Wednesday, August 25, 2010

More Multitasking

During those long car trips to take my two younger children to college, I've used my time wisely and stitched these canvas ornaments.
These are Kathy Schenkel designs from a series called "Countdown to Christmas." The first two or three ornaments took me around five hours to complete. Now I have it down to a science and each one takes about three hours.
Except for this one which took me about three months. That pesky satin stitch on the candle (see close up below) was ripped out, oh, about four times, before I could get it to a reasonable facsimile
of the way the stitch looked in the diagram.
Fronts will be joined to backs (not by me--way beyond my finishing competencies) and embellished with ribbons and hangers to go on a small tree that serves as an Advent calendar. In fact, I tried to drop these off at the needlepoint shop on Monday, but forgot they aren't open on Mondays. It wasn't a wasted trip as I had breakfast near the shop with a good friend and enjoyed my first day as an empty nester as well as my last day of summer vacation. One more day of inservice training this week will be followed by a long weekend. We'll welcome the kids back to school on Monday and those leisurely mornings spent reading the paper and enjoying a second cup of coffee will become a distant memory.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Going, Going. . .

We're becoming expert movers as the past two weekends we have loaded up the van to move two of our children to college. Daughter's move is on the top and middle son's is on the bottom. LOTS of stuff is now gone from our house and we are technically empty nesters. Just have to get rid of the mountain of stuff my older son has parked in the basement and we will truly have a more empty nest.

Both college moves went smoothly. Our daughter's roommate is from Hawaii (I've already researched flights) and didn't arrive until early evening. That gave us the chance to work in the room without bumping into anyone else. After everything was set up and we retrieved the refrigerator that I had ordered (LOVE being able to order online and pick up in the store at Best Buy!), my husband and I waited with our daughter for awhile. Eventually we decided to go to our hotel and she contacted the girl from her high school who also goes to her university so they could get together. We all left the room together and our daughter didn't even look back as she headed across campus! She seems to be having the time of her life and is getting along well with her roommate, so all is good on that front.

Our middle son opted to have surgery on his hand after he spent a night without the splint. That happened on Tuesday and it went well. He was so funny in recovery when he told me how he kept asking one of the nurses out. She was a really cute blonde, so I guess I don't blame him! The stitches will be in until the end of this week and he has a pretty impressive looking bandage so he couldn't do some of the heavy lifting for his move back to school. My son has had the same roommate since freshman year and they have the same room they had last year. They didn't like the furniture arrangement last year and planned something different this fall. My husband was on hand to help with the heavy lifting and elevation of beds. I made my son's bed and emptied the boxes and suitcases we were bringing home with us and then we left them to get settled. And drove home to a (somewhat) empty house. This may take some getting used to.

Monday, August 16, 2010

For the Good Times

Today is my 35th wedding anniversary. We were married in the church in my hometown in southeast Nebraska. No air conditioning and people thought my husband was nervous when they saw him shaking his leg. He was just trying to get the sweat to run down it a bit faster! Mine was the first of three weddings my parents planned, and since I had spent the summer in Pennsylvania working and setting up our new apartment, most things fell to my mother. My parents decided to have the reception in my hometown and that meant there was only one venue--the "supper club." Actually, this was the basement of the local pool hall/bar and had formerly been a bowling alley when my mother was a teenager. Although there wasn't a private room, my parents figured very few people other than wedding guests would be there since it was also the weekend of the county fair. Sometimes I miss life in small town Nebraska. Mostly not. Turned out they were right, but choosing that venue also meant that they couldn't control the band. It was, of course, a country music group. A trio, I think. My husband and I hadn't planned to have a first dance and so didn't make a request. However, someone urged us to go to the dance floor and it was announced that it was our first dance as a married couple. And with that the band began to play "For the Good Times."* We had been married about three hours by then and were dancing to a song about a failed relationship! We just started laughing and waved everyone else onto the floor with us. We're still laughing about it all these years later.

*The Lyrics

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Comings, Goings and Suspicious Behavior

Our children are on the move this month. Here's some of the stuff my oldest moved from LA and has dumped, I mean temporarily stored, in our basement while he looks for an apartment in New York.

And here's some of the stuff that my daughter will be taking with her to college on Saturday. I didn't bother to take a photo of what has been in my middle son's room since he came home from college in May because, well, you get the picture.

And speaking of the middle one, I spent the day traveling up and down the Pennsylvania Turnpike from our house to his camp in the Poconos and back again. He hurt his left hand on Thursday evening and finally went to the ER near camp on Saturday afternoon. X-rays confirmed that he had fractured a bone near his little finger. They gave him a splint and told him to see an orthopedic surgeon in 5-7 days. So I spent Monday morning arranging the appointment, dithering between whether he should go to someone close to his school or come home. We finally decided he should come home and this afternoon he was seen by the doctor affiliated with our local hospital. The good news is that the break doesn't require surgery or a cast and he only has to wear a splint for the next four weeks. I got him back in time for his 6:30pm meeting.

But the day was not without some drama (other than the 360 miles I put on the car). Since we needed to bring the x-rays with us, we had to stop at the hospital in the Poconos to pick them up. I, of course, being unfamiliar with the area, saw a building that looked like it could be a small community hospital and turned in. As I drove through, it became apparent that it wasn't a hospital and I turned around to ask directions from two women who were out walking. They seemed very flustered and told me I was on federal property just as the security patrol pulled up. The officer was pretty testy about me being there and didn't soften his attitue when I told him I hadn't seen the sign in front. Now, mind you, this was a facility for a goverment agency that provides you money in retirement (I'm a little paranoid about the experience and am avoiding giving the actual name in case they flag mentions of the agency on the internet.) There I was, a middle-aged blond-haired, blue-eyed women in a mini-van and I was being told that there were lots of cameras trained on me since I had entered the property twice. Just what kind of threat did I pose? True, my dark-haired son who hadn't shaved in four days and had several layers of dirt on him might have looked somewhat sinister (he is left-handed after all), but I really don't think that justified telling me that I would absolutely have to turn around and leave rather than just going back the way I came in. Maybe the patrol's attitude stemmed from his fears that he will never see any money from that agency in his retirement. And really, if they didn't want me there, shouldn't they have a gate?

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Winner Is. . .

Sherry! Please send me your address so I can send the Bloom chart to you this week. Congratulations!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Multitasking at Its Best

I periodically attend inservice presentations at a local center that is part of a statewide training network. Usually the presentations are telecast to the center that I go to. I often see the same people at the inservices and one of them is a woman who brings her needlepoint to work on while whatever expert is on the screen talks away. I've always wanted to join that woman in stitching while learning and now I have--only not in public. Before and after vacation, I listened to an on-line conference for about 30 hours (lots of different presenters, thank goodness). While I listened and occasionally glanced at the powerpoint slides, I sat on my couch and stitched on Hester's Needle Grace and Truth and all that multi-tasking led to another finish. I'm sure someone is going to look at my collected works someday and comment that 2010 was a very good stitching year.

I started this sampler last year as my reward for having the scale dip below a certain number. The sampler is successfully completed, but my weight loss program not so much. I'm a very lapsed lifetime member of Weight Watchers and since it worked for me 10 years and a much faster metabolism ago, I've decided to rededicate myself to following the program. I notice several other bloggers have become WW members in the past six months or so and that has also spurred me on to another try. I may or may not give updates on my progress.

Don't forget to leave a comment on my last post if you want to be entered in the giveaway for the Bloom chart!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Home Again

I'm back! (Although you didn't even know I was away). We were in Orlando for five days to attend the wedding of a very good friend and to get in a short vacation before we start the work of moving our children to various places in August. We enjoyed strolling around Lake Eola in Orlando, wandering on Park Avenue in Winter Park, and eating dinner at the Millenia Mall.

We spent one day at Universal since my daughter wanted to see the new Harry Potter area. I am so not a rollercoaster person which is one of the two reasons my family has never visited Disney World. (The other reason is that when they were younger, my kids were not good at waiting in line.) But I was brave and went on the Dueling Dragons ride which turned me upside down a time or two. I kept telling myself that I had been through childbirth three times and really, how much worse could a rollercoaster ride be. My daughter is an amusement park veteran and advised me to sit on my sandals so I wouldn't lose them during the ride--who knew?? I was white-knuckled the entire time (all of three minutes??) and it took about five minutes for my heart rate to return to normal, but I survived. The Harry Potter ride inside Hogwarts is very cool. I'm sure we weren't more than three or four feet off the ground at any time so I felt safer. It was like an Imax movie on steroids since we really were flying with Harry and getting "venom" spit on us from spiders. Wish I could have talked my family into standing in line to go on the ride again.

We also spent a day in St. Augustine since I feel I'm not a responsible parent if I don't drag my children to some historical place or another when we're on vacation. It would have been nice to have more time to spend in St. Augustine or to have gone when it was cooler since there are several museums that looked interesting. We chose to visit the Fountain of Youth site and got to drink some of the water that Ponce de Leon thought would keep him young. It has a lot of minerals in it, including sulphur which, of course, gives it a distinctive odor. We also took the trolley tour which gave a good overview of the area, but I wish that we had had time to see Flagler College which has a number of Tiffany windows. That, and the quilt shop we drove by on the tour.

The wedding was lovely and the bride was gorgeous. The couple got married on the 6th anniversary of their first date--in his toast, the best man questioned why they couldn't have started dating in January instead of July since the air conditioning failed just as we were heading into the reception. It got fixed but not before I lost approximately five pounds in water weight.

During some time relaxing in our hotel room, I listened to podcasts from Quilting for the Rest of Us which I discovered through Denise's blog and finished stitching Bloom. It's stitched on 19 count antique ivory cork linen with Watercolours. Very fun to do and very fast to stitch. I'll be turning it into a pillow sometime soon, I think. The "Doubles" part of the chart is that crossstitch chart is accompanied by directions for doing the design in wool applique. Since this will appeal to those of you who come to look at my quilts and those who stitch, and since it's my 100th post, I'll be giving this chart away to anyone who leaves a comment by midnight on August 8. (Please don't post this giveaway on other blogs.)