Friday, May 29, 2009

Stitchalong update-week 2

Week 2- Nancy and I agreed that we could do the top row this week, so here's mine- minus the beads.

So... how's it going on your end, Nancy?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Book Review- Across the Nightingale Floor-Lian Hearn

This is the first of a series, and I now have to get the rest! It's supposed to be a "fantasy" location, but yeah, it's ancient Japan. Excellent story, wonderful characters, even if there some mystical love of honorable suicide woven throughout. It's a quick read, but just right for summer! I passed it along to the men in my life. This is right up their alley- fighting for honor and ninjas who can disappear. I can totally see this as a movie and a video game.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Stitchalong week one

So my stitching pal Nancy and I are working the same pattern at the same time. We are doing the October Sky Sampler by Elizabeth Foster.
This week:
Neither of us could count the stitches around the border from the pattern. Oh the pattern is very clear, we just talk too much to count, which greatly amused our stitching group. I thought it was 97, Nancy had 84, and it was 87. So guess who stitched 97 stitches before she recounted? Yup. Rippit, rippit the first day.
We agreed that we could finish the border before we meet again.

Here's the photo of our first night (two hours) work.
Be prepared to be underwhelmed. See there... two little lines of stitching.
More to come!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tough day today

This year is a bit better than last year. It's the 2nd anniversary of my father's death. I still miss him every day, but I don't get teary much anymore. I still get very emotional when I watch something about someone dying of cancer. Even just dying is hard, even though I know we will all do it some day, and I'm ok with that. Well, I'm not trying to rush it or anything, but I'm not deluding myself that I'm going to pluck harps and walk on streets of gold.

So in thinking about Dad, I think about all that has changed. Not much, really. I still get up every day and go to work. I still work in the garden, go to school, wish I was closer to my family but don't do anything about it, wished I exercised more and ate less, and don't do anything about that either. Should my life have changed? Should I have had some kind of epiphany and now only do good works, feed the hungry, make a difference- and be insufferably devout about something? Well, that hasn't happened yet. Maybe yext year.

So Dad, if you are out there in the ether somewhere- I miss you, and I wish you were still here to play cribbage with and talk with and annoy me with trying to save my soul. Your lilac tree is blooming in my backyard. Your old alligator is in my front yard, looking the worse for wear with his broken nose and missing tail, but I'll keep him until he disintegrates into concrete rubble. I still use your hammer. Your photo with the missing hair from chemo is over my desk, and you are smiling next to Matt. And I think of you when I hear Johnny Cash sing "Ring of Fire."

And especially when I hear "I'm so Lonesome I Could Cry."

And then I do.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Book review- The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland

I really enjoyed this book. It seems like it took forever to read, but that was because of demands on my time, not because the book was boring.

I hadn't heard of Emily Carr, but the title alone was enough to get me to read this. The story is compelling and her artwork is beautiful. After reading this I went online to see the works mentioned in the book. I really got a feel for her work, her life, and her spirit.

Each chapter is headed by the name of a tree, and other than Ms.Carr liking trees, I don't see much of a significance in that. There's a bit of a time issue. I got disoriented from one section to the next because of a time jump.

four out of five for subject and expressiveness.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Wonderful weekend in Utica!

I have a HUGE group of stitching friends, there must be well over 20 of us now, and we decided to have a stitching retreat at Grand Bear Lodge in Utica, Illinois. That's in Northern Illinois, on the Illinois River, very close to Starved Rock State Park. We left Friday morning in five cars- 14 of us. First stop- Welcome Stitchery in Crystal Lake, IL.
I belong to an online yahoo group for stitchers, and one of those members lived close enough by to meet up with us Friday morning. (Hi Gillian!) It was great to meet an online friend, and now I wish I would have gotten a photo of the event. We had a great chat, and we'll have to get together sometime for coffee, maybe the next trip up.

Second stop was for lunch, in Rockford at the Machine Shed. OMG! The food--- here's hint for eating at the Shed- order dessert first, eat it, and then if you have any room left, order something off the appetizer menu. That's a full meal. If you get a dinner or sandwich, fully plan to not be able to eat at least half of it. Split the sandwich with a friend, and order the sweet potato fries. The coconut cream pie has been renamed "the better than sex pie" just to give you an idea.

Third stop- Needle and I in Rockford. They were wonderful to us, as usual, and gave everyone in the group 10% off, just for coming up! We made it worth their while- with several people spending over $100. I was very restrained... and only spent about $50. There. The first time.

Then to the cabin....Gorgeous! In the woods, birds and tree frogs and room for all of us to stitch, eat, talk, sleep (but not much of that done) and late into the night we all seem to get a bit punchy, giggly, and hyper-caffeinated.... Well I was chugging Dew all weekend, except for the short wine break, so that might explain some of it....

Before we came home, several of us went back to The Needle and I. We had a show and tell at the cabin, and there was just some stuff other people got that we just HAD to have too. I'm set for the next ten years now.

All I can say is that for 14 women to go away for the weekend, we are all still friends, still talking to each other, and are planning to do it again. We have a long list of improvements for the next time, like chair pads, and we will all bring our stitching lights. And perhaps a salad some time during the weekend, because eating mountains of junk food and sweets really takes its toll. I'm trying to flush the caffeine out this week, just to get back down to my two a day habit level.

I didn't take any photos, but I hope to get some from everyone soon, and they'll be here, on the facebook page and on our stitching website.

and there was a bit of culture shock when I got back to work. What? Work? I want to stitch and eat more....