Jan 26, 2009

Marvelous Monday Update 1/26/09

Absolutely Fabulous
Or at least Rene thinks so! She gave me the great honor of this award. Thanks, Rene!

I am supposed to list 5 of my addictions and name 5 bloggers who I think are "Fabby". So here are my 5 addictions, and not necessarily in this order:

1. Quest for Learning
2. Photography
3. Stitching
4. Enjoying Nature
5. Technology

My nominations are:

Stitchy Stuff
It was a great stitchy mail week! I was the high bidder on a lot of Red Thread Snappers charts by Bent Creek. I tried to be good... but I couldn't pass them up at less than $2 a piece including shipping.

Ocean Voyage
Road Trip

Sadie from Scotland RAK'd me. She sent me the June issue of the UK magazine, Cross Stitcher. She knows I like asian/oriental designs and thought I'd like this. Isn't it great?!

And then... Virpi in Finland RAK'd me! Look at the pretty envelope it came in:

In the envelope were two Dimensions kits. :)

In Harmony

Stallions At Dusk

A big THANK YOU to Sadie and Virpi! :)

Lastly, Isabella's Garden arrived! I mentioned her in last week's Marvelous Monday post.

(LOL) No, this is not a stitchy giveaway. I know some of you are trying to get in shape, as am I. I recently got Jeff Costa's Workout #1 DVD and it has the Sexy Abs workout on it, in addition to the main workout. Soooo.. I'm offering my Sexy Abs -VHS- tape up for grabs. Here's the exerpt from his website:

"Sexy Abs gets you off the floor and in control, with a revolutionary 15 minute standing abdominal program that can be done anywhere! Buckle up for a tighter, flatter, sexier midsection with Jeff's signature abdominal workout!"

I'll add that I read reviews on Jeff Costa's workouts and they all were very good. I've used this tape many times and believe it or not, I worked up a sweat in the 15 minute time span. I have neck problems which make it difficult for my to do normal floor ab workouts. Another reason why I like this workout. Oh, and in case you're wondering... There are no striptease moves on this tape. LOL!

If you're interested in this, leave a comment along with an email address to get hold of you. If more than one person is interested I'll draw a name.

Jan 25, 2009

It's MY....

...B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y !!!

Or, rather it WAS my birthday on Saturday! What a great day it was. I didn't get any cake or balloons, but it was a great day nonetheless!

I woke up and the sun was shining! It's always a great day when the sun shines. :D I met C for breakfast and then we hung out together until early afternoon. Then, I came home and took a nap. Throughout the day, I received e-cards and and birthday wishes from my online friends (Thanks everyone!!) and text messages from my family. For dinner, my parents then took me out to eat at Applebee's, where I got my Dad to try guacamole. He didn't like it, LOL!

And guess what?? I share a birthday with my good friend, CJ! Happy Birthday, CJ :)

Yup, was a good day!

Jan 22, 2009

Tips for a Better Life in 2009

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.

3. Buy a DVR and tape your late night shows and get more sleep.

4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, 'My purpose is to __________ today.'

5. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.

6. Play more games and read more books than you did in 2008.

7. Make time to practice meditation and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.

8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.

9. Dream more while you are awake.

10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured IN plants.

11. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds, & walnuts.

12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

13. Clear clutter from your house, your car, your desk, and let new and flowing energy into your life.

14. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, or issues of the past, negative thoughts, or things you cannot control. Instead, invest your energy in the positive present moment.

15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class, but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

17. Smile and laugh more. It will keep the NEGATIVE BLUES away.

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

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

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

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

22. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

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

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

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

26. Forgive everyone for everything.

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

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

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

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

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

33. The best is yet to come.

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

35. Do the right thing!

36. Call your family often. (Or e-mail them to death!)

37. Each night before you go to bed, complete the following statements: I am thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.

38. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

39. Enjoy the ride. Remember this is not Disney World and you certainly don't want a fast pass. You only have one ride through life, so make the most of it and enjoy the ride.

40. Share this with those you care about. May your troubles be less.

Jan 19, 2009

2009 Bookmark Challenge

Nordic Needle is sponsoring Needle and Thread: Stitching for Literacy March 19 to May 7, 2009. In 2008, NN was overwhelmed by the generosity of stitchers. Over 450 bookmarks were donated to the Stitching for Literacy project. Techniques included cross stitch, hardanger, embroidery on paper, blackwork, canvas work, needlepoint, pulled and drawn thread, bobbin lace, tatting, crochet, knitting, machine embroidery, peyote beading, Bargello, Schwalm, and crewel embroidery. There were bookmarks from at least 29 states and 6 countries.

To participate, send Nordic Needle your bookmark(s) by May 7, 2009, and they will be displayed with your name, city and state (or country) in the store. After the challenge ends, a drawing will be held and the winner of the drawing will receive a $100 gift certificate to Nordic Needle! The more bookmarks you send, the more times your name is entered into the drawing and the better chance you have to win!

To find patterns and ideas, go to the NN website and type in "BOOKMARK" in the SEARCH box. As you clean and sort your stash, you probably have scraps of fabric and thread suitable to make bookmarks. But if you don't, NN has a Bookmark Grab Bag.

Bookmark Grab Bag (GBBK) $5.00 value on sale for $1.79
Get four bookmark patterns with 2 skeins of thread for only $1.25 (990-592-0021)

Also, there are lots of free bookmark charts on the web -or- you could make your own out of small motifs of any chart you have. Here's some links I've found:

www.allfreecrafts.com - You can do a search for cross stitch bookmarks, or bookmarks to find more

http://www.angelfire.com/on2/xstitch/collection.html - easy, kids








www.cyberstitchers.com - use the search feature at the bottom of the screen


http://www.twdesignworks.com - Knotwork; Renaissance

I'm not affiliated with NN in anyway, however I do believe literacy is an important skill, and reading should be encouraged. For most of us, being able to read is something we take for granted. I was an adult literacy volunteer, and experienced first hand how important it is to the literacy students being able to learn how to read, or improve their reading skills.

Marvelous Monday Update 1/19/09

HOLY COW has it been cold!!! Thursday, I woke up to -13F actual temps with -35F windchill factors. On Friday, morning temp was -24F (Who knows what the windchill factor was!). By the time I left for work, the temp dropped 2 more degrees to -26F... a record for these parts! There's definitely something wrong when the temp in

• Anchorage, AK is 43F
• North Pole is -8F
• South Pole is -18F

and we are -24F!!! The hairs in the nose freeze! Lucky for me I didn't have a runny nose, otherwise I would've ended up like the scene in Dumb and Dumber! Incidentally, when you do a search for "frozen snot" on Google, there are some really digusting photographs. (LOL... Ewww!)

Oh, and for you who've been following the Illinois govenor scandal... It was so cold outside that the governor has his hand in his own pocket.

By Sunday, temps did a 50 degree swing and was around 23F. How 'bout that?!

C had the day off on Monday so he asked me out to lunch. However, his furnace had other plans! He woke up to a cold house, and by the time the furnace guy got there it was too late to go to lunch. Bad timing with other things he had going on in the afternoon, too. *sigh* It's OK, though. I told him he had to make it up to me, LOL! Unfortunately, he's out of town for 3 weeks for work. We're gonna try again on Friday.

I know how ya'll love to hear about the 'others' that keep hanging on, so here's an update:

• XBF4 (Ex-BF from 4 years ago) -- Texted me on Monday: "I really do miss you" (Ugh)
Bro Setup (from last year, the one who hooked me up with the snowblower) -- Casually dropped that he's 'seeing someone' (Great!)
• S (Ex-BF from over a year ago) -- Still texts me for whatever reasons he thinks of at the time, and keeps asking if I want to go out (Noooo). I made the mistake of asking him the name of a restaurant he took me to, and he jumped all over that as an opportunity to exchange info for a date. (I think NOT!)

Oh, and the date (who went *poof*) I had before I met C ... Funny thing is: The website did a match-up of our profiles last week. LOL

Stitchy Stuff
Absolutely NO stitching done last week. However, Shelley asked about Floss Storage, so I thought I'd put my answer here. I wind my floss on bobbins... probably because that's what I learned to do *many* years ago and it's served me well. Up until last year, I stored my complete set of DMC floss in the large bobbin cases like THIS. I was lucky to get a Jammers case from a freecycler and moved my bobbins into the double sided case normally used for 1:64 scale die cast cars.

Since the entire DMC set doesn't fit into one Jammers box, I put the remainder into a large bobbin box. When I pull floss for project(s), I put them all into the smaller yellow bobbin box. That way I know at a glance if the color I'm looking for isn't in the yellow case, it's in the Jammer case. I really wish I could find another Jammer case!

For duplicates, I store them in skeins in large ziploc bags sorted into 100's. I'm downsizing my floss dup's in my FSOT blog.

I was trying to be good, REALLY! I found Isabella's Garden and the Copper Penny linen on sale for 60% off and couldn't resist. I think I'm gonna blame it on Shari... LOL... She showed her finish a while back and I thought it was so adorable.

Wouldn't you just know that on the FIRST night of class, we get hit with a wicked snowfall. The streets were ugly, but class wasn't called off. This should be an interesting class.... Business Information Systems. Basically, it's about all the sytems and procedures used to run businesses. The instructor is an IT manager at Newell-Rubbermaid. Class is supposed to run from 5:30-10:30pm, but he said he'd try to get us out around 9:30pm seeing as that's about the time people start losing focus. (LOL!) Much to my surprise, I actually participated in class discussion! On the first night of class, even. How about that?!? This is another *involved* class where there will be a test EVERY week, plus homework assignments, textbook reading, -and- a class project due at the end of the 8-week semester. Ack.

What Else?
You've heard about the rubber shrapnel under the hood, and the case of the fallen pulley. Then the sequel. Oh, I know...

My BFF called me Thursday morning to tell me she totaled her vehicle on the way to work. She hit a patch of ice and that's all she wrote. Ended up rolling her SUV and slamming into a snow bank on the highway. Luckily, she wasn't hurt -- Just shaken and scared. When the vehicle came to a stop, she was hanging upside down in her seat belt and couldn't get any of the doors or windows open. The police or EMT's (don't know which) ended up getting her out through the back hatch of the SUV. Believe it or not, she actually went to work after that! Silly girl. I am SO glad she's OK.

In The Doghouse
All men *need* to watch and take notes! --> Beware of the Doghouse

Jan 16, 2009

Case of the Flying Shrapnel & Fallen Pulley

Turns out I don't have to borrow my Dad's car. I received a call from the shop owner around 4pm. In addition to replacing the pulley that melted and then fell off the car, he suggested replacing the tensioner pulley -and- the serpentine belt. Yup, the one I had replaced last year! Because the faulty pulley ate it's way into the belt, hence the rubber shrapnel all over the battery, and the belt getting very hot... shop owner is afraid the belt might break. If THAT happens, it's not pretty! I actually had it happen once.

With an hour's labor, towing, and parts... the total was *drum roll please* $220 AND it'll be done by 5pm today! Only $220!! I was thinking it'd be more like $800-1000 to fix.

Now I can make it to my hair appointment tomorrow morning! Gotta have priorities!

Be Careful What You Think About!!!

Prologue: Meari braves the cold weather on her lunch hour to go to the post office and then get the oil changed in her car. Following is her first hand account of what happened over the course of an hour:

As I went to leave the post office on Friday, my car acted a little funny when I started it. Since the weather was SO cold, I thought it had something to do with it. My mind wandered over my various financial situations and I thought to myself: “Nothing major has happened to my car lately, I wonder when the next thing will be?” I continued on my merry way to the oil/lube place to get my oil changed.

Cute Lube Guy: “Do you know something is chewing up your belt?”

Me: “Uh, no.”

He showed me belt shrapnel all over my battery, pointed out a shiny thing down in the motor, and showed me how loose the serpentine belt was. (Yeah, the same belt I had replaced last year!) While this was going on, we heard something fall in the engine. A plastic pulley melted and fell off the side of the supercharger (Not good!).

CLG: “You’re lucky you stopped in when you did.”

Me: “Yeah, no kidding. Can I drive it to my shop downtown?”

CLG: “I wouldn’t recommend you drive it anywhere.”

Me: (thinking to myself) “Crap!”

CLG: “Do you still want us to do the oil change?”

Me: “Yeah, you’ve already got it in there, you may as well.”

I called the shop and they said to have it towed down there. Me, not ever having had to call a tow truck, came across as soooo ignorant and actually asked him what I should say to the towing company. LOL

I then called the towing company. Meanwhile the shop called back.

Mechanic Dude: “How soon do you need your car?”

Me: (thinking -- Oh, this is not sounding good.) “As soon as possible. It’s my only vehicle.”

MD: “Well, we can’t get to it until Monday. We’re open tomorrow and might be able to look at it but we’re only open 4 hours and already have 5 cars ahead of yours.”

Me: “I guess if that’s the soonest, that’s what it’ll have to be.”

Then I called my coworker to come pick me up. Oh, btw, there are *some* good Samaritans out there. The guy who was having his oil changed in the next bay offered to give me a ride to wherever I wanted to go.

CLG: “That’ll be $47.02”

Me: (laughing) “That’s one expensive oil change.... “ (Referring of course, to the additional repairs required)

My coworker came and picked me up, and after I explained what happened, she asked: “Do you have towing insurance?”’

Me: “Heck if I know. I’ve never had to call a tow truck.”

When we got back to the office, I called my insurance company. Guess what? I have towing coverage!!

One bright spot... and here I thought it was going to be the fact the sun was shining... in my otherwise pitiful lunch hour.

Epilogue: Meari catches a ride home with her coworker, and will spend an entire weekend stranded at home until Sunday. That’s when her Dad agreed to lend her his car for Monday.

Jan 12, 2009

Marvelous Monday Update 1/12/09

I know I haven't said this lately... But, aren't Mondays just mahhhvelous??! *cough cough* Now that I've gotten that out of the way, on with the show!

Just so you know.... Since I had no takers... none... nadda... zip... for cleaning my bathroom, I did it myself! LOL, it *really* wasn't that bad. Mostly dust and paint chips from sanding.

Over the weekend, we got ANOTHER 8-10" of snow. Snowblower. Best investment a girl could make if she has a freakin' long driveway (Whatever possessed her? LOL) Roads were nasty messy, and I almost had a pickup truck fishtail his back end right into my front end (He was coming from the opposite direction). I saw a car balancing precariously on a guard rail, on the wrong side of the guard rail no less. I can't even imagine how it got that way or what that person must've felt when the car came to a skidding stop on top. Talk about scary! Is it spring yet???

I had some potatoes I wanted to use up, so I searched online for a recipe for an entree. I looked at several recipes for Shepherd's Pie and decided I could make my own version. What a hearty dish!

I seasoned and browned ground turkey. Added minced garlic and chopped onion. Then added frozen mixed vegetables (peas, broccoli, red pepper, corn). Added a bit of gravy seasoning and drizzled with a bit of catsup. While the meat/vegetable mixture cooked in a frying pan, I made mashed potatoes with some butter, sour cream, salt and pepper. I put the meat mixture in the bottom of a 9x13 oven-safe pan. On top of that, I spread the mashed potatoes. Baked for 20 minutes at 375F, and then turned on the broiler for about 3 minutes to brown the top. Basically, I winged it based on several different recipes I read, and used ingredients I had on hand. If I had shredded cheddar cheese, I would've topped it with that right before broiling. It turned out pretty darn good!

Stitchy Stuff
I had my first 2009 finish on Sunday! At Christmas, Lynn in TX sent me a card along with a skein of DMC Color Variations floss and the chart.

Time: 4 hours
Fabric: 14ct white aida
Fiber: DMC Color Variations 4235

Edited: Linda thinks she printed the snowflake chart from The Floss Box. There's an entire snowflake series there!

Jan 6, 2009

Finally Finished!

After 4 days of sanding, primering, and painting... The bathroom cabinets and trim are done!

This isn't the bathroom door, but it *is* what the trim looked like before I painted. Whoever stained the hardwood floors, got stain on ALL the door trim.... and it looks horrible.

This is just one small glimpse of the gold and yellow "polka-dots" I mentioned in my last post. Just imagine these all around the perimeter of the door. Lovely, isn't it?

These are the hinges I set out to replace. Nasty!

Here are some "after" shots:

Now all I need to do is clean the bathroom and I'm good to go!! Anyone want to clean my bathroom???

Jan 5, 2009

Marvelous Monday Update 1/5/09

OK, OK... Since both Nancy and Chiloe are chomping at the bit for some news on my latest dating adventure, here goes:

Due to the holidays and weather, it'd been about three weeks since C and I had our second date. 3 weeks! In all that time, he texted and/or called almost every day. That impressed me since most men would've lost interest early on.

Finally we had our 3rd date. Both of us were looking forward to it. :) He invited me out to dinner on New Year's Eve... to a restaurant he'd gotten a gift certificate at Christmas. It was an awesome restaurant located in a small mall and you'd never guess it was as nice as it was from the outside. The food was a bit pricey (IMO) and definitely not big portions, if you're a hearty eater like C is. Poor guy was still hungry afterwards! Reminded me of the mastercard "priceless" commercial where the couple waited weeks to get into a swanky restaurant only to find elf-sized portions and then went to a convenience mart afterwards! LOL OK, our food wasn't elf-sized... but when he said he was still hungry, that commercial popped into my head. Me? I had plenty to eat, and couldn't finish it all. Conversation was light and fun... although, I think the guy is addicted to football. Is there a 12-step program? ;-)

Again, he opened car and restaurant doors for me and offered assistance when I was trying to walk through the snow (in heels!). I had a conversation with my BFF and she told me she's offended when men do this for her. She will actually tell them: "I can get the door myself, thank you!" Personally, I see it as gentlemanly and I LOVE it. How about you ladies out there? Do you get offended, or do you like it?

I made it an early night because we both worked that day. He worked 10 hours I think, and had plans to work the next day. Neither of us made it to midnight, LOL. I do find it curiously odd that he hasn't asked my last name. What do ya'll think?

I've come to the conclusion after the 3rd date that he's lost interest. Why do I think that? He went from calling and texting practically every day to not. Add to it, he said he would call on two different occassions and didn't.

Here's another question my BFF and I have pondered: Why do the ones we like disappear, and the ones we want to go away hang on like a bad disease?

Stitchy Stuff
Amazed. Flattered. Proud. Surprised. Yeah, I'm all of those things whenever someone makes a random posting and I find out that my "stuff" is being featured on websites I'd never heard of. I recently found out that my tutorials are being featured on the Designers Forum! How cool is that??

I put in a few hours of stitching on JG (Hey Nancy, are you listening?!). Right now I'm working on one of four stork motifs that are stitched over-one. Talk about tedious!! I even took some pics of my progress. My last update, it looked like THIS. Here's what it looks like now, after 122½ hours:

This is the last week of my free-wheeling vacation from school. Classes start back up next week. :( It was fun while it lasted, though!

Present For Me!

Since I have no SO in my life, I bought myself a Christmas/early Birthday present. :) It's a 320GB Western Digital My Passport (gloss cobalt blue) portable hard drive. I'm going to use it to backup my files (mostly photos), organize them, and then burn them to CD's or DVD's.

This thing is so tiny, it's amazing... It fits into a pocket!
Height: 6/10"
Length: 5"
Width: 3"
Weight: less than 1/2 lb.

Very sleek and it contains data encryption software. :D Can you tell I'm a techno geek, as well?

More Bathroom "Stuff"
With a heading like that, I bet you're wondering: "What's she going to talk about now?!" LOL What started out as a simple task, turned into SO much more. I decided to re-caulk the shower surround and tub on Friday night. Then I decided since I was already caulking, I might as well remove the old, nasty stuff on the outside of the tub by the linoleum on the floor. Suffice to say that whoever put in the linoleum did a crappy job and in some places there's a gap of 1/2" that needed to be filled with caulk. Even so, it looks 100 times better than it did before.

On Saturday, I got the "bright" idea to replace the painted over and starting to rust hinges of the bathroom cabinet. I bought new hinges and took the cabinet doors off. Then decided I couldn't put the doors back on without repainting them (everything in my house needs repainted!). I primered them.

Did I mention the window in the tub/shower area? No??? Well, it needed re-caulking too. So yes, I caulked... and primered the trim and ledge for it also.

The paint on the trim around the bathroom door has been peeling since I moved here. In some places it was showing off the harvest gold color underneath. Ahh, yes... "beautiful". However, the polka-dot yellow and white just wasn't doing *it* for me. What could I do but to primer THAT, too?!? I have one piece of trim to do behind the door where the hinges are, and then I can do the actual painting.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Homestead Chronicles!

Jan 1, 2009

New Year, Ongoing Appreciation

I'm taking a moment to express my appreciation to all of you out there who've I gotten to know through the online community, and to those I've been blessed to have met in person. I just want to say: You all are GREAT! Thanks for the words of encouragement and empathy during the trials and triumphs of my life. :)

Here's to a prosperous 2009!