Dec 31, 2007

More Snow

Arrived home from work tonight. Three more inches. Had to shovel the incline before I could get up the driveway. Two hours later, I had half the driveway shoveled. Had to quit shoveling because my bicep muscles were aching from having to throw the snow up on top of the small ski slope I've created in my front yard. Winter is so much fun! LOL

2007 Stitching Year in Review

Here's what I finished in 2007:

Brass Hummingbird Bookmark
M/Prairie Schooler Scissor Fob – for exchange
Hello Spring Scissor Fob – for exchange
J Brode Needlebook
Friendship Grows Needlebook – for exchange
Retreat Nametag
Geisha Needlebook – for online class
Cardinal Pinkeep – for retreat
Biscornu – for retreat
Victorian Pansies Scissor Fob
Dragon Pinkeep
There’s No Place Like Home (4X) – for gifts
Christmas Tree Ornaments – for exchange
Gingerbread House Ornament
Pink Carnations

Pics can be seen HERE.

I also worked on Victorian Pansies Needlebook, Japanese Garden, Mime, and Treasured Memories Quilt Afghan. Pics can be seen HERE and HERE.

This & That

Thursday: T and I had dinner at a local restaurant that was recommended to me. The food was really good, as was the company. The evening was full of conversation, teasing fun, and laughter. Not quite sure what to make of him. He text messages me quite often, but doesn’t call much unless it’s to clarify something.

Friday: My area was hit was 6-8” of snow. I had the guy come plow my driveway between 4-5pm (right before I got off work) and I still had to park across the street and shovel before I could get to my garage. Have I said lately how much I like my new neighbors??? Both of them have snow blowers. One did the sidewalk in front of my house, and the other helped do “clean up” left over from the plowing.

Saturday: I took a 2½ hour trek through the local nature preserve to get some photos of the newly fallen snow. Fell/slid down a 10ft ravine… Camera got covered in snow, which I was freakin out over. It’s an expensive piece of equipment, which I bought just a few weeks ago. Note to self – bring camera bag next time.

Sunday: I was ambitious. I took down my tree and all the decorations. Normally, this is not done until *at least* February. Also did laundry. It snowed again. From 9-10pm, I shoveled the driveway and only got 1/2 done. AND…

I worked on my UFO… Mime!

Dec 29, 2007

Winter Wonderland

Yesterday, my area received 6-8" of snow while I was at work. Is winter over yet? No? It's just starting?? Yes, it's beautiful... if you don't have to drive in it.

Today, I spent a couple hours walking through the new powder and captured the beauty of it all. Here's "Bob". He greets you as you enter the nature preserve.

Doesn't he look pleased with all the snowy whiteness?

More pics can be seen HERE.

Christmas 2007 - The Final Chapter

One would think a person who works in the numbers field could figure out how many place settings are needed for Christmas dinner. Sounds like an easy task, right? I counted the place settings twice, we had one kid not come... and I *still* was short one chair... For me! LOL

I can't even remember the last time my entire family sat at the same
table for a holiday dinner. It was really nice to see everyone having a
good time talking, eating, and drinking. The laughter did a heart good.

This was the entertainment portion of the evening. They were taking
turns swinging each other. Can you believe the kids were actually doing
this in my living room?

Guess who influenced this pile up? Hint: She's not a kid! LOL

Not to be excluded, the littlest one crawled under the tree when she
saw the older ones. She saw how the girls posed with their hands,
so she did it too!

Later it was a game of Peek-a-Boo

Here's my girls. Three are driving now... They're getting so big!

It really stinks being the only boy in a family of girls.
My nephew is surrounded by 2 sisters, and 3 girl cousins.
His Mom says: "Wouldn't he look cute with a ponytail?"
(Notice she's laughing?) Poor, poor May-May! LOL

The Family.
A little cooperation please?

The Family Portrait.
The family I know and love.

Happy Holidays to All!

Dec 27, 2007

Ever have... of those days where it’s 8:30am and you’re wondering “Will this day EVER end?”

By 5am, I heard snow plows go by my house no less than 4 times. With my eyes still closed, I think to myself: “How much snow is out there?!?”

So I crawl outta bed and am greeted by a happy little dog. Oh wait, she’s not happy to see me. She just has to go potty. LOL

I put on boots and whatever clothes I can find (not in that order). Dog in tow, we stumble back toward the garage. I cable out the dog and grab the shovel. Half the driveway and an hour later, I head back into the house to get ready for work. Why is the dog so happy at 6am??!!

The important question of the morning... To shave my legs, or not shave my legs? LOL Since I have a date tonight, I decide to shave my legs. Now, one would think I’d be smart about this... but after all it’s 6am. I kept the water running while doing the dreaded chore, and ended up using too much hot water. You know where this is going, right? Yep, I didn’t have enough hot water for my entire shower. What an eye opener it is to rinse the conditioner out of your hair with cold water running down your entire body. If I weren’t awake from shoveling snow, by golly... I am at this point!

I blow dry my hair... which now looks like a bride-of-frankenstein do. Clock says 7:40am. Crap. I still need to flat iron my hair. I can’t go into work with a BOF do. I’d scare all the clients away. In 15 minutes, I manage to tame the mane… at least enough so it’s not so scary.

8:10am... I walk into work. All lights are off. My coworkers opened the doors but didn’t turn on any lights. It’s a good thing we’re open for business. HELLO!

I kick off my boots and head for the server room to change the backup tape. I’m grabbed by a coworker who needs Binding 101 lessons... For personal stuff. Hmmm... How personal? I ask. LOL I also ask: “Can I at least put my shoes on?”

I spend the next 15min binding booklets for her. While doing so, I manage to scrape and gouge the back of my hand. Nice. I swirl back in time to a place where it was my job to bind and look at every single freakin page of the booklets for copier smudges... Ack! My cell starts ringing. Crap, I forgot to put it on vibrate. I quickly check who it is before hitting the ignore button. Finish the binding job and send my pleased coworker on her happy way.

8:30am... Put phone on vibrate. Check message. It’s M. Don’tcha just love it when guys get to the point where they’re calling and saying: “Hi, it’s me.” LOL Yes, I got one of those. It’s a good thing I know who “me” is. My sister asked me: Did you know which ONE it was? LOL She so funny.

Sans makeup, poofy hair, arms aching from snow shoveling, gouged hand and I’m wondering: Will this day ever end?

Dec 26, 2007

Christmas 2007 - Part Two

Who’s bright idea was it to try and get a family portrait on Christmas? Oh yeah. It was mine! Last week, I text messaged everyone and tell them to “dress up” because I’m going to try for a family photo. We hadn’t had one of those since my nephew was a baby. He’s 12 now. We have kids that weren’t even born then. Yeah, it was time. Anyway... “dress up”... So I’m thinking dress clothes, coordinated, blah, blah, blah. One family coordinated and wore something other than jeans. Not that jeans are bad, mind you (sans holes ... LOL). I do have to say that my sister has been through the “portrait gauntlet” with me many, many times so she knows how to dress appropriately for a good family portrait. So in defense of the others, I give leeway. LOL Even my Dad did his rendition of “dressing up”. Polo shirt, dress pants, slippers.

There were only a couple of “mishaps”... if you wanna call them that. First, my mother refused to take off her wet shoes when she first arrived. After stepping in a water puddle, I said “Could ya please take your shoes off so you’re not tracking water all over?” Apparently, that’s fixin’s for skirmish. She started arguing with me about how she wasn’t taking her shoes off, why do I have to ask like that, and how I NEVER take my shoes off at their house. That btw, is exaggerated. I take my shoes off 98% of the time, immediately when I walk in the door. She must be confusing me with one of her OTHER children. Had it not been for my sister, I would’ve blown a fuse. Instead I walked around the hardwood floors where my mother had been and wiped up water puddles while she stood there watching me.

The second thing that happened was at dinner time. I opened the deviled eggs my SIL brought and they were all smashed to one side of the dish. LOL I said: “Uhhhh... “ and showed my SIL. This is where we all found out that my 8yr old niece had grabbed the bag the food was in and tipped everything on it’s side. I left the eggs sitting on the counter. Wouldn’t ya know my family ate them anyway! LOL I think it was my sister that said: “We’re pigs. We don’t care what it looks like. It all goes down the same.” ROFL My guess is that they were pretty good because there were only 2 left when I and my brother's fiance cleaned up after the meal.

Aside from that, Christmas turned out really well. It’s probably one of the better Christmas’s I’ve had in a long, long time. There was a lot of good food. Everyone was sitting at the same table, eating, drinking, laughing, and having a good time. I had everyone open their gifts, one person at a time, so we all could see what they got, rather than it being a free-for-all. It’s so much fun seeing the looks on faces.

My sister got a video recorder for Christmas so she was going around taping everyone and everything. Nice. I’m captured for eternity now. I guess it’s payback for all these years I’ve stuck my camera in everyone’s faces. LOL

Which reminds me: Back to the family photo. After presents were opened, my parents were heading for the door (I don't think Dad wasn't feeling too good.) so I scrambled to make room on my CF card in order to get the BIG PIC. Ever try to get 16 people coordinated and looking at the camera at the same time (and looking good to boot)? No easy task, let me assure you. Plus they're all in a big hurry thinking all you need to do is press the button. Wrong. Not if you want something good. Surprisingly, not one person told me "Could you hurry it up?" Yeah, I've heard that before. Plus... I had to make a spot for me in that group of people! LOL It's not professional quality, but it's a good snapshot.

By 8pm, everyone was gone. The house was quiet, and I was ready for bed. In addition to holiday text messages from friends, I got a lot of great photographs.

Pics to follow.

Dec 25, 2007

No Place Like Home Flat Folds

On Christmas Eve, I spent about 5 hours putting together the flat folds I stitched to commemorate my siblings and my moving in 2007. I gave them as special Christmas gifts.

Christmas 2007 - Part One

I didn't think I could pull it off, but everything is ready.... ready as it's gonna get:

12 Days of Christmas - Family Style

Last year when I participated in the 12 Days of Christmas Exchange on the CSC MB, my sister asked what it was all about. Being the great sister and aunt that I am (LOL), I bought her 12 presents for my sister and niece to open last year. This year, she called me up asking where her 12 Days of Christmas presents were. LOL So we decided to do a 12 Days of Christmas exchange. Here are the gifties I received so far:

DAY ONE - a star ornie made of twigs with little pine cones and holly on it. My niece picked it out.

DAY TWO - a devil antenna ball from my niece (Is she trying to tell me something?). Actually she picked it out because it matched my car, which is red. However, there's a bit of a snafu... I don't have an antenna. LOL, so I'm going to fashion up something so I can hang it. Isn't that little tail cute? We're still trying to figure out why the devil has wings. LOL From my sister I got a toothpick holder from her new "home" town. That'll come in handy at Christmas.

DAY THREE - a mini meat tenderizer that's actually a magnet. It's heavy just like the real thing. My niece picked it out, but my sister seems to think it's a good weapon for the next BF who does me wrong. LOL... She so funny! From my sister I got a neat little keychain. Awww :) She wuvs me!

DAYS FOUR thru TWELVE - OK, with the holiday right on my tail, I admit that I don't remember which gifts were for which days so here goes:

How cool are these? Velcro craft bags! As my sister said: Stash Bags!

New niece picked these out. I have an electronic dart board.

Candles and holders. These worked great for the Christmas dinner table.

There's more, but I need to take pics... stay tuned!

Dec 24, 2007

A Finish... and Memories

Quite a few of the finishes I've had this year, have memories attached to them. My latest finish: Gingerbread House, a stitch-n-hang kit by Needlemagic Inc. Earlier this year, I started this ornament while sitting in the hospital waiting room when my Dad has one of his procedures done. I finished it while sitting in the same waiting room (several months later) when he was having a different procedure done. It's stitched on 14ct plastic canvas with the most awful threads imaginable. If it weren't for the threads being so hard to work with, it would've been a more enjoyable piece to work on. I used 1/4" white ribbon and blue felt to finish it into an ornament.

Dec 22, 2007

Beyond the Call of Duty

I am sooooo nice to my clients. It's no wonder why they love me. Yes, I often go above and beyond what is necessary to service my clients. (Hmmm... that sounds naughty! LOL)

Remember, I offerred to do bonuses for the client previously mentioned? He had some time issues in regards to picking up the stuff from me, and he didn't want to take anymore time than he already did. He offered to pick up the data at my house, or wherever he could catch up with me later in the day on Saturday. Normally, I don't allow clients to have my personal info, but I've known the guy for close to 18yrs and he's a well known businessman in our community. He came, picked up, and went. He was really appreciative of all that I did.

15 minutes later... My doorbell rings.

My client is standing out there in the pouring rain. In his hand is an envelope. He went and bought me a gift certificate to one of the upscale restaurants in town... for going "above and beyond". How nice is that?


Saturday before Christmas and where was I? At work. On Fri, I was way busy trying to get work done that normally would be taken care of on Mon and Tues. Since there's a holiday (and the work STILL needed to be done... time sensitivity, gotta love it), I was "volunteered" to be in the office on Sat, to work on a proposal for new business. Can't tell the boss "no", can I? ;-) Since I knew I was going to be in the office, I gave a client the option to give me information for year end bonuses he wanted to hand out at a Christmas party. Waffling... talk about frustrating. The client was indecisive as to what to give and whether to give. When I finally received the data, I was also informed: "There was another shooting today." Ack! Of course, I peppered the client with questions (wondering in my head how he knew). He wouldn't give me any info because he didn't know what had been released to the public yet.

Turns out the second shooting was related to the first one. Both shootings are believed to be part of a "blood feud" between two rival criminal groups in the area, and the incidents are part of a boarder investigation.

The second shooting occurred near the juvenile facility and county jail on the far east side of town. A woman was shot while driving her car by 3 men in another car... again drive-by style. Her injuries are not life threatening and she was taken to a local hospital. No arrests have been made yet.

Dec 21, 2007

A Bit of Excitement

Headlines read: Man Shot 'Gangland Style' in Broad Daylight

One would think drive-by shootings only occur in the larger cities such as Chicago, LA, or New York. Not in a quiet midwestern city. Shortly after 2pm, word got around there was a shooting downtown. Just two blocks east and one block south of where I work,... in the bustling downtown area where people were doing their banking, having meetings at the local high-rise hotel, paying their cable bills, or just shopping for Christmas... four young men took matters in their hands and shot a known drug dealer, drive-by style. 12 shots were fired, 2 hit the mark. The victim survived and was taken to the hospital. Side note: He was out on bail awaiting trial for shooting a man back in July.

Immediately, I called my sister (who works across the street from me) and asked where my 15yr old niece was. My niece came into town with my sister for the day. She'd spent my lunch hour with me and had told me she was going downtown shopping. As you can imagine, I was worried. As it turned out, my niece was with my sister *whew* and had a story of her own. Right after the shooting occurred, a lady had come into the store was my niece was at. She was showing a cell phone photo of the shot man laying on the sidewalk bleeding. Nice. Replay: "We've got tourists taking pictures of the body, Al" - From the movie "Pretty Woman".

Local schools were placed on soft lockdown for about 1/2 hour because the police didn't want the shooters to blend in with students. Two of the four men have been arrested and charged with Class X felonies. Two are still at large.

Talk about scary!!

A Little Survey

I snagged this from Nancy in MI. Here are the rules:

1. You can only answer Yes or No!
2. You are not allowed to explain anything unless someone messages you and asks!
3. Repost this on your page.

*** Here we go!! ***

Kissed someone on your friends list? Yes

Danced in front of your mirror naked? No

Ever told a lie? Yes

Tripped on mushrooms? No

Done ecstasy? No

Had feelings for someone who didn't have them back? Yes

Been arrested? No

Kissed a picture? No

Slept till 5pm? Yes

Had sex at work? No

Fallen asleep at work? Yes

Had an actual snake? No

Ran a red light? Yes

Been suspended from school? No

Totalled car/motorcycle in an accident? No

Been fired from a job? No

Sang karaoke? Yes

Done something you told yourself you wouldn't? Yes

Laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose? No

Caught a snowflake on your tongue? Yes

Kissed in the rain? No

Sang in the shower? Yes

Sat on a roof top? Yes

Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on? Yes

Broken a bone? No

Shaved your head? No

Slept naked? Yes

Blacked out after drinking? No

Played a prank on someone? Yes

Had a gym membership? No

Felt like killing someone? No

Made your Partner cry? No

Had sex more than 9 times in one day? Yes

Had mexican jumping beans as pets? No

Been in a band? No

Shot a gun? No

Played strip poker? No

Donated blood? No

Video taped you having sex? No

Still love someone you shouldn't? No

Have a tattoo? No

Any piercings, other than ears? No

Dec 20, 2007

Observances of a Lunch Hour Missionary

Yes, I was on a mission today. I had a TON of errands to run on my lunch hour, but that didn’t stop me from making a few interesting observations:

Apparently, some people don’t know the 80’s have passed. As I was following this couple (about my age) up the stairs to the post office, what do I see poking out of the back pocket of his jeans? (Don’t even ask why I was looking *there*) How many of us that came of age in the 80’s remember how “cool” we were with the combs and brushes sticking out our back pockets? A myriad of colors and styles... Oh yeah, to go back there. Um. No.

As I was getting ready to pull out of my parking space at the post office, I notice this older man starting to cross the street. I’d say he was pushing close to 60, with all his gray hair and such. What struck me, though, was his eyes. He had THOSE eyes… you know, the striking blue ones that knock your socks off and make you melt? If I were only older... LOL, just kidding.

Fabric and cross stitch at Walmart? Gone. All of it.

I’m sure you all have the Salvation Army bell ringers in front of every store in town. The Walmart here is no exception. What is the exception is the fact that as I was leaving Walmart, the bell ringer happened to be dressed as Santa... in addition to ringing the bell, he was dancing! Yes, dancing... Like the dancing street cop, I saw on the Today Show a few weeks ago. More power to ya, Santa!

Lastly, as I was pulling out of Wendy’s (a girl’s gotta eat!), I saw this asian guy walking on the street. This thoroughfare is a main one through a busy shopping area. I’d guess he’s about my age (no, I am not interested... thank you) I’ve seen this guy walking for years… I’m not talking a few years, but at least 20 years. I always think: Who is he? Where does he live? Is he mental? Why is he always walking? Gosh, I’m nosey, aren’t I? LOL

So there ya go… my odd observations in an hour’s time. More importantly, to answer the million dollar question: Yes, I did get my errands done.

Dec 19, 2007

SBQ - Thread Prep

Today's SBQ was suggested by Nancy and is: "Do you do anything special to your threads before putting them throughyour fabric to make them more manageable?"

Does licking count? The ends, I mean... before putting it through the eye. LOL, OK I'm guessing that's not what Nancy was getting at. But hey, I had to ask!

To answer the question: No, I don't use anything. I tried Thread Heaven once and I didn't think it really helped. Sometimes when I'm using silk threads, I'll run them over a damp sponge.

Dec 18, 2007

Fabric Frenzy

Here I go again... another post about Freecycle! I can't say enough good things about it. Earlier this week, someone put out a post that they were offering up a box of fabric scraps, some with yardage. Good for a quilter, she said. She was also offering two 1/2 bags of fiberfill, and 12 fitness videos. I was the lucky recipient of all three. Here's a pic of the fabric:

The fabric covered a 5x5 foot section of my dining room floor! Lots of pieces where at least a yard to 3 yards. It was like Christmas taking each piece out to see what the next one was. :D Also in the box were these:

I don't know why the thread is on cardboard spools like that. Can someone shed some light on it for me?

I'm Swimming In Cards...

...ok, maybe not swimming. It's too cold for swimming, and it'd just be wrong. LOL I do have a LOT of Christmas cards, though. Every day, I get a handful more!

Snow Puppy

Celeste just loves the snow! She doesn't like having her pic taken, though. When she sees the camera pointed at her, she will run and hide or turn her head (little rascal!).

Winter Wonderland

I took a few minutes out of my lunch hour earlier in the week to take some pics of this wonderful *ahem* weather we've been having. At least the sun was shining! :D Only 2 1/2 to 3 more months to go...

My Front Porch

Dec 17, 2007

So Much For....

... thinking this week would be less stressful. As you know from a previous post, Christmas is being held at my house. Tonight, brother #2 called me to chew me out (literally yelling) for stating that none of my siblings that have bigger homes would step up. He was also mad about my not calling him when I had an issue with his behavior. In my defense on that, I was going to talk to him about it tonight when I called him about Christmas. He didn't want to hear about that, though.

His perception is that I made him look like a lowlife and belittling him to millions of people on the internet. Now where did I state that? No where. Did I put his name out there? No.

"How would you like it if I told everybody all you do is sit around and do cross stitch?" he says. LOL, I wouldn't care a bit. Why wouldn't I care? Because there's nothing wrong with stitching, and I know that it's not the *only* thing I do. Fact is, lately I've not had a whole lot of time to stitch. Up until taking my Dad to Madison last week, I hadn't stitched in a couple weeks. Too much going on.

As an aside, my blog is a place for my thoughts and how I feel at various points in my life. (As the title says: My travels through this crazy thing called life.) Can't afford a therapist, so blogging is the next best thing...LOL

I also find it very interesting that the very same day I made the Christmas post, that he reads it (or someone tells him about it). I told him, and still believe he was over-reacting. To my credit, I maintained my composure during this "conversation" which he refers to calling me out on it.

Holidays bring out the best in families, don't they?

Home For The Holidays

Both my brother’s have large homes – Guess who is hosting Christmas this year? Moi.

My parent’s kitchen is being remodeled so they can’t host Christmas like they usually do. Since none of the siblings wanted to step up, it’s going to be at my house. With everything that’s been going on, I wasn’t planning on putting up my tree this year, but now that Christmas is going to be at my house I’ll have to.

It also means that I will have to unpack or do something with the boxes sitting around. On the upside, my mother will be cooking dinner… at my house.

Am I crazy? Like I don’t have enough to do that I volunteer to have Christmas. Sometimes, I think I need someone to save me from myself…LOL I need to learn the phrase: “Just Say No!”

Another positive thing is that my first Christmas in my new home will be filled with family. Maybe I can get a full family portrait. Haven’t had one of those in probably 10 years.

Carpets and Drapes

As I mentioned in my previous post, I shampooed my living room carpet. I have one of those Bissell ProHeat Steam Cleaners. Highly recommended - It does a great job. Only God knows when the last time the carpet was cleaned. The dirty water was disgusting! There was a big stain on it that had been there before I purchased the place. I was happy to see that it came out. Now I don’t have to cover it up with a box...LOL There are couple of small rust stains. Anyone know how to get out rust stains from carpet? I also finished putting up the living room and dining room drapes. It’s looking more and more like “home”.

What Was My Brother Thinking?

Last night, I had a dinner date with my brother’s friend (the one who salted my driveway last week). We went to an nice Italian restaurant in town. Had the most delicious chicken Tuscany pizza.

When he asked if nice jeans and a shirt was OK for the restaurant, I agreed thinking he would be wearing a nicer shirt than he did. The fringed leather jacket really threw me for a loop. He did offer his arm when we walked to the restaurant from the car.

After dinner, we sat at my house talking about various things. Mostly about his ex-wife’s mental issues, how much work his house needed (in detail) and how he wasn’t sure he wanted to put money into it (think unfinished drywall, leaky roof, etc.), and work. Did I mention he’s only dated one woman for a couple months since his divorce 3 years ago?

Another thing that bothered me is that he walked on my living room carpet with his boots, after I had said I just shampooed it. Most men would’ve taken a clue to take their shoes off, after they saw me take my shoes off before walking through my house.

He’s nice an all, but I don’t feel he’s on the same level as me on lots of issues. He’d be a good guy to have as a friend, but I can’t see a future there.

Quite honestly, I don’t know how my brother would think that we were compatible. How does one delicately handle a situation like this?

Dec 16, 2007

The Talk

Since I had to call brother #1 in regards to Christmas, I took the opportunity to tell him that he and my other brother need to step up and help out with the parents. His response to me: "I have a life, house and a family, and my own sh*t to do. Don't get on my @ss about it." To which I responded, my sister and I have our own lives also and homes of our own. He tried to justify his response by telling me that I had a house in town. What the hell! It doesn't matter where my house is, I still have to clean the driveway, go to work, and pay my bills. Yet my sister and I still *make* time to help our parents.

To his credit, he did drive over to my parents and plow their driveway this morning. However, he made a point of telling it to me this way: "I drove 20miles out of my way to plow their driveway." I'm thinking that the ONLY reason he went over there is because it was my Mom's birthday 2 days ago and he took her a card.

Love Thy Neighbor

6:30am - I text my brother's friend who does snowplowing to ask if he could do my driveway. He said he just got off a 12hour shift and could he do it at 3pm. Not thinking I'd be going anywhere, I said OK.

9:00am - I go out and start to shovel the 4+" of snow by my garage. The neighbor guy was out with his snowthrower and asked if the guy was coming to plow. I told him not til 3, and he offered to do my entire driveway. He declined offers of money, cookies, and pie for payment of his services. He said he knew what a pain the incline could be and that it was not a problem. What a doll!

12noon - After 2 1/2 hours of shoveling clean-up (i.e. carrying to the front or back yards), the driveway is done. I took a shower and my tush was so cold that when the hot water rolled off it, it was cold. Literally! I know... TMI, but that's how cold I was.

Anyway, I'm thinking I like both my "new" neighbors. :)

Dec 15, 2007

Date Night Revisited

M and I finally were able to reschedule our (second) date on Friday night. He arrived in downtown Rockford before I did, so he hung out at a local pub waiting for me. After I called to tell him I was downtown, he could see me parking and walked to greet me. As you know, we've had a lot of snow and ice. He helped me out of my car and across the ice so that I wouldn't fall. What a great excuse to hold my hand, eh? ;-) He held my hand until we found a restaurant we wanted to try out.

We decided on Zambuca Coffee House and Piano Bar. It's a small upscale place with live jazz musicians and pianist. At times it was difficult for me to hear what M was saying, but we managed. The food was excellent.

After dinner, we decided to catch the new Will Smith flick "I Am Legend". During our walk back to the cars, M held onto my hand so I wouldn't fall. Did I mention I was wearing high heels? He helped me into my car and then followed me to the theater. Interesting observation... M and I were two of maybe (MAYBE) 5 others over the age of 30 in a packed theater audience to see this movie. Talk about feeling old!! About the movie... The trailer clips seen on TV do not do the movie justice. It was suspenseful and a bit unnerving, as well as scary. I'll admit that I was startled at least 8 times during the movie (ahem... so did M, a few times). There were a couple of sad/moving parts in the movie as well. During the entire movie, M held my hand. :) Isn't that sweet?

Oh, and he did bring me a 40lb bag of salt which he refused to let me pay for.

Dec 14, 2007

Date Night Cancelled

My dinner date the other night was cancelled because he ended up working later than he thought. When he called to ask for a raincheck, he was still at work. He called last night to see if we could do it then, but since I was still in Madison, it was a no go.

Interestingly enough, I received text messages or phone calls from both guys I've been on dates recently. Both sent good wishes for my Dad and asked how he was doing. (Do ya think my brothers called or texted? Nope. OK, OK... I'll get off that soapbox. LOL)

On my way home from Madison last night, I received a text message from S: "Do you have another guy on the line yet?" I ignored it, but thought to myself: Why would he care?

Long Day

Phone rings at 5:20am.

“You up?” asks my Dad.

“Yeah, just finished getting dressed. I’ll be there in a little bit.” I say.

“OK, just wanted to make sure you were up.”

In darkness of night... or I should say “morning” I arrive at my parent’s house and notice the entire driveway is covered with at least an inch of ice. *mental note to self*

It was disturbing to me to walk in and see my Dad snoozing in his chair... His skin seemed as white/gray as his hair. Then halfway down the stairs to the garage, he became winded. Along the way, he was complaining about how his legs, feet and stomach were swollen. Mom informed me that he hadn’t been sleeping well, or been able to eat much. My sister and I have always been able to tell how bad Dad is feeling by how grouchy he is. Boy, was he grouchy! I thought to myself: “This ought to be a fun 2 hour drive to Madison.”

We arrived in Madison just as rush hour traffic was starting. I offered to push Dad in the wheelchair up to the cardiac floor. He declined. So then I said: “OK then... How about I get in a chair and you push me up there?” LOL After labs were done, he was taken to start his procedures.

While in the waiting room, I text messaged my siblings asking them to pitch in for salt to put down on my parent’s driveway. My oldest brother offered to give 75lb of salt that was in the back of his truck. Since we were suppose to be back home by 2pm, I offered to drive 20 minutes in the opposite direction of my home... to where my brother works... to get the salt. Since my parents live in between there and my house, I’d stop back my Mom and Dad’s to sprinkle the salt. My sister wrote me a check so I could get more salt. Never heard a thing from my youngest brother.

After Dad’s first procedure was completed, we were told that he had fluid in his lungs and he had to be given medication to reduce it before they could shock his heart. Anesthesiologists wouldn’t be available until 2:30pm. Ack... When Dad asked for a ride, he said “We’ll be home by 2pm.”

Since it was 11:30am, Mom and I decided to walk to a sushi restaurant a couple blocks from the hospital. I told her I’d take her there for her birthday present. The meal was good and she enjoyed herself. We walked there and back, and I had to help her through the snow and ice (Think little old lady crossing the street. LOL).

Since we clearly weren’t going to be back home until after 5:30pm, I text messaged my brother asking him if he could drop the salt off at Dad’s. His response? “I don’t think I’m going that way.” Grrrr! (I didn’t happen to have plans to go to Madison either, but I did. I didn’t have plans to drive in the opposite way from MY home to pick up salt, but I was willing to do that, too.) It really irked me to get that text message. As if my day wasn’t stressful enough. Btw, neither of my brothers have taken my Dad to Madison (which is 2 hours from where my parents live) for any of his appointments… It’s always been my sister and I who have had to take vacation days from work to do it. So in the grand scheme of things, I did NOT think it was unreasonable to have my brother drop off a bag of salt. Especially when my Dad is clearly not feeling well.

I did get a bunch of stitching done while in the waiting room. I finished the gingerbread house that I started the last time I had to take Dad up there for surgery. When that was done, I worked on Victorian Pansies needlebook. Three-fourths of the lace border is done. In addition to stitching, I made myself useful by answering the waiting room telephone. It was the link to surgery... letting families know when loved ones could be seen.

Finally, it was Mom's and my turn to get the call.

We all sat in the recovery room for at least an hour more. By this time, Dad was getting quite irritable from sitting, waiting, and from being hungry. They gave him two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. That’s all he ate all day.

8pm... I finally roll into town after dropping my parent’s off at their house. I was tired, hungry, and still brooding over the message I got from my brother. I ate, read some emails, and was in bed sleeping by 9:30pm.

What a LONG day!

Dec 12, 2007

Classes... and More Classes

Early this week, I finished up my online Advanced Excel class. I just checked my assignment and quiz grades... Got an A+ on all of them. Yay for me! Before that, I took an online Beginning Excel class and got an A+ in that one, too. Two more classes down!

Today, I registered for the spring semester. It'll be a bit tougher... I'm taking Business Law II, online Beginning Access, and Advanced Access. After that, I think I need one more class to complete the accounting degree.


Men can be funny creatures, can't they?

My brother has this friend who wants to go out on a date with me. Yesterday while at work, I received a text message from him that he'd been driving by my house on the way to Menards (nevermind the fact that Menards was on the OTHER side of town...LOL) and noticed my driveway had a lot of ice on it. He was worried about me trying to get up the incline and sliding back out into traffic, so he put down 40lbs of salt.

Then there's M who I went to dinner with a few weeks ago. He's been calling me pretty regularly (almost daily, actually) since our date. Last night, I was enthralling him with my ice tales of woe while he was driving home from a class. After I complained about the stores being sold out of salt, he asks: "Do you want me to stop at Mejeirs and see if they have any?" And he did! Then he tells me something along the lines of "This is my way of asking you out on a date again. If you say no, then I can save face and neither one of us has to feel bad." The poor man parked on the wrong side of the building and ended up carrying a 40lb bag of salt through the store and across the parking lot. Keep in mind M lives at least 2 hours from me... We're going out to dinner tonight. :) -- What am I gonna wear???

Gotta love it when men are trying to be manly in their effort to woo a girl. LOL

12 Days Exchange 2007

Once again, I'm participating in the 12 Days of Christmas Exchange with the Cross Stitch Crazy group. It's a secret exchange where you get 12 little gifts that are numbered in the order you're suppose to open them. One gets opened each day, for 12 days. On Dec 1, I got to open my first present!!! Here's what my secret 12 Days partner sent me:

Day 1

Very cute 2008 Calendar. I don't have one yet, so this will come in handy!

Day 2

Package of #26 Petite Needles. My favorite!

Day 3

Green Tea and Hot Cocoa. Yum!

Day 4

Hummingbird Trivet. Hummingbirds are so pretty. :)

Day 5

2-yr calendar and Christmas tea light candles. I've already put the tealights in candle holders. :)

Day 6

Green tassels and green Whisper fuzzy floss. Very Christmassy

Day 7
The cutest Santa ornament!

Day 8

Charles Craft stitchable hand towel

Day 9

OMG! Jelly Belly Jelly Beans!! Yum Yum!

Day 10

These will definitely come in handy. :)

Day 11

Mary Engelbreight magnetic snowman frames and list pad. Aren't they the cutest? I already have them on my refrigerator!

Day 12

From my wishlist... "Stitching Is A Joyful Art" How thoughtful. :) :)

Who was my 12 Days Pal this year? It was Jo! Thank you Jo, for all the wonderful gifts. :)