bunch of education classes.

    I haven't discussed it with DH yet. He's been pretty busy at work and just comes home and falls asleep. Poor baby.