Sunday, January 25, 2009

On Saturday, January 31st, at 10:00 am, DH and I will be
picking my Mom up from the Rehab facility where she's
been recovering from multiple illnesses since the beginning
of November and we'll be returning her to her home at the
Mountainview Residence to pick up her life again. She's
been in either hospital or rehab for five very long and grueling
months! In all honesty I often wondered if we'd ever see the
day when she would be well enough to go back there. But
she's fought her way through illness and considerable pain
to get back on her feet and self sufficient again. She's a
real tough cookie. I am so proud of her!!

Thank you to all of you who have offered prayers, words of
encouragement and moral support over these past five months.
It's really helped us to keep going and keep our spirits up.

I have a confession to make. I've been keeping a secret. A
deep dark secret. Something I feared to share with anyone.
For the past month or two I've been saying that I've had three
X-stitch projects on the go, more or less simultaneously.
This is a highly unusual situation because I'm a slow stitcher
so working on one project at a time is usually best for me.
But then I got carried away with two Fall projects that I
could not resist starting, plus my usual every day travel
project, so I suddenly had three projects to tell you about.

Er.... well.... would you believe there are four projects??
Because some time early last year I lost my mind and I
started a project that was way beyond anything that I've
ever attempted before. But it was such a gorgeous design
and I saw it being stitched on a few other blogs and loved
it, so ignoring the voice in the back of my mind that kept
saying "Are you nuts??? You'll never be able to stitch this
thing, never mind finish it" I ordered the chart and the
materials. And one day soon after that I made a small start.

I stitched a bit and then left it thinking that I'd certainly
bitten off more then I could chew. Several months later I
pulled it out one day and stitched a bit more on it. And then
put it away again. And that was that. Until last week.

It was calling to me. Loudly. I had to pull it out of the
cupboard, if only to see what it wanted. It wanted some
attention. It wanted to feel loved and wanted. It wanted
to grow and be beautiful.... I wondered if I should mail
it to Staci or Dani or Kathy or.... well, they'd be able to
stitch this thing no problem. While I was deciding what
to do I picked up needle and thread and stitched a bit.
You know, just to help me clear my mind. And kept
going. And loved it.

So what's this project that I've lost my mind over???

Ta da!!!! Drawn Thread's The Wayward Garden. GULP!!!

And here's what I've stitched so far. Well, I did mention that
I'm a slow stitcher, didn't I?? At the rate I'm going I figure
that I should finish this sucker sometime around the year
2050. Give or take a decade. Unless I loose my nerve.

This is definitely an at home piece. It's on 32 count linen
over two with a single strand of silk thread. I need my
magnifier and Ott light to work on this one.

So there you have it. Either I'm going to have one magnificent
finish on my hands someday... or I'm going to have one
mother of a UFO in the back of my stitching cupboard. Only
time will tell.

I think I need to go lay down now.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, I have made some progress
with My Needle's Work. And today I discovered that a nasty
amphibian has been lurking over my shoulder while I stitched.
I messed up the apron. I'm so annoyed with myself for not
catching this, but it's going to have to stay the way it is because
to fix it I'd have to rip the whole apron out, and there's no way
on earth that I'm gonna do that.

We shall speak of this no more.


I am pleased to announce that once more we have a working
furnace in the house. The repairman came on Wednesday
morning (after I'd posted the previous entry here) and after
much banging and thumping came upstairs to tell me that
the heat exchanger was gone, as well as the fan and the,
well, a whole bunch of stuff.

Because he needed some major parts that are not normally
carried in his truck
to fix the thing he had to order those
parts from their supplier. So the furnace would be out of
commission until those parts arrived.


So the guy left us two more heaters, to add to the heater
and the fireplace that we already had running and promised
to get the parts order in right away. Fine. So we waited.
DH was off work the next day anyways to run some errands
so we were hoping the repairs would be done sometime
that day. Nope. Thursday night DH was on the phone to
the service provider exchanging "pleasantries" with a
bored and decidedly unhelpful person in the parts department.
Eventually he got a hold of someone else in the customer
service department who was more helpful and let us know
that the part was most assuredly on order.

The parts, in two large boxes, were delivered on Friday
and the repairman came on Saturday to install them and
get things going again. After four hours of labour the
furnace was running again.

In spite of temperatures outside that rose to a comfortable
-2 on Friday, and then plunged down again to -26 on
Saturday, we were able to keep the house around 18 to 19
degrees. DH and I wore several layers to keep ourselves
warm and managed to survive the ordeal without catching
our deaths of pneumonia or anything like that.

Phoebe was definitely not impressed that the heating vents
that she loves to tea cozy on were putting out cold air
instead of the usual hot air that she loves. You know cats.

Do you like a good mystery story?? Do you like Vampires??
Do you like Wizards and magic?? Do you like stories that
take history and shake it up, mix it up and turn it upside
down?? Do you like the thrill of politics and the underhanded
dealings of Princes and Kings as they fight for power, and
sometimes for their lives??? Well then, you might find this
book of some interest to you.

Detective Crown Inspector Abigail Irene Garrett is in charge
of murder investigations in the city of New Amsterdam in
British North America. The year is 1901 and Abigail Irene
uses her skills as a wizard to solve crime. She must also
use all her wit and intelligence to work under the mayor of
the city, an ardent proponent of the self rule of the colonies
while remaining true to her oath of loyalty to the King of

Sebastien de Ulloa is a Wampyr, one of the oldest of his kind.
Seeking to escape his past and it's painful memories in Europe
and find a place to settle and a purpose to his existence in the
New World. He has often taken part in criminal investigations,
using his talents and experiences to find the answers to crimes
both arcane and mundane within the mortal world.

New Amsterdam is a series of short stories, each of which
features a murder mystery. These stories are used to introduce
us to the main characters of the book, and give us some of their
back story, while also building up events that lead to the
climactic final chapters of the book.

I found this an interesting read, with great characters, especially
Sebastien. I loved discovering this world that the author created,
which was in some parts familiar but wholly original at the same
time. This is the first time that I've read anything by this author
and I enjoyed it well enough to see what else she's written.

I got some lovely books from the Folio Society when I
rejoined this year. These arrived on Friday. The book
on Michelangelo is full of gorgeous pictures of his
paintings, sculptures and so on, and the book on Pompeii
is equally fabulous and positively fascinating to read. I'm
really happy with all of these, and there's still one more to
come that was out of stock.

Here you can see the covers for Kidnapped and A Wonder Book
For Boys and Girls, which is mostly stories from Greek mythology.
These books have wonderful, full colour illustrations as well.

But for Rupert the best part about an order of books is
the box that they come in. He's claimed this one since
his last box got confiscated and used to hold books
that I was giving to someone for Christmas.

If you've read everything in this post you deserve a
medal I think. Sorry for the long winded post. Hope
I haven't bored you to tears.

Thanks for dropping by. Have a great week.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

The good news is that today I'm home from work, with the
whole day in front of me to do as I please.

The bad news is that it's 15 degrees Celsius in the house.

Yay, the furnace is dead! Let the bells ring and the
banners fly!!

Certain unhealthy noises (like a fan whirring at
high speed, but off kilter and in need of oiling)
from the furnace whenever it was about to start up in
the past two days gave us warning that something was
not right. The noises got louder, and last night when
we got home from visiting Mom the noise was very
loud indeed. DH called our service provider and
requested a repairman come out to check things out.
They said that they'd be here sometime this morning.
I got elected to stay home and wait for them. Hurray!
A day off work.

This morning when we got up the furnace was dead.
(Whoopee, a day off work in a freezing cold house!!)
So DH called again to let them know that we now had
no heat and the request for service was to be upgraded

And so here I sit. The little portable heater is in the
bathroom trying to keep that room warm and the
pipes from freezing. The gas fireplace in the den
is roaring and keeping that room cozy. I'm in the
computer room above the den/fireplace, which is a
bit chilly, typing this entry. We'll see how long I
can last before my knees freeze. Hopefully the
repairman will be here before too long else I'll
have to think about turning off the water next.

It's been pretty cold around here during the
past few weeks, so being without heat in the
house is not a good thing. We don't get the
cold-cold temperatures here in Southern
Ontario that other parts of the province and
country can and do get more regularly. I
think that the average temperature for this
time of year around here is around -5 Celsius.
Lately it's been around -17 to -24 Celsius,
which is a BIG difference.

After years of complaining about not getting the wonderful,
old fashioned winters of our youth these past couple of
winters appear to be trying to make up for lost time. It's
been great weather for hibernating, either because of snow,
snow and more snow, or because the temperatures have
been incredibly frigid.

It was wonderful to have a white Christmas, although
the torrent of rain that we had on boxing day made it a
close thing, but now we're heading towards the end of
January and we've still got at least two more months
of winter weather to suffer through.

At least winter weather is a great excuse for spending the
day indoors, keeping warm (assuming your furnace is
working) and stitching. Not a lot of progress on "My
Needle's Work" but there has been some. Please excuse
the wonky, tilted picture. I really love the clothes that
this little lady is wearing, especially her striped underskirt
and her high button shoes.


This week my Mom will be evaluated by the doctor,
therapist and others at the rehab centre and they will
decide if she is able to return to the seniors residence
where she's lived for the past five years, or if she no
longer meets the physical standards that the seniors
residence has set for those living there anymore and
should be living in an assisted care facility.

She has made remarkable progress in the past months
even in spite of the two week hospital stay in December
because of the C-Dificile. She is now getting herself
up in the mornings and is washed and dressed and
sitting in her wheelchair when the nursing attendants
arrive expecting to "help" her get ready for the day.

She has been using her walker to go to and from the
dinning room for meals, and for walks up and down
the hallway to strengthen her legs and build her
stamina. If she returns to the seniors residence she
won't be able to use a wheelchair so being able to
walk safely and dependably (with a walker) is

Mom is nervous, both about the assessment and also
about returning to the seniors residence. She does
not mention the possibility of moving to a long term
care facility. That is something she does not want
to happen.

On Sunday when we visited her DH and I packed up
some of her belongings to return them to her room at
the residence. I have to call this week and arrange for
the cable and the phone in the rehab place to be canceled
at months end.

I had a lovely package left squashed into my mailbox by
the postman yesterday from Stitching Bits and Bobs. A
few things that were on sale, and a few things that I'd
been wanting for awhile now. The two Lizzie Kate charts
and the LHN chart were designs I've been wanting and
am delighted to have. I have seen so many stitchers that
have stitched the Lizzie Kate Christmas is Forever and it
is just lovely. Soon as I finish with Halloween and Fall
projects, sometime around May I should think, I will be
starting this Christmas project.

Last weeks read was a popular fantasy novel which is
the first of three in the series....of course. I think these
may be classified by bookstores and libraries as Young
Adult books in case you're looking for them.

Anyone who loves books has probably fantasized at one
time or another about the possibility of having one (or
more) of their favourite characters popping out of the
book and existing in the real world.

In Inkheart it is revealed that Meggie's father Mo has
the ability to "read" characters and things out of books
when he reads out loud. The downside to this is that
whatever comes out of a book to our world has to be
replaced in the book by something or someone from
our world.

When Meggie was a very young child Mo discovered
his unusual talent while reading aloud to his wife and
daughter from a magical book called Inkheart. Suddenly
three characters from the book, including the evil
Capricorn and his henchman Basta, appear in their
living room, and Meggie's mother and their two cats vanish.
Unable to duplicate the feat and return the bewildered and
ruthless characters to the book and recover his wife, Mo
flees with Meggie and spends the next nine years in
hiding from Capricorn. But they are found and betrayed
by Dustfinger, the third character brought out of the book
who is desperately unhappy and out of place in this world
and is desperate to return to his life in Inkheart.

This was such a fun and fascinating book to read. I knew
that the movie Inkheart was coming out soon (this weekend
actually) and at first I planned to see the movie first and
then read the books. But somehow I couldn't wait and
grabbed this book when looking for something to read. I
really want to see the movie, if time allows, but I have to
say that after reading the first book and then watching the
trailer for the movie there's very little happening in the
trailer that I could identify from the book. Oh well, isn't
that almost always the way???


Would have liked to have had yesterday off work so that
I could have watched the presidential inauguration down
in the States. Instead a group of us from my department
gathered around a computer (while our supervisor was on
lunch) and watched the live feed on CNN during the
crucial part of the ceremony when the oaths of office were
administered to Biden and Obama. The feed kept freezing
but at least we didn't miss anything.

We knew that we could watch the highlights on TV last night,
but we wanted the thrill of actually seeing it happen live.
Something to remember for the rest of our lives. It was very
moving to watch and most of us had tears in our eyes and grins
on our faces as we watched it all unfold. And all those people
who turned out in the cold and stood for hours just so that
they could be there when this historic event happened was
an incredible sight to see. What a wonderful day for the
United States and it's people.

Rupert is down in front of the fire, while Phoebe is sticking
close to me here next to the computer. When I'm done here
I'm moving downstairs and will sit and stitch in front of the
fire. Hopefully the repair guy will be here soon.

Have a great week folks and thanks for visiting.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

I've been a bad stitcher this week. Barely any stitching was
accomplished during the past seven day period, and what
little was done is not worth showing here. So sad.

Work has been beyond hectic, as the first days of January
always are, and we're short staffed on top of that so I haven't
been taking any breaks. So no stitching at work. And at
home?? Well, I've been reading books, and reading and
commenting on blogs, and that's about it. Oh...and vegging.
So please excuse my laziness and hopefully next week will
be a bit quieter and I'll pick up needle and thread again and
stitch up a storm.

I do have a picture of the latest bit's from Bobbie at
Stitching Bits and Bobs, so I can at least claim some
type of stitchy content for this post. More wonderful
Crescent Colours to add colour to an otherwise gray
and cloudy week.


Well, the fridge has been emptied of all leftovers.
Even the turnip casserole is nothing but a fond
memory now. The presents have all been distributed
to their respective recipients, and if that hasn't been
possible to do they have been put away in the closet
for safe keeping (the cats like to play with the bows).
And this weekend the Christmas tree and all the
decorations were dismantled and boxed up and put

Yes, it seems that Christmas is now officially OVER!

What a chore dismantling Christmas is around here.
It takes all day to gather everything from around the
house and find the right box to put it in. Then the
smaller boxes have to be packed into bigger boxes
for easier storage. And then DH has to pack it all
back into the storage space under the stairs, which
appears to have shrunk markedly since he removed
everything from there in November.

And then comes the complete and utter joy
of cleaning up the mess left behind. Fake pine
needles can make as much of a grand mess in
your carpets as real ones and it's amazing where
you find them as you go along. We didn't have
a tree anywhere but in the living room, and the
den, so why are there pine needles in the upstairs
washroom, the laundry room in the basement
and (I swear) on the driveway. Same with glitter.
And teeny, tiny beads of Styrofoam.

Then comes the hunt. Where in the house did
I store all the "everyday" knick-knacks, bric-a-brac
and thingamajigs that had to be packed away to make
room for the Christmas stuff. I'm terrible for putting
things out of sight for two months of the year, and then
spending the next ten months seeking them out again.
As of this typing I am still looking for a few things that
belong in the living room but weren't with the rest of
the living room stuff. Sigh!!!

And just think....Easter is just around the corner!!!

Not that we didn't have any help getting things cleaned
up mind you. On one of our many trips upstairs for
something I looked in the computer room and saw
that Rupert had very thoughtfully emptied the garbage
can for me. All over the floor. Seems I'd put a bunch
of those little DMC wrappers in the garbage and, well,
you know how much fun cats find them to be. So now,
along with bits of fake tree needles, I'm also finding
DMC wrappers all over the house. Yippy Skippy!!

I read the second and third books in the Grace Valley
trilogy by Robyn Carr this week. These are the ones
that I read both on my way home from work, and at
home as well. That's when I know a story has really
caught my attention, when I take time from stitching
and computering (?) to read.

Book two continues the secret relationship between
town Doctor June Hudson and DEA agent Jim Post,
albeit a long distance relationship. But complications
arise in the form of June's high school sweetheart who
dumped her after she left for university and eloped
with her arch rival. Chris Forrest has returned to
Grace Valley with his fourteen year old twin boys,
divorced and ready to start a new life. And that
includes taking up with June where they'd left off
in high school.

Meanwhile a snooping bird watcher from out of
town has discovered old bones under the rhodod-
endron in the yard of June's eccentric old Aunt Myrna,
who's husband Morton happens to have been misplaced
twenty years earlier. Aunt Myrna is a successful author
who writes murder mysteries. Very successful and grisly
tales about wronged wives who find colourful and imaginative
ways to do away with their philandering husbands. Did
Aunt Myrna do away with her dull traveling salesman
husband all those years ago??? Or did he just stop coming
around and set up housekeeping with another woman???

Book three continues the story of June, Jim and all the
colourful folks who make Grace Valley their home. A
satisfying conclusion to the trilogy and another fun and
engrossing read. There is another trilogy that also takes
place in Grace Valley, and I have those ready to go, but I
think I'll take a break and read something different on my
way home from work this week. I'll see what jumps into
my hands when I go down to my library tomorrow
morning before leaving for work.

In the interst of keeping things equal around here I thought
that I'd finish this post with a picture of sweet Phoebe, who
never, ever knocks over garbage cans. But she's a quick study
and often picks up Ruperts bad habits. Oh Joy!!

Have a great week everyone and happy stitching!!! Cheers!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

It's hard to believe that another year has gone and we're
now into a whole new year, with all the promise and the
worry that facing the unknown brings. Hope that the
year ahead is a good one for everyone, with more joys
then sorrows.

A lot of you have been setting down stitching goals for
this year, which is very admirable and just a wee bit
scary. As for me, I'm the sort of person who prefers to
rummage in my stash, see what grabs my attention
at the time and pull it out. I don't usually do huge
mega-projects and I don't usually have more then
one project on the go at any given time so I just go
with the flow and stitch without structure. It suits
my personality.

Having said the moment I actually have three
projects on the go at this time, which is almost unheard
of for me. I think some of you stitchers out there may
be having a bad influence on me.

I needed a new travel project after finishing Kitty
Cottage and ended up choosing... a LHN design....
surprise...surprise!! My Needle's Work came with all
it's own threads and just needed me to choose a piece
of fabric to stitch it on. I think this is 28 count Bitter-
sweet. I've been working on it a bit at home thanks
to "new project enthusiasm" and it's looking very

I've been stitching on Waxing Moon's Halloween Short
Stack over the holidays and finished the ghost, more or
less. Next is the witches hat and the mouse and then
all the stuff around the main design.

I have one other project on the go which is Prairie
Schooler's November window sampler but I have not
touched it in quite awhile now. I actually had a notion
to stitch on it yesterday but had a seniors moment and
couldn't remember where I'd put the threads for it
(they were right under my nose) so ended up winding
DMC thread on bobbins instead. (I lead such an exciting
life, don't I?) A relaxing activity but one that I tend to get
very behind in.

We had a relatively quiet week at home between Christmas
and New Years, which is what we needed. We did go to
visit our friends Matt and Charmaine one day and were
introduced to the newest member of their family who had
only arrived 24 hours previously. This is Jersey and she is
an eight week old, Old English Sheep dog. Adorable???
Are you kidding?? This is one little bundle of utter cuteness.
She'll grow to be about 65 pounds I'm told, and so this little
furball won't be so little for long.

We spent New Years eve with a group of friends and had
a nice evening eating, talking, reminiscing and laughing.
We watched the final countdown at midnight on TV,
then turned it off and sat talking some more until almost
two in the morning!! I can't remember the last time that
DH and I stayed up that late, but I do know it's been years!
It was half past two when we finally got to bed and New
Years day we didn't do much of anything because we're a
pair of old fogies and can't handle the wild life anymore.

Our refrigerator is stuffed full of left overs, which is
great because it means less cooking is required of me
when meal times roll around. On the other hand, I've
been eating turnip casserole since Christmas and much
as I love turnip I am starting to get a wee bit tired of it.
DH hates turnip so I don't get any help or sympathy
from him.

I can't believe that tomorrow we go back to work, and
probably next weekend the Christmas tree will be taken
down and packed away for another year. It makes me
feel very sad just to think of it.

My final book read for 2008 is the first book in a
series by Robyn Carr. Small town life in Grace
Valley California with all the quirky characters
that tend to fill these types of books. The main
character is Doctor June Hudson who took over
the doctoring of the good people of the valley
from her retired father. Doctor June has
devoted her working life to looking after the
people of the valley where she grew up but
is now at the stage where she realizes that she
can't do it all by herself any longer. And she's
beginning to feel the longings for a family of her
own. Although finding an eligible man in such
a tight knit and somewhat isolated community
is a problem. As it said in the book: this is a town
where you should have picked your husband in
ninth grade. There is a half dozen or more
books in this series and I've got most of them here,
ready to read. If you enjoy Jan Karon's books then
you'd probably like these as well.

I forgot to mention and pay tribute to Majel
Barrett, who passed away just before Christmas
from cancer. If you're a trekkie like I am then you'll
know her as the voice of the computer in all the
series, and the movies, as well as Nurse Chapel in
the classic series, and Lwaxana Troi in Next Gen.
She was an integral part of the Star Trek universe
and I was sorry to hear of her passing. I was lucky
enough to meet Majel Barrett at a convention
about 10 years ago after the release of one of the
Next Gen. movies.

Well, DH has just arrived home from church, and we
have to go see Mom this afternoon, plus do laundry and
other fun stuff. So have a great week everyone. Here's
the cats under the Christmas tree to end the post with
furry cuteness.