Apr 30, 2008

DMC Rumors

Rumors have been flying about the "demise" of DMC...

DMC is downsizing their workforce 20%, which isn't surprising. I'm sure with the economy the say it is, we'll be seeing a lot more of this with a lot of companies. According to THIS article on Rueters, the company is filing for protection, and a decision has yet to be made whether they'll be allowed to restructure and keep running, or if business will be shut down. It appears it's the European company that's looking for help. Stock trading has been suspended right now.

I also received this press release today:

APRIL 30, 2008

In recent days, there has been a significant amount of information in the form of press releases, media reports, etc. regarding financial difficulties and operational restructuring plans at the DMC corporate offices in France. Those activities and court filings within the legal system in France are directed towards seeking a formal resolution for two divisions within the DMC Corporation (Sportswear fabric and a small chain of retail stores found only in France) that are not related to the embroidery thread and craft activities, which remain the core business of the corporation.

In addition, the U.S. division of DMC operates as a separate legal and financial entity with its own financing, receivables, payables, etc, and as such, is not included in any legal filing or petitions to the courts that may occur in France.

We are financially secure and fully prepared to conduct business as usual here in the U.S.
DMC has been manufacturing needlework threads for 262 years and we remain committed to providing stitchers with the highest quality embroidery floss, specialty threads, needlework fabrics and other supplies they need to continue to enjoy the wonderful art of needlework. We look forward to continuing to serve all of our customers and loyal users of DMC products into the future.

Joseph D. McCabe
DMC, Inc

So rest easy... we still have our floss! Word travels fast, doesn't it?!

Apr 29, 2008

Jeff's Way of Handling A Wife

It is important for men to remember that, as women grow older, it becomes harder for them to maintain the same quality of housekeeping as when they were younger. When you notice this, try not to yell at them. Some are oversensitive, and there's nothing worse than an oversensitive woman.

My name is Jeff. Let me relate how I handled the situation with my wife, Susie.

Since I retired several years ago, it has become necessary for Susie to get a full-time job along with her part-time job, both for extra income and for the health benefits that we needed.

Shortly after she started working, I noticed she was beginning to show her age. I usually get home from the golf club about the same time she gets home from work.

Although she knows how hungry I am, she almost always says she has to rest for half an hour or so before she starts dinner. I don't yell at her. Instead, I tell her to take her time and just wake me when she gets dinner on the table. I generally have lunch in the Men's Grill at the club so eating out is not reasonable. I'm ready for some home-cooked grub when I hit that door.

She used to do the dishes as soon as we finished eating. But now it's not unusual for them to sit on the table for several hours after dinner. I do what I can by diplomatically reminding her several times each evening that they won't clean themselves. I know she really appreciates this, as it does seem to motivate her to get them done before she goes to bed.

Another symptom of aging is complaining, I think. For example she will say that it is difficult for her to find time to pay the monthly bills during her lunch hour. But, boys, we take 'em for better or worse, so I just smile and offer encouragement. I tell her to stretch it out over two or even three days. That way she won't ha ve to rush so much. I also remind her that missing lunch completely now and then wouldn't hurt her any (if you know what I mean). I like to think tact is one of my strong points.

When doing simple jobs, she seems to think she needs more rest periods. She had to take a break when she was only half finished mowing the yard. I try not to make a scene. I'm a fair man. I tell her to fix herself a nice, big, cold glass of freshly squeezed lemonade and just sit for a while. And, as long as she is making one for herself, she may as well make one for me too.

I know that I probably look like a saint in the way I support Susie. I'm not saying that showing this much consideration is easy. Many men will find it difficult. Some will find it impossible! Nobody knows better than I do how frustrating women get as they get older.

However, guys, even if you just use a little more tact and less criticism of your aging wife because of this article, I will consider that writing it w as well worthwhile. After all, we are put on this earth to help each other.

Sincerely, Jeff

Jeff died suddenly on March 1 of a perforated rectum. The police report says he was found with a Calloway extra long 50-inch Big Bertha Driver II golf club jammed up his rear end, with barely 5 inches of grip showing and a sledge hammer laying nearby.

His wife Susie was arrested and charged with murder. The all-woman jury took only 15 minutes to find her Not Guilty, accepting her defense that Jeff somehow, without looking, accidentally sat down on his golf club.

Apr 28, 2008

Works of Art

Number One
Finally! It’s almost like a work of art... a CLEAN refrigerator. Just like everything else I’ve cleaned at The Homestead, the refrigerator hadn’t been cleaned in I don’t know how long. One of the deli drawers still had food in it from the previous owner, who hadn’t live in the house for a least a year before I bought it. Yeah... I know... it SOUNDS disgusting. However it was packaged food like processed cheese, sausage and ketchup packets. The reason it was still in the refrigerator is because when I moved in, my Mom just threw my stuff in the refrigerator on the shelves, and then I set a book shelf (for my MANY cookbooks) against the wall that the fridge door opened toward. With the bookshelf there, I couldn’t open the door wide enough to pull the deli drawer out to clean the food out.

I made time on Saturday to pull the books off the shelf, move the shelf, and clean the entire refrigerator. I took everything out... food, shelves, drawers. A sink full of hot water, Dawn, Softscrub Gel and away I went!

While cleaning, I had a brainstorm idea. I can hear the crowd now: “Uh Ohhh” Since I had all the shelves and drawers pulled out of the refrigerator, why couldn’t I put the aforementioned “problem” deli drawer on the OTHER side of the refrigerator so that I can actually use it? Yes, I told myself… You are SO smart! LOL I also arranged the heights of the shelves to positions more convenient to me.

Two hours later, I emerged victorious... and quite pleased with myself, I might add! I almost don’t want to put food in there. LOL

Number Two
I’ve been putting off mowing the yard because it’s either been raining or really cold. I should’ve mowed my yard the ONE day last week it was nice... like my one neighbor did. Driving up and down my street and seeing everyone else’s newly mowed yards has been making me feel guilty that mine wasn’t. The perks of living in a better neighborhood. My neighbor on the other side of me hasn’t mowed his either, but his place looks like Home of the Rednecks… and they act like it, too. But hey, he was nice enough to snow blow my driveway.

I finally bit the bullet on Sunday night and pulled out my 20+ year old lawnmower, courtesy of Freecycle. Imagine my surprise when she started up on the first pull. After I finished mowing, my backyard looked like a mowed hayfield. The front looks great, so I guess that’s all that matters. Now I just need to find time to weed and prepare the flower beds and container gardens.

Meari's Monday Update 4/28/08

A Feel Good Moment
Last summer, I offered my niece's old bicycle to local Freecyclers. A woman showed up with her 7yr old daughter and told me how much her daughter had been wanting a bike, but the family couldn't afford to buy her one. Apparently, the father had gone through surgery and had been their only breadwinner. The woman had also mentioned that she'd have to use the bike to go to the store because their car was repo'd due to nonpayment. After the two of them left, I got to thinking... I had an adult bike (OLD) in the garage that hadn't been used in 6 years. I emailed her and asked her if she could use it. She came back and got it. Why am I sharing this? Last Monday on my lunch hour, I saw my OLD bike chained to a telephone pole near the hospital. It made me feel good knowing I'd helped someone out and that they were actually using the bike. :) (Insert *warm fuzzies* here)

The B-Law II test was horrible. Absolutely horrible. Everyone in the class felt the same way. I think I'll be lucky to get a C on this one. The upside is: Three tests down... ONE to go... and NO FINAL! :) I won't be finding out how I did on the test until tomorrow night. In addition, I get the pleasure of listening to a three hour bankruptcy lecture given by a federal bankruptcy attorney.

I'm still plugging away at my Access project. I've named it Stash Tracking. I missed class last week (due to taking Dad to the hospital) which was OK with the instructor. I had big dreams with what I could do in the 8 week time period, but alas... I'm not going to accomplish a lot of it. It'll definitely be a work in progress for quite a while. Ha! Like I need another "project"? The good think about this project that it doesn't have to be a finished product. It's the process that the instructor wants us to go through, and of course she does have some guidelines that we need to follow.

I started my documentation today. So far it's 6 pages! Geez. There are things I need to add while I'm using the program and working on my project. Right below "Stash Tracking" (Can anyone come up with a better name?), I put the following cartoon strip:


Weekly Workouts
I managed to workout three times this week. I really need to work hard to get out of this rut I'm in. I want to get more in, but by the time I get off work and do what I need to get done... housework, homework, laundry, shopping... I barely have time to sleep (Ack, I think B-Law is getting to me). I know... excuses, excuses. It'll be over soon. Meantime, I'll try to stay in my exercise routine.

Freebie of the Week
If you'd like to download the freebie, just click on the link.

by Passione Ricamo

Apr 27, 2008

Surprise x 2

In reading the brochure for the local non-profit animal shelter, I found it interesting that they get no state funding whatsoever. It runs through donations and two major fundraisers a year: the rummage sale and chili day. This weekend was the rummage sale. Today was Fill-A-Bag for $1 from 9am-1pm. I happened to be in the neighborhood, so I stopped by.

Surprise #1 -- At 9:30, it was a madhouse! People were filling bags like crazy!! Tables were in disarray. I couldn't believe it. I wandered my way around the room, from table to table, hoping to find something that I "needed" (LOL). Nothing caught my fancy until I saw this:

Stitched Ornament

One can never have too many spools of thread, so I grabbed those too. There wasn't much in the way of crafty stuff at the sale.

Surprise #2 -- When I took my "finds" to the cashier, she looked at it and then looked at me and said: "You're gonna pay $1 for THAT?" I was a bit put off... afterall, wasn't the purpose of the sale to raise funds for the shelter? And she obviously doesn't KNOW how much work went into the ornie! The tassel was handmade to match and it was finished beautifully. Plus with 5 spools of thread, it was definitely worth a dollar.

I was happy to rescue to ornie!

Apr 25, 2008

With a Face Like This

How can you say anything except.... Awwww! She's soooo cute!! (And yes, she knows it!)

A Touch of Spring

Look what I found when I took Celeste outside to do her "thing" on my lunch hour today!! They definitely weren't there this morning.

I'm pretty sure these are the irises Cherie in UT sent me last fall:

Lastly, I brought these from my old place (not sure what they are):

You Have To Wonder About...

... some people! If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I'm an avid fan of Freecycle. I've benefited a little by receiving a few items, and benefited a lot from giving to those in need. In addition, items were kept from going to the landfill.

With that said... Here comes my RANT:

As Freecycle moderator, my job is to enforce the rules set up by Freecycle and approve messages that go to the public at large. Yesterday, there were 7 posts by the same woman asking for "Gently Used" clothing & jackets, sheet sets, comforters, entertainment center, TV stand, couch & loveseat, computer desk w/hutch, kitchen table and chairs (because the one she was given was OLD), and outdoor table & chairs. Not only did she post to my city's Freecycle group, she also posted to another city's group.

First, common sense would tell me... If big items are "Gently Used" people would not normally be giving them away on Freecycle. They would be selling them to recoup some of their cost. "Gently Used" items normally wouldn't be ending up in the landfill. Second, Freecyclers aren't in the business of setting up "house" for others. Lastly, the lady just comes off as being greedy.

I have also seen people asking for items such as iPods, and cell phones.. but not just any cell phone... ones with cameras and other specifics detailed out. What the... ?!? I'd like an iPod... Do I think someone on Freecycle is going to JUST give me one? Noooo. C'mon people! Geesh.

*stepping down off the soapbox*

With that said, I offered a bunch of items on Freecycle. Two people have come and picked some of the things up.

One was a guy who clearly was not well-to-do, but making-do. He picked up a popscicle mold for his 7yr old and before he left, he asked me if there was anything I was looking for (from Freecycle). Talk about thoughtful! He sent me an email afterwards thanking me and telling how much he appreciated it.

The other was a lady who picked up a nice pair of shoes that I couldn't fit my fat feet into (LOL). She later sent me an email about how much she liked them and how comfty they were. This morning when I went to set more items on my porch to be picked up, a piece of paper fell to the ground when I opened the door. Here the lady had written me a thank you note!

See... it's people like these that make Freecycle worth the effort. People helping people, and helping the environment.

Apr 24, 2008

Jingles 4/24/08

I finished stitching Jingles tonight. All I have to do is make him into an ornie. Jingles the Penguin was designed by Cindy and David Morill of The Stitchworks Ltd. The design was featured in the 2007 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments issue. I used 22ct mauve aida with DMC and Rainbow Gallery Wisper flosses. It took me 6 hours to do the stitching. I think he turned out cute.

Apr 23, 2008

SBQ: Blended Flavors

How do you handle blended threads? Do you kit the blends up before you start a piece, or do you grab what colors you need and blend when the need arises? If you kit up the blends beforehand, how do you store them? Do you have another option for blends to share?

I've only done one piece that had a LOT of blended threads. I started out blending them as I went, but that got old really fast not to mention it slowed down my stitching. So then I did up the blended colors in a small amount so I wouldn't end up wasting floss. I use cardboard bobbins, so I just put the blended colors on there with the numbers. Any little bit of left over blended threads were pulled apart and re-wound onto the appropriate bobbin. So I guess I did a combination!

Apr 21, 2008

Meari's Monday Update 4/21/08

I had a pretty uneventful weekend. The weather was great and aside from stepping out once in a while just to breathe the fresh air and feel the sun on my face, I didn't spend much time outdoors.


Because I have B-Law Test #3 tomorrow night. I managed to finish all my reading and notetaking over the weekend. Now I just have to finish typing my notes to study from. It's probably a weird way to study, but I find it easier to retain what I've learned by first handwriting notes while I read and during lecture. Second, I retype them on the computer to reinforce what I've learned and to collate class notes with my reading notes. Lastly, I print the notes out to study from right before the test. I'm worried about this one because it's over business entities, stocks, bonds, and laws governing securities -- subject matter I'm not too familiar with.

Weekly Workouts
I managed to get 4 good workouts in last week. One night, I did an hour's worth of walking... fast-paced, sweat-creating power walking. Much to my surprise, I was SO sore the next day. My thighs, calves, and even arms were sore! I would've thought that with all the Walking Away The Pounds workouts I'd been doing I wouldn't have been so sore. Karin pointed out to me that I'm using different sets of muscles walking in place vs. actual walking. Makes sense!

HEY Nancy... How's the weight loss coming?!?

More Yummies
Here's a quick little meal I made: BBQ turkey on lightly toasted wheat and steamed broccoli.

Stitchy Stuff
Aside from the LK charts I have on order with the local LNS, I've put myself on a stash diet. I'm thinking I should stay on one for a while (aside from getting necessities called for in charts that I have) until I figure out how I'm going to store my stash. Everything is still in boxes because I haven't found a storage cabinet yet. Stash that I've bought since the move is thrown on a corner table in my living room (Yeah, looks tacky!).

I did manage to get about an hour's worth of stitching in last night. I worked on Jingles. He now has an entire body. Nancy in MI was kind enough to send me some jingle bells for his hat. Thank You, Nancy! I still have 9 days to finish Jingle as my Monthly Ornament SAL. Then I'll be back to working on Mime.

Freebie of the Week
I thought I'd start posting a link to a freebie each week. For all of the chocolate lovers out there:

Chocolate Breakfast
by Fiddle Stitch Cottage

What Is This 4/12/08 Answer

The winner this round is.....

She guessed correctly that it was a toilet paper holder.

Who'da thought I'd be writing about toilet paper? Not toilet paper per se, but the holder itself. If I had my choice, I'd go and buy any of the fantastic easily mounted-on-the wall type of holders. However, with my bathroom walls covered in porcelain tile, my choices are limited.

The TP holder that came with the house is a plain Jane chrome recessed one. I swear I've spent hours searching online for a recessed toilet paper holder. One wouldn't think it'd be such a difficult task. I'm here to tell you VERY FEW places sell recessed TP holders, let alone ones that are decorative in nature.

A few weeks ago, I found an antique brass one at an Ace Hardware store about 40 minutes from my house, so I picked one up when I took my niece shopping. When I got it home and looked at it in the bathroom, I found that it was too dark so I ended up taking it back last weekend.

Several months ago, I read about Habitat for Humanity ReStores. They're retail outlets for gently used building materials and home appliances. The store I went to wasn't very big, but I was surprised at some of the things they had. Imagine my surprise when I saw that they had not one, but 4-5 recessed TP holders. Some were still in the packaging. I left the store without anything because the one I liked wasn't the right color.

Half a block away, a light bulb went on in my head... I could paint it to match the mirror I refinished last month! For $2, I got this:

Not only did I support Habitat for Humanity, I reduced waste and use of resources by purchasing something second-hand. I also saved myself about $16, if not more. Since the piece that actually holds the TP is plastic, I'm going to switch it out with the metal one on my other holder.

The metal border was a bit corroded. So I set to work... First, I disassembled and cleaned everything. I primered and painted everything. The decorative border looked great!


Like a dummy, I used the power drill to try and screw the plastic piece back on to the border. Just a TAD too strong because the entire thing flipped out of my hands and hit the kitchen floor. I imagine there was a mixture of horror and outright disbelief at what laid in PIECES. Yup, the plastic part shattered!

So much for my matching TP holder. I'm hoping one day to find another plastic part, or an entire holder like it that isn't too expensive.

Congratulations to Glenda in MT for guessing correctly!

Other winners of previous What Is This contests:
• Patty Smith in Canada
• Anita Sorrells in Illinois
• Cindy Smith in Illinois

Apr 18, 2008

Pork Steak Dinner

This was a fly-by-the-seat of my pants dinner. Since Sherry asked for the recipe, I thought I’d share with everyone what I did.

Pork Steak
I’d rather cook my pork steaks on the grill than on the stove. But since weather has been iffy lately and I had a craving for pork steak, I did it in a pan.

All I did was put a little olive oil in a frying pan, seasoned the pork steak on both sides with seasoning. Each time, I grab something different. Time I used a combo made for chicken and pork. It has pepper, mustard seed, red & green bell pepper pieces, onion, sea salt & garlic in it. I cooked it on medium heat around 7-10 minutes on each side, turning once. I don’t like to cook it too long, otherwise it gets dry. (Yes, I know pork has to be cooked really well.) If it’s a little pink after that time, I’ll put it in the microwave for a minute or so. Through trial and error, I’ve found this way it doesn’t get dry and tough.

Basil Carrots
Peel, cut up and put in a glass bowl with a tiny bit of water. Sprinkle with basil. Sometimes, I add a couple of pats of butter/margarine (I was out this time). Cover with plastic wrap, leaving a small opening for steam venting. Microwave about 5 minutes. I’m careful not to microwave my vegetables too long because I like don’t like them mushy and they tend to lose flavor if cooked too long. Sometimes, I’ll do the carrots in a frying pan on the stove with olive oil and/or butter, throwing in garlic and fresh spinach. Yum!

Carmelized Onions
I used the same pan I cooked the steak in (no need to wash it, first). I peeled and sliced up 3 small onions and sautéed them with a little olive oil until they were softened but not overcooked. This is my preference, some people like them really soft.

The entire meal didn’t take long and it was easy.

Upon closing this post, I'm going to show what my spice cabinet looks like:

You Know It's Bad When...

... the nurse walks into your father's recovery room and cheerily says: "I remember you. Haven't you been here enough?"

Yes... 'nother trip to the VA Hospital yesterday. He had a procedure done called a cardiac ablation.

I had to get up by 4am and be at my parents' house by 5am in order to get him to the hospital by 7am. The procedure was done by 11:30 and the doctor thinks it was successful to take care of one particular arythmia. Because my Dad's heart is enlarged due to high blood pressure and cardiac disease, there's a good possibility that he could develop other arythmias that won't be "curable". We were able to leave the hospital by 4pm, and I was home by 6:30pm.

I was glad that my Dad was in a good mood before and after the surgery. It's not a fun ride when he's grumpy.

Talk about one LONGGGG day!

Life Lessons

Lessons in Life By Regina Brett upon turning 50:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no or an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone, everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don't ask, you don't get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

A Little Rumbly

Bed shaking... Did someone put a quarter in the vibrating bed again? Oh wait... The house is shaking, too. Sleepily, I wondered: What in the world was that? I thought it was the wind, but yet it didn't sound like a normal wind. Just vibrations and then.... nothing. When I turned on the news this morning, I found out there had been an EARTHQUAKE near West Salem, IL at 4:37am. That's 338 miles southeast of where I am! Apparently, vibrations have been felt in IN, MO, WI, MI, KY, AR, and IL.

It has been rated 5.4 on the Richter Magnitude Scale, which is a moderate earthquake that can cause major damage to poorly constructed buildings over small regions, and possibly slight damage to well-designed buildings. Approximately 800 earthquakes of this magnitude occur per year.

For anyone concerned, I am OK and we've suffered no damage where I am at.

Apr 16, 2008

Pretties & Yummies

All of the buds on my amaryllis bulb have finally opened and I just had to share! I've had this bulb for 3 years now and each year it blooms more than the previous.

Isn't it pretty?

Lastly, here's another yummy dinner I made. Pork steak, steamed carrots with basil, and carmelized onions. Mmmmm!

Apr 14, 2008

Jingles the Penguin WIP

Thanks to all of you who gave me suggestions on my Wisper floss dilemma. I decided to leave the floss as is and continue on. I worked a bit more on "brushing" it and it doesn't look quite so matted. I think it'll turn out the way it's supposed to. The design came from the 2007 JCS Ornament issue and was created by The Stitchworks. I am stitching Jingles on 22ct mauve aida with DMC and Rainbow Gallery Wisper floss. After 4.75 hours, this is what it looks like:

Now I just have to come up with a tiny little round bell (5mm or smaller). Anyone have one laying around?

Apr 12, 2008

What Is This? 4/12/08

I was very excited to find this. It will come in handy! Take a guess... leave me a comment... Your answer has to be specific as to what it is and what it's used for.

Whoever guesses correctly, will win something from my stash. This contest will be open until 4/19. If you're signing in as "anonymous", please be sure to leave your name and email addy so I can contact you if you're the winner. Multiple guesses with the correct answer will be put in a "hat" and one name will be chosen as a winner. Good luck!

Oh-Me Oh-My

One day last week, I had to deliver something to a client. I noticed one of the gas stations was 11cents cheaper than all the rest on the same street. Needless to say, it was a busy station! Since I needed to get gas, I figured I'd stop on the way back to the office. It was less than 5 minutes to the client's office and the gas station. By the time I got back, the price had changed to match all the other stations on the street!! Go figure.

Here's a couple of neat sites to keep tabs on gas prices:

Gas Price Watch
Gas Buddy

Apr 10, 2008

The Results Are In

My Get Fit final screening appointment was last night.

3... 2... 1... !!!

As I've indicated before, my weight hadn't been changing so it came as no surprise when I weighed in at 2/10 of a pound less than when I started the program in January. What DID come as a surprise was the change in my body fat percentage. I went down almost 8%!! Even though my cholesterol was good to begin with, it went down 6%! My BMI stayed the same. Even though I am "overweight" according to the height/weight charts, the nurse said she's happy with where I'm at.

Overall, I am very pleased with my results. Now if only I can maintain the routine!

In May, my employer is offering a similar health screening so I'm looking forward to seeing if anything has improved/changed.

(Nancy, HOW are you doing with the exercise? Hint. Hint. LOL)

Apr 9, 2008

Wisper'ing Is Tough

I started my Christmas ornie for April, which calls for fuzzy stuff on part of the scarf and the hat. I'm using Wisper Floss by by Rainbow Gallery. I've been using one strand over-one on 22ct aida. Here's what it looks like after I "brushed it" up with a toothbrush:

Is that how it should look? Maybe it's just me, but I think it looks a bit cramped and I'm not sure what to do about it. I'm not even sure I'm using the floss correctly. I did the full X, is that right? Or, should I be doing only the half "/"?

I'm debating whether to frog it, or leave it and see how it goes... Any ideas would be appreciated.

Apr 7, 2008

Get Fit Challenge

My faithful readers know that I've been participating in The Get Fit Challenge sponsored by the local hospital and health clubs. It's a 12-week program that started in January and the purpose is to make life changes while trying to get fit.

At the beginning of the challenge, participants are required to go through a health screening that included blood pressure, total cholesterol, weight and body composition. Throughout the 12 weeks, points are accumulated for exercising, eating five servings of fruits/vegetables per day and drinking 32 oz. of water each day. We were required to log our progress each week on the Get Fit website. At the end of the 12 weeks, participants attend a final health screen.

Last week was the final week of the challenge. I have my final screening on Wed. I am really curious to know how my numbers changed.

I tried a new aerobics tape on Saturday. It was step aerobics. I got a kick out of the tape because it's an 80's Jane Fonda video. It was one of the tapes I got from Freecycle a while back. I also got one of those aerobic "steps". I'd been looking at them in the store for quite a while. Couldn't believe it when someone posted one on Freecycle! Admittedly, it was a bit dirty when I got it, but I didn't have a problem cleaning it up. It looks great now and I saved $30! The day after I did the workout, I was SO sore. (I guess that means it did the job, right?)

Nancy... I'm keeping YOU accountable. ;-) You want to win that bet, don't you?

Mime 4/7/08

Yesterday, I spent a couple hours working on Mime.
Other WIP pics can be seen HERE.

Apr 4, 2008

Trip to the DDS

It’s been over a year since I’ve been to the dentist. The hygienist called me sometime last Fall, but I was in the middle of Q/E stuff at work, moving, surgery, then the holidays, the Y/E stuff at work. Time just got away from me! “You look so thin! Have you lost weight?” was the first thing she said to me. I’d forgotten what it’s like for someone to notice I’d lost weight. The thrill was short lived after she proceeded to photograph the tarter build-up on the inside bottom teeth. Yes, I knew it was there. I saw it in the mirror one day and that’s what prompted me to see when the last time I was at the dentist. I freaked that it’d been over a year. Yowsa! When the hygienist was done, I had squeaky clean teeth once again. I was shown the before and after photos. She said the brushing and flossing saved me from getting gingivitis. So now I’m skinny (lol) and I have no gingivitis. What more can I ask for?

Quakers Rule

Hey, I thought I ruled! ;-)

And Nancy, before you say *something* about Mime... LOL... I HAVE been working on it! Here’s the lasted latest project I’ve started. It’s called Quakers Rule.

I was a little intimidated at the thought of stitching on 40ct linen even though it’s over-two. Once I got started, it really isn’t so bad. The stitches are so tiny and dainty. I’m using a combination of DMC and Olde Willow floss. Here’s what it looks like after one hour:

It's a RAK!

And it covers half my dining room table!

Terri in NY was kind enough to send me a bunch of aida that I can use to teach my nieces how to stitch. She had said there was a lot, but I was still surprised when a good sized box arrived. I had picked up my mail on the way from the dentist to work and quickly opened the box to see what was in there. I saw aida and didn’t think much of it since I knew Terri was sending it. Imagine my surprise when I received a response from my “Thank you” email that said: “I hope the kits were OK to send.” What? What kits? She had put them in the bottom of the box under the fabric and I didn’t even know they were there. Hopefully, the nieces will “get hooked” on stitching! Again… Thank you Terri, for your generous gifts!

Taking Stock

The past few weeks have been trying times for me. However, when I look at the bigger picture of the world and my life in general, it’s not so bad. Like most, the overall economy is affecting my life. It hit me the other day what it’s like to have to decide whether to get gas, groceries, or pay certain bills because the funds just weren’t there. It’s been at least 2 decades since I’ve had to do that. Luckily, I’m pretty frugal and I consistently find ways to stretch my dollars.

“Today is going to be a great day!” Years ago, I attended a Women of Excellence Dinner that benefits domestic violence in my county. There was a motivational speaker who talked about attitudes. She said there are basically two types of people:

• those who go through life playing the victim. They carry around negativity. It’s always someone else’s fault, and don’t take responsibility for changing their life for the better.

• those who walk through life, deal with the punches, and take each as a learning experience. They try to see the brighter side when times are difficult.

Which group do I fit into? I’d say the latter. I’ve ALWAYS looked back as life trials as a learning experience. Where I picked that up from, I don’t know. I’ve never been one to go through life playing the victim. I think more along the lines of “That’s life. Deal with it. Move on.” LOL, pretty blunt I guess but that’s how I am.

The speaker said one of the things that helped her start the day off with a positive spin was to tell herself “Today is going to be a great day!” Yes, I know it sounds hokey. I’ve tried it, though, and it’s amazing how it affects my attitude for the rest of the day. Before I even open my eyes each day, I will mentally tell myself several times: “Today is going to be a great day!” Trust me, some days it isn’t easy. But!

Isn’t it much better than dragging yourself out of bed thinking: “My gawd, another day of… (kids, work, spouse, etc), I’d better get up." Which one do you think would start your day off right?

On a regular basis, I remind myself just how blessed I am. I make a conscious effort to list out (in my mind) things I am grateful for. Why? Because it affirms the good things that are going on in my life. I don’t really like sitting around feeling sorry for myself – and trust me, there are things! I’d rather concentrate on what good things I have going on. Just what am I grateful for:

• I have a cute little home that I bought all on my own.
• I have a car to get me where I need/want to go.
• I have a job.
• I have food to eat, clothes to wear.
• I have relatively good health.
• I am able to enjoy the sights and sounds of each and every day.
• I am able to find enjoyment in the simplest things.
• I have been able to acquire lots of stash to keep me busy.
• I have friends and family who have brought me laughter and joy.
• I have been able to “make a difference” in the lives of strangers.

These are just the ones that came off the top of my head. I usually think about what I am grateful for when I’m in the shower. Good time to think!

What are you grateful for?

Umbrella? Rake? Snow Shovel?

I’m becoming bewildered at what season it is! We’ve had some c-r-a-z-y weather! Monday, it POURED down rain -- we received almost an inch of the wet stuff. Tuesday it was nice. Wednesday was so nice that I sat on my front step to each my lunch. Thursday morning, the sun was shining. I took advantage of the nice weather to rake the sand from the little piece of grassy area between the curb and the sidewalk. Residuals from winter. Nice...not! Thursday afternoon, it poured down rain again. I was pretty damp by the time I walked from the parking lot to the computer lab for class. As I was pulling into my drive after class, it started SNOWING! Coworkers told me that their yards were white. Luckily, it didn’t stick around at my house. This weekend it’s supposed to be 60F and “shorts weather” the forecasters are telling us. Crazy, indeed!

Apr 3, 2008

Just The Essentials

What items do you consider essential to your needlework that you keep in your stitching bag?

"Essential" is such a personal and relative term, don't you think? In reality, the “essentials” are needle, floss, scissors, fabric, and chart. But, we all have items we *think* we need.

I have much, much more in my stitching bag. I actually have two “bags”. One is a messenger bag that I hardly take anywhere. I bought it for like $3 at the local Goodwill store several years ago.

I love the red lining on the inside. I has several compartments and pockets, which makes it useful for stitch stuff. I think it used to be an Amway bag. It stores my UFO’s, my floss containers, one of those fabric count rulers, and my little bag of gadgets that I might need. I bought this little clear bag at Walmart for $2.

It’s actually a cosmetic bag and it’s very sturdy. Great for stitchy gadgets! As you can see, I keep a lot of stuff in it...

The messenger bag sits on the floor by my sofa so at anytime I can grab it and go, or dig through and get what I need.

My other “bag” is a plastic expandable folder with a ziploc across the top. It’s supposed to be used to store papers, and I got it at Walmart for $2. I use this one quite often when I’m on the go... like all the trips I’ve made to the hospital for my Dad. I keep several smaller projects in it, along with my scissors on a fob and a needlebook. It’s kinda cheaply made and at the bottom where it expands has “air pockets”? where small things could fall out. I tried to find ones that didn’t have those openings, but no luck.

Apr 2, 2008

Taco Skillet

I tried another new recipe tonight. Taco Skillet. It was really easy and really fast. What do you think?

Kinda looks like Hamburger Helper...LOL (but without all the preservatives) Sorry about the messy stove. What can I say... I'm a messy cook.

Taco Skillet
1 lb. ground beef, browned & drained
1 onion, chopped fine
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
1/3 c. water
1 c. salsa
1 c. frozen corn, no need to thaw
6 flour tortillas, cut into 1" pieces
2 c. Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, divided

Reserve 1/2 cheese for topping. Mix everything else in your skillet. Cover and cook 10 minutes. Stir again and top with cheese. Cover and cook 2 minutes, or until cheese melts.

Easy Peasy! Rarely do I make anything that's "involved". Fast, easy, and tasty. That's my motto!

Now that I read over the recipe more carefully, I see I screwed up. LOL I didn't mix in half the cheese, I just put it all on top. And oops.. I forgot to add the water.

Here's what else I did: I used ground turkey instead of beef and added chorizo (because I had it on hand). I roughly chopped the onion. Kitchen shears work well for cutting up the tortillas. No need to be neat, you can't tell when it's all mixed together. I also added dried "green stuff" oO(What's the name of it?). Oh yes... Cilantro!

It makes a lot. I'll be eating Taco Skillet for the rest of the week. Anyone care to join me?

Apr 1, 2008


I'm a happy camper tonight! Much to my surprise, I received 93% on my 2nd B-Law II test!

Our tests are handed back in two parts: the scantron sheet and then the written exam. I was thrilled to see that I only missed 4 questions on the multiple choice scantron. In looking over the questions, I saw they were ones I'd had problems with... I circled the problem children when I took the test. Turns out the instructor's key was wrong on one question, so I actually only missed 3 MC!

The instructor handed back all the written exams except for mine. Finally, I got his attention and asked if he had mine up there at his desk. He did, he just "forgot" to hand it back. oO(Alrighty then!) I knew I'd missed at least 1 definition. Turned out that I missed 2. I missed one essay question... big fat ZERO on that one. I really thought I missed more on the essays, seeing as I BS'd my way through a few of the questions.

So that brings my overall grade to a B!

Happy - Happy - Happy! :D

When It Rains... It Pours


I could say: "April Showers", but alas we received POURING rain yesterday. Before I go on with my tale of woe, I just want to say that I really feel like I've been whining and complaining too much lately! Do I have some dark cloud over my head that all these "issues" keep happening? I hope not!

Bring on the "May Flowers"! (please)

*slosh, slosh, slosh*

I look down at the passenger side floor of my car as I'm pulling out of the parking lot at lunch time. What the?!?

OMG! I stop and throw the car into park and lift the recessed toilet paper holder -- still in the bag and full of water, waiting to be returned to the store -- out of a 1.5" puddle of water sitting on the floor.

I watch in disbelief as water streams from the box as I say a quick prayer to the customer service gods that it will dry well enough so that it’s still returnable.

I do a quick check to see if the drivers side floor is wet, or any other part of the car for that matter. The rest is good.

After I got home, I hoisted the shop vac up the basement stairs with its hose thrown over my shoulder. Keep in mind, I *AM* in my good work clothes. (Another quick prayer that I don’t get too dirty that I’ll have to change.)

Thoughts often run through my head about what my neighbors think about the various things I end up doing on my lunch hour. LOL

Whoever came up with the shop vac idea is a genius. That thing has saved me on more than one occasion. By the time I finished sucking all the water out of the car, it was time to go back to work. On the way back, I thought I’d turn on the heat and try to dry to carpet.

ACK! In comes more water!! Instead of going back to work, I made a beeline to the mechanic downtown... the one who just replaced my serpentine belt. Bit O Trivia: His godfather is Dustin Hoffman. He set me up for an appointment today to figure out why all that water came in.

Prognosis: There’s a cowl/weather guard that directs water (when it comes down the windshield) away from the car. Did I mention we had a MAJOR downpour yesterday morning? Apparently, the factory adhesive came loose allowing water to go into the blower then into the car. (Which would probably explain why more water came in after I turned on the fan!)

“Do you want me to fix it?” he asks.

Hello? Of course I want it fixed! (I didn’t say that to him, though. LOL)

After I paid the bill, I told the lady at the desk that I hoped this would be the last trip down there for a while. She’s not very friendly. :(

Here's an aside: The mechanic told me that they had 7 cars towed into the shop yesterday. It rained so hard that the tanks at the Philips 66 got water into them (How? I have no idea!). So anyone who pumped gas into their car... Guess what? Water in the the gas tank. People drove a few blocks before their cars died and had to be towed. Can you say UNHAPPY CAMPERS? I'm grateful I wasn't one of them. In retrospect, maybe the water on the floor wasn't so bad.

*doing the hand weighing thing* Water on the Floor, Water in the Tank, Water on the Floor, Water in the Tank. Yep. Water on the floor isn't so bad.

I think I need a vacation...