Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hey there!! It's been two long weeks since last I posted
a blog update and as usual I'm also sorely behind in my
commenting on all my favourite blogs (which includes
yours!). Time is a valuable and rare commodity for me
these days, and it runs away from me quick as lightning.
I feel bad about that, and very frustrated too. But we
can only do what we can do, and I can only promise to
try and arrange my free time better in the future. And
hope to win a lottery soon so I can quite work and
devote more time to the important things in life...
you know....like reading, stitching and blogging and
even (eeeewww...) housework.


I did finally manage to finish the third square on my
Prairie Schooler project Prairie Birds. I love this one
best of the three even though it also gave me the most
headaches to stitch. A plague of frogs don'tcha know.
I think I've settled on the next three that I'll stitch for
the upper row, and decided what order I'll stitch them
in, so I'll be starting that project tomorrow.


Meanwhile, at home, I had a few hours yesterday
afternoon to sit down and stitch and since I am
definitely off my rocker I decided to start a new
project. Do you recognize it?? It's one of those
amazing free designs from My Aunt's Attic and
I'm stitching it with Needleworx thread, which
I have been collecting for awhile now but have
never used before. It's lovely stuff. This will be
strictly a home project because I'm stitching it
on 32 count fabric and I really need my magnifier
to see this clearly enough to do a good job.

The lovely model in the picture who is helping
to show off my little start was a gift from my
Mom and was made by one of the ladies at the
residence where she lives. Cute, isn't she??


I had a little win on Ebay a few weeks ago and it
arrived the other day. Two older charts that
caught my fancy and that I'm terribly pleased
to have. Another seasons chart for my collection
and a chart with adorable bunnies in it.


Spring has been making tentative steps forward in
the past few weeks and we've had some lovely days
(usually on a workday of course) to enjoy. The
crocuses are done and we're now in the Daffodil
phase of the season. These are growing in our
front garden, which gets the warm afternoon sun,
and I'm surprised and delighted that this year I'm
getting a whole slew of Daffodils blooming. Usually
I get four or six flowers, but this year I'm getting
twice that number. It's very exciting.

DH has been home on vacation this past week, and
is off next week too, and he's been working in the
yard and garden whenever the weather allows. He's
cleared the leaves from the back gardens and now
we can see all the new growth coming up there, and
the spring flowers are starting to bloom. It's so nice
to see green growing things again. The grass is just
starting to change from it's drab brown winter
colour and patches of green are slowly spreading
across the yard. One day we'll look out the back
door and the yard will be uniformly green and we'll
wonder ... when did that happen???


Lots of reading news to tell you about. Here we have a
wonderful historical fiction by Anne Easter Smith. It's
her second book and was every bit as enjoyable as her
first which was A Rose For The Crown. She writes
about the time before Henry VIII, when Edward IV
was king.

The first book told the story of a young woman who
fell in love with (and was loved by) young Richard,
Duke of York who would become the infamous
Richard III.

In this book the story centers on Edward's
younger sister Margaret, and tells of her life and her
eventual marriage to Charles, son of the Duke of
Burgundy. In this story the author chooses to have
Margaret fall in love with Anthony Woodville, brother
of Edward IV's queen Elizabeth Woodville. An
intelligent and devout young woman, Margaret is
devoted to her family and loyal to England but her
marriage is not a happy one, her husband being a
brutal and autocratic ruler who sees himself as a
Caesar, intent on conquering and expanding his
holdings regardless of the cost to his people and
his homelands.

Anne Easter Smith writes with care to detail and
obviously does her research well before writing
each of her books. She brings that era of history
alive and paints her characters with attention to
accuracy, and with honesty and fairness. She has
become a favourite writer of mine now and I look
forward to reading her newest book The King's
Grace.


A light read came next after the hefty (though riveting)
work of Anne Easter Smith. I picked up Debbie
Macomber's latest book which continues the stories of
the folks working and living around the shops on
Blossom street.

Anne Marie Roche is a young widow who owns a book
shop on Blossom Street. She and three other widows
get together on Valentine's Day to celebrate the day
together and during the course of the evening comes
up with the idea of each one of them making a list of
twenty wishes that they would like to have come true.

Although the other three ladies take to Anne Marie's
idea with enthusiasm Anne Marie herself is reluctant
and finds it difficult to come up with even just a few
wishes of her own. Still grieving over the death of
her husband Anne Marie's world is rocked by the
revelation that her husband may have had an affair
and a child with another woman.

But when she fulfills one of her wishes, as a volunteer
at a local public school as a lunch buddy to a young
girl named Ellen, Anne Marie slowly begins to over
come her grief and despair as she comes to care for
Ellen and opens her heart and her home to the lonely
young child.

The book also follows the stories of the other three
widows who make up their own twenty wishes, and
characters from previous Blossom Street books make
appearances along the way too.

These are pleasant, easy to read books, with somewhat
predictable stories. But they make a nice light read
and you can't help but get caught up in the lives of
each of these women as they begin to rebuild their
lives and find love again.


This is the first book that I've read by Kate Atkinson.
I'd read excellent, enthusiastic reviews of her books
in magazines and on line and was curious to find out
for myself what she was all about.

This book features a reoccurring character by the
name of Jackson Brodie who accompanies his girl-
friend Julia to the Edinburgh Festival where she is
appearing in a play. Brodie witnesses a road rage
incident that almost sees a man killed by the base-
ball bat wielding driver who rear ends him, and
from there the story evolves in a series of coincidences
and connections that weave together to bring the book to
a satisfying conclusion.

The journey to reach that conclusion however did
give me cause to consider ditching the book,
unfinished, on several occasions. I very, very
rarely leave a book unfinished once I've started it
and since I'd committed myself to the time (and
money) to get this book and start reading it I
kept on at it. And in spite of myself my curiosity
was piqued.

The story is told from the view points of a half
dozen of the characters, including Brodie's, and
what a miserable bunch they all were. Everyone
was depressed about their lives, everyone hated
their jobs or felt them to be superficial or inadequate,
their spouses or partners unloving and distant, and
so on. I found myself getting depressed just reading
about them and I found it very hard to care what
happened to them. And as the coincidences and
connections built up, and the sometimes illogical
actions of some of the characters (Brodie) came
into play I got frustrated and annoyed.

But I wanted to know what would happen next.

Well written? Absolutely. Sneakily addictive?
Apparently. Satisfying conclusion? Yup!!! Dark,
dry humor as well. This is a book that would be
worth checking out and sticking with but it might
not suit everyone's taste or style. I have a second
book by this author to read, and I will read it...
someday, but right now I want to get another
Debbie Macomber, or perhaps a Nora Roberts
book to pick me up and lighten my mood.

**********************************************

Easter was spent with my Mom who arrived here
early on Sunday afternoon for lunch and then we sat
and watched Mamma Mia, which Mom thoroughly
enjoyed. My SIL joined us for a roast beef dinner
with all the trimmings later on that afternoon.

Saturday of last week we were at a birthday
party for the 8 year old son of friends and had
a great time with good people and incredible
food.

Somehow, during the entire 3 day long Easter
weekend I never had the time or opportunity
to put needle to thread. Very frustrating.


Along with a number of you folks out there I've
started to make a few lifestyle changes to try and
get my health and weight into more acceptable
lines. Inspired by Dani I joined Weight Watchers
and am making slow but steady progress, although
it's early days yet.

I have also started walking after dinner
every night and have been doing that for about a
month now. At first I was a panting, wheezing, leg
benumbed mess at the end of each walk, but after a
week or so my stamina began to improve and the
dizziness (!!) went away. Now I'm starting to add
more steps to the route I walk to make it longer and
more of a challenge.

I have a long road to follow (no pun intended)
before I reach my target weight, but I keep
reading Dani's blog for further inspiration, as
well as the blogs of others also making these
changes and goals in their own lives, and I hope
to actually see some changes in my appearance
someday soon.

To those of you who are making these changes
and following this path as well... my heartfelt
best wishes and deepest admiration go out to
you.

I guess it's time to finish off this post for another
week and get on with the day. Hope you are well
and have a great week with time to do all the
things that make you feel good and lovely Spring
weather to do them in.

Cheers!

15 comments:

Wendy said...

Your prairie schooler project looks so wonderful. I also love your other projects you are working on. You are making such wonderful things.

I can truly understand that you sometimes don't have lots of time. I can have this too. Sometimes I'm way behind of reading blogs. And I enjoy so much the friendships you have through blogging, but everytime I try to catch up on it.

I also would love to win the lottery ;) I would still keep my store, but will give myself some more free time to do the things I love to do like blogging and other fun things.

Hope you have a wonderful week.
Take care,
Wendy

mainely stitching said...

Hey Judy, wishing you the best on your path to better health. It's rough, isn't it? But rewarding. Okay, maybe rewarding in a sort of slow-motion way (at least for me) but I guess we have to take what we get!

Congratulations on your PS progress and on your eBay wins!

Take care and enjoy those daffodils!

Kathy A. said...

Love your stitching progresses. I am glad to hear that spring is well on it's way. We will be home Friday and I am hoping for some nice weather.
I am so very proud of you joining WW and accepting the challente. I'm with you re the walking. That is the way I was when I first started out. It was indeed a struggle. I walked until January an then quit. I will start again when I get home and I am sure there will be lot's of grubling until I get my walking legs back.
Have a great week.

stitcherw said...

Your new bird square turned out so cute, the little cardinals are very sweet. Looking forward to which next three you decide to do. Your new start looks lovely as well, gorgeous color. I've printed off a couple of the My Aunt's Attic designs, but haven't done one yet. I found a really neat one with Bats (right in line with my love of Halloween) that I really want to do.

Your flowers looks wonderful. I don't have any yet, but I'm seeing the shoots start to come up in different places. My grass at least is mostly past the greenish gray winter color. In fact, at the rate it has been greening up I'll need to think about mowing soon, ugh!!!

I haven't read Twenty Wishes yet, but I do like the Blossom Street series. Light reading fits right in with my mood and time right now. I'm also listening to a Mrs. Pollifax mystery on CD during my work commute, Dorothy Gilman writes nice light mysteries too.

Glad your mom is still doing well. How did she like the new yarn you found for her? I bought a copy of Momma Mia when it came out, that is such a fun movie. Although every time I watch it I find myself humming the Abba songs for quite a bit. Good luck with the weight watchers and walking, sounds like you've got a good plan.
Sue

staci said...

I am sooo terribly jealous over those wonderful PS charts you scored off of ebay, lol! I've been staying away from ebay...but I may have to wander over for a little look-see :)

samplerlover said...

Hi Judy,
Yes your prairie schooler project is looking wonderful. I'm looking forward to seeing more of it.
Congratulations with your health issues. I did WW quite a few years ago and had wonderful results. I really need to do it again.
I love your daffodils. They are such cheery flowers. I nearly bought a pot of hyacinths the other day as I love them but my DH wasn't so keen. He doesn't like the smell of the flowers inside the house (hyacinths that is). Maybe it is just as well as I didn't as his flu has come back and he has been sneezing all week end. He's a good one to keep away from lol.
It is starting to get quite cool here now. All the beautiful trees are changing colour and loosing their leaves.
Have you changed your blog. It is looking lovely. I really like it. It's always good to have a change.
Sounds like you had a lovely Easter. I am so glad that your Mum is doing well. My Dad had a nasty fall last week. He was lucky that my Sister was keeping an eye on him, otherwise she wouldn't have been able to find him in the garden where he fell. He over balanced while using a chain saw. Luckily it was an electric one and he ended up very bruised and shaken. It kept him away from bingo for a couple of days lol, but he has gone back today. He loves going to bingo and I think he enjoys the company and it keeps his mind active. He is 79. - Sandra.

Carla said...

Your PS pice looks great!
Nice eBay wins! I see you are hooked on PS design right now :)

Mylene said...

Enjoyed reading youe update, Judy. Your PS project is looking wonderful and love your recent PS ebay wins.

ohhh..all those books makes me want to pick a book to read but my problem is i can't stop reading even if it's too late...

Best wishes on your WW.

Vonna said...

That was a FABULOUS win of hard to find charts on Ebay...GO GIRL!
:)
And I love reading about your books...I'm reading the Blossom Street series too...and this one is much anticipated by me ;)

Cindy F. said...

Judy! I'm so proud of you for starting your lifestyle changes...and especially for the exercising! I seriously need to start that myself!I wish you all the best and will be here to cheer you on through your WW challenge:)
Beautiful PS stitching and wow! great charts you won off ebay!
Pretty new start too..can't wait to see more of it;)

Suzanne said...

Great stitching on your PS designs. Lucky you getting those charts on eBay. I always seem to miss out on them.

Paula Nunes Lima said...

Dear Judy
I also love Prairie Schooler (discovered it through Vonna's blog and now I'm an "addict"). Love the design you are working.
Great to know Easter went well although with no stitching.
Read one of Kate Atkinson's book called I think Portrait of a Family (translated from the portuguese title, it might not be like this at all). Liked it a lot.
Have you read any books by portuguese authors?
Hugs

Judy S. said...

I really like the way your PS project is coming along! Funny, I just finished Twenty Wishes also and enjoy her books. You're right, they're light but fun to read....don't know how she has time to knit and write so many books!

Siobhan said...

Love your WIPs! YGG on the Ebay win, too.

The pics of your flowers are wonderful. Our climate is much more temperate and the daffodils were on their way out by March and the tulips are starting to go now, too.

I enjoyed the book reviews! I used to be a voracious reader and am trying to get back to that. I joined audible.co.uk with two credits per month and have a stack of printed books a mile high to get through. I'm reading Beatrice Colin's "Glitter Palace"/"The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite" right now and enjoying it. I used to read a ton of Debbie Macombers but haven't in awhile. I go through them so fast that it's not worth it to me to buy it full price in paperback so I usually wait till I'm in the US & go to my beloved used book store there & stock up. I have been thinking about reading Kate Atkinson's "When Will There Be Good News" but I hear that the story contains dead children & dead dogs and I can't handle that. I love mysteries and thrillers and don't mind dead adults but kids and dogs--I don't do so well with. LOL

Good luck with the walking! I have been getting back to that, too. I have a nice route that I enjoy, but I try to challenge myself by going up a hilly route, too. Each time I go it's a little easier. :)

Have a great weekend!

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