Friday, December 18, 2009

Dec 18/09

Here is my last batch of ornaments for this year. I glued on the felt backs a week ago and attached the cording the other day while I was home adjusting to life without Hayes who always sat with me on the couch when I stitched.

I finally managed to pick up the stitching itself the other night after at least a week and a half of being so emotionally played out that I could not even open the plastic container where I keep my stitching. HAED Iris is slowly coming 2 is underway!

In other news, I am underway with the initial stages of planning a Habitat for Humanity trip to El Salvador next year. Yay! Dating on the other hand is not quite as successful. Oh well!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dec 15/09

Today I said good bye to my cat Hayes. The tumour came back with a roaring vengeance to the point where it was in her sinuses affecting her breathing and back around behind her ear into the lymph nodes there. The vet and her assistant were the same two who have been looking after Hayes since the initial assessment and they treated us so kindly. My heart broke to lay Hayes' lifeless little body into the ground and watch it be covered over, but I know that she is up in Heaven, muscling her way into the kitty food bowl and bossing all of the humans around!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Dec 8/09

Not much stitching has been going on here because I have been emotionally drained by the time I reach my usual stitching time in the evening. My weekend was filled with being there for my brother while he looked after his best friend and grieving for Jeremy's family. Last night I drove by the accident site and felt compelled to pull over to pray for his family as they go through this terrible time. I know that the old adage is that these things happen for a reason, but I could not understand the reason the other night when I was looking into the eyes of his grief stricken parents and siblings.

On the other hand, the bookmark has been given and he reports that he is already using it! We had a lovely time on Saturday over brunch and driving around the area so that I could show him my home town. Because my life is just one dorky moment after another, one of my neighbours just happened to be delivering Christmas cards as he was walking down the driveway. She kept me on the doorstep for a good 10-15 minutes trying to get information out of me about him. I was both freezing and frustrated because I was standing there without a coat and she had interrupted my happy dance in the kitchen after he had kissed me good bye!

Well, I should get back to the paperwork that I have been avoiding. Once the paperwork is done, then I can tackle the Christmas stuff that has not been done yet. Sigh!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Dec 4/09

Not sure why God looked down last night and decided to take this young man home to heaven, but it happened. Jeremy is the brother of my brother's best friend and I used to babysit him when I was younger. His family welcomed us when we moved to New Brunswick in 1975 and our brothers have been best of friends ever since. My heart hurts for his family.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Nov 25/09

So, the new guy in my life likes to read historical fictional and the red hair betrays his Irish heritage so I thought that this bookmark might be a cool little gift.

It is a Teresa Wentzler stitched on 14 count Aida (not my ideal fabric, but the colour works for the skeins)and backed with a golden raw silk. We are still trying to figure out plans for this weekend so I hope to give it to him either on Friday or Saturday. I know the dating rule books all say to not do last minute planning for dating, but between our work schedules and his visitation schedule with his kids, flexibility is necessary!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Nov 13/09

The cross stitching is done on the Army crest, thank heavens! The design is big and things like the maple leaves were difficult to count. I get a brain block when counting large areas in a single colour. After struggling through the first two leaves, I did the third one in blocks of ten squares and that greatly reduced my frustration level! The backstitching remains to be done, but I have switched over to stitching a bookmark to give my head a break from this one!

Here is an update photo on my kitty Hayes.

The sutures holding her left eyelids together were removed a week ago and the wound is healing nicely although it looks like she scratched herself recently, causing a little scab to form. So far, she is holding her own and I can feel no signs of the tumour re-growing just yet. She has gained a half pound or so since her visit to the vet last week and she spends her time sleeping and demanding affection, food and water. In other words, life is as usual around here!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Nov 10/09

The cross-stitching is almost completed on the Army crest. Taking a picture would require picking my sleep deprived butt up off this chair and walking through the house though. For some reason, I thought that a venti Americano at 8pm would be a good idea----I was on a date and obviously not thinking clearly----and the caffeine surged through my system ALL NIGHT LONG!

These little goodies arrived in the mail yesterday courtesy of Cross-Canada Stitching:

My closest LNS is 150km away so I rarely get there even though I try to support the smaller local retailers whenever I can. Michaels supplies me with my DMC skeins and it is only 30km away so my pattern shopping tends to be done on-line, mostly through eBay. Including shipping, my bill at CCS was $37.54 (Canadian) and the service was prompt. I plan to be a repeat customer!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Nov 8/09

Between it being Sunday and having something do a dance all over my immune system, I am enjoying my coffee and listening to Stuart MacLean on CBC radio. As Wednesday is Remembrance Day here in Canada, Stuart's show was a beautiful reflection on remembrance. As I was listening, I was struck once again at how wonderfully lucky I am that I have never experienced war. The only gunfire I have ever heard is that of hunters out in the woods during duck and deer seasons. My country has not been invaded, I do not live under a dictator, my brothers were not forced to take up arms, I do not experience racial tension or hatred. I live in a country of peace.

My only experiences with war come from books. As a child and teenager, I read extensively on World War II as I tried to understand why my Japanese grandparents were interned. As an adult, I have read on Bosnia to understand why my brother and his fellow soldiers were there as peacekeepers, El Salvador to understand the barbed wire and continued militia-like atmosphere, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq to understand what is taking our Canadian soldiers once again into war and so on.

On Remembrance Day, I will be at the local cenotaph with my family, looking at the stoic faces of the veterans and silently thanking them for their sacrifices. I will be thinking of those families who have lost loved ones in Afghanistan as I look at my brother so handsome in his dress uniform and his son who adores his daddy. I will be thankful that I could have been born anywhere in the world, but circumstance and fate found me here in Canada. I will renew my personal vow to share peace and love in my own way to help make the world a better place.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Nov 7/09

This morning I was just checking through the list of blogs that I follow and came across a finished version of a breast cancer ribbon project from Ink Circles. Sigh! So many patterns to stitch, so little time in this lifetime!

Hayes had her sutures removed at the vet yesterday and the vet seemed happy with her status. I on the other hand was not overjoyed to see that she only weighs 6.0lbs. This cat has been affectionately known as "Fat Cat" for 14 years by those who know and love her. Now she is known as "Bag of Bones". We stopped into my mom's on the way home from the vet to share our apple pie and Mom did her best to fatten up Hayes by feeding her half a can of tuna. Gramma is not a cat person, but she loves her grand-kitties because her kid does!

My youngest brother is probably still not thrilled with me like I am with him, but he did take my old toilet into the Habitat ReStore yesterday for me. I replaced the toilet a month or more ago because a connector rusted and caused a leak/flood. The old toilet has sat on my lawn for all this time, waiting for him to come pick it up and drop it off while he is in the city for classes at the community college. I did bleach it very thoroughly, but he did not want any "yucky" water to splash into his car trunk. Not that I blame him, but I am thrilled to be one degree less redneck now!! Every time I saw the toilet on the lawn, I could hear Jeff Foxworthy saying, "You might be a redneck if......."

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Nov 5/09

Today's thoughts are brought to you by apple pie:

A friend of mine emailed me last night to say that she wanted to make me an apple pie so who was I to say no! She has been following my Hayes the cat saga on Facebook and as a fellow pet lover she wanted to do something for me. I had been a kind ear for her a couple of years ago when her dog got sick and had to be put down so she is returning the kindness. The pie is yummy and Hayes has been enjoying it as well as last night I mistakenly put the plate where she could reach it and I turned around to see her licking my piece!!

Many people are really anti-Facebook, but at times like this, it has been great comfort to me. Hayes has had good health wishes from friends as far away as New Zealand and Norway and so many people stop me when I am out and about because they are following her story. The same thing happened a few years ago when my mom was critically ill in the hospital. A simple expression of sympathy or good wishes really does go a long way for the receiver!

I did some more stitching on the Iris last night, but my concentration was limited so I did not make a great amount of progress. Being a health care worker, I have been vaccinated up the ying yang this past week. I had the seasonal flu and pneumonia shot on Friday (I am prone to pneumonia and bronchitis) and the H1N1 shot on Tuesday. The icky ache and cough that hit me yesterday could be either side effects from all of the vaccines or the actual H1N1 virus as I know that I was exposed to it at work before I took this time off. I must say though that apple pie is a great method of treatment!

One last thing I want to share today. My cousin was in Moncton the other day for work so my brother and I met up with him for supper. My brother introduced me to a drink called a Monkey's Lunch. Now, you have to know my brother. Picture a George Clooney look-a-like (his nickname is Clooney!)in a Canadian army uniform. I started to laugh when he ordered his drink and instructed the waitress to not bring it to him with an umbrella or in a daiquiri glass. I stopped laughing when he let me have a taste of it. Kahlua, banana liqueur and milk! Yum!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Nov 3/09

Not the greatest photo as my hands were shaking from too much caffeine, but I thought that the berries on my burning bush were absolutely gorgeous the other day. I am trying to take in all of the beauty around me while I am off work for a couple of weeks, a taking of time to smell the roses as it were.

This photo of Penelope makes me laugh because she is such a funny and affectionate cat.

We had some bad news from the vet yesterday regarding Hayes. The tumour is malignant and aggressive (I forget the exact name of it!) and the vet had not been able to remove it all the other day so we truly are playing a waiting game. The vet and I talked about how many times Hayes can go under anesthetic to keep removing the tumor as it grows back and what things does she need to be monitored for (tumour re-growth, weight loss and liver enzymes). We will just keep taking every day one day at a time and I know that I know when the balance will have tipped between her quality of life and my not wanting to let her go. She on the other hand does not seem to be the least bit fussed by it all as she goes about her usual daily activities of demanding food, water and attention and assuming her spot on the bed at night, curled up against me.

Some more stitches were put into the Iris yesterday after I came home from some retail therapy. Gasp! I bought a Christmas gift yesterday!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Oct 31/09


An update on the Army crest, made more poignant to me after learning that two more Canadian soldiers have died in Afghanistan. One of them served in 1 CER out of Edmonton, my brother's regiment when he was stationed there. So sad for two more families....

And here we are three days post-surgery:

The swelling has gone done quite a lot since the surgery and less fluid seeps out of the corner of the wound now. She has gained a little bit of weight back now that her nutrient intake is not being usurped by the tumour. My family was amazed last night at how well Hayes is recovering and how lively and full of personality she is still. There has been no change in her personality or physical abilities so I am pretty certain that the tumour had not gone into her brain. I am amazed that she had such a big tumour (the size of my baby finger) removed from her eye area and she has had no need for pain relievers nor has she slowed down any. She is still the first to the food bowl in the morning and she runs around the house like a young cat (she is 15 years old!). The girls at work gave me a Chicken Soup book for cat owners as a good bye gift and I am getting quite a kick out of all of the amazing cat stories.

Well, I am off to visit with my favourite goblin who is trick or treating with his dad tonight while they are visiting with Gramma (my mom). Boo!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Oct 30/09

It is Friday night and I feel like a truck has driven over me. No wonder! Today was my last day at my current job and I went to my mom's to have supper only to discover that my mother was at the RCMP detachment filing a missing person report on my sister. Hayes the cat is recovering very well and her antics kept the mood lighter at my mom's house as we dealt with the return of my sister. My sister's story is too crazy to even begin to describe here, but this evening has involved my brother being on the phone for almost an hour with one of her friends (J.) as he told J. in no uncertain terms that he thinks J. is full of crap and he worries about J.'s intentions regarding our sister. Hayes kept my mother smiling by chattering away at her and demanding affection from everyone when my poor mom just wanted to scream and throttle my sister. Oh yeah, and I had a seasonal flu shot and a pneumococcal vaccine done today so my head is aching from stress and the vaccines.

Now, I am off for the next two weeks by choice to chill out between jobs. The only 3 things I have to do are get my H1N1 vaccination done on Tuesday, have dinner with my cousin who will be here from Ontario working for the week and take Hayes to the vet to get her sutures taken out 10 days post surgery.

Happy Hallowe'en to all you ghosts, goblins, witches, pranksters and trick or treaters! BOO!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oct 28/09

Today has been a very emotional day for me. I took Hayes to the vet this morning to have surgery on her eye. The two courses of antibiotics did nothing so the vet was going to explore the swelling and remove the eyeball. There is an official medical term for this procedure, but the result is "one-eyed kitty" in my parlance. The vet called me this afternoon at work to let me know how the surgery had gone and to discuss what they saw during the procedure. Needless to say, I burst into tears after hanging up and had to leave the dispensary because the terms "carcinoma" and "euthanasia" were part of the discussion. I stopped by the vet office to see how she was doing with coming out of the anesthesia and one of the assistants almost did not let me go into the recovery room in case it upset the other animals in there. The look in my tear filled eyes changed her mind pretty quick so they let me go into see Hayes who was still so out of it that she did not respond to my voice with even an ear twitch.

The vet office called me a couple of hours later to say that Hayes was awake enough to come home so I rushed in to get here. The vet discussed pain relievers and checkups with me before showing me the chunks of tumor that are being sent to Guelph for histology (i.e to determine what kind of cells we are dealing with). Those chunks total the size of my baby finger, causing me to blurt out, "Did you really get all of that out of her head?!" They do not think that she has any other tumors, but the pre-op blood tests did show elevated liver enzymes which could mean her body is starting to shut down or it could be from the 3 weeks of oral antibiotics. Her weight has slipped a bit again as well so I am going to keep a close eye on that during the 10 days before we go back to have the sutures removed from her eyelids which are stitched together.

We spent the evening with Hayes wrapped in a blanket, snuggled into my lap, while I stitched. She was pretty wobbly and shaky when she first came home (think "drunken sailor") so I wanted to keep her quiet and comfortable under the anesthetic wore off. She has already been jumping from furniture to furniture and the purr has returned so things are returning to normal fairly quickly.

My mom said something to me tonight that gives me great comfort. I was telling her what the vet said about the possibility of the tumor growing back and how I figure that I will just take one day at a time until we reach that point that Hayes has a decreased quality of life. Mom said that I should feel good about knowing at that point that I have done everything that I could for Hayes. Hayes has given so much to me in the 15 years that we have been together and we will keep snuggling away as long as we can.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Oct 27/09

I just heard about Bill C-311 on Friday when I was at the opening event of the AGM for the Council of Canadians. Then, I heard something on the news last night about a scuffle at the Parliament in Ottawa so I thought that I should sit down and read this bill to see what the kerfuffle is about. It did not take long to see why the Conservative government is trying to bury this bill being proposed as a private members' bill by the NDP. This government is notorious for its disregard for environmental and climate change issues. As a Canadian, I am horrified at the fact that we are a laggard state when it comes to agreeing to and meeting the targets laid out in the Kyoto Accord. I am further embarrassed to hear that our government and its representatives plan to continue this agenda at the upcoming Copenhagen meetings in December 2009. Maybe our government is so arrogant because we have such a large land mass that we can ignore our environmental disasters like the Tar Sands because they are so far physically removed from us. Maybe having the largest reserve of fresh water makes us feel we can wantonly destroy it. Maybe because we have the financial resources to adjust to and recover from the effects of climate change, we could care less what happens to those countries who can not afford to do the same. Canada needs to step up when it comes to climate change and cooperate with the other countries of the world because climate change affects every person on this planet. Canada should be leading the way on this issue, not behaving like a spoiled brat.

Oh yeah, I did some stitching and there has been some progress on the Army crest. Also, my cat has been to the vet again and she will be having surgery tomorrow to fix the mess of her left eye. The vet made sure that I understand that I will have a one-eyed cat after tomorrow.....

PS. Editing this post to add that I took my indignant environmental self out for a walk after posting the C-311 link and collected 2 bags of garbage in the 0.5km that I walked from my house and back. My workout was carrying those 2 bags back home. I had thought about leaving them at the end of someone's driveway to wait for garbage pick up, but thought better of it in case the bags started a neighbourhood war about the dumping of garbage. The amount of garbage along the road makes me mad because so much of it goes down into the brooks and then out into the marsh. Several other people walk along the road as part of their daily walking route and I am amazed and saddened by the fact that they blithely ignore the garbage. I am angered by the idiots who chuck it out their vehicle windows.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Oct 25/09

After spending a good part of the evening at a Trivia Night held by my Rotary Club, I came home and stitched to unwind. The Canadian Army crest is coming along slowly, but surely. The colours and the pattern are very basic compared to most projects I stitch so it is not the most exciting project I have ever stitched. When I stitch, I use a throw pillow as a little desk for my lap to hold the pattern and floss. Now, I have to balance the pattern on Hayes who has taken to sleeping on the aforementioned pillow while I am stitching. Because she is still battling her eye infection, I am allowing her to be a pest like that.

We received over 100mm of rain last night so I am most fortunate to not have been mopping up a wet basement this morning like my mom and many people around town. You know, there were no storm warnings or media hysteria like there was in August and September when a couple of hurricanes swept up the East Coast and yet, the winds and rain were just as bad if not worse last night than with those earlier storms. There are many homes flooded in this region and I heard that at least one road is closed because it is washed out in places. Where were the warnings and the media on this one? Just curious.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Oct 15/09

Here is an update on my HAED Iris project:

When I first started out, I was a little overwhelmed by the pattern as it switches colours frequently and there is just so much pattern! Now that I am underway and can landmark my way as well as count, the stitching of this design is becoming quite fun as it comes alive under my fingers. No, I am not one of those people who do that count and thread grid thing before they start complicated designs. Yes, I make mistakes and do not rip them out unless it is glaringly obvious because part of the challenge to me is how to incorporate the mistakes into the final piece and make it all work. The colours in this piece are rich and gorgeous which also makes it fun for me to stitch.

The demon of depression has let go of me so now I am catching up and grabbing hold of my life again. It is so hard to remain optimistic when in the throes of it even though I know well now that it will pass sooner rather than later and that I just have to hold on to get through the days and weeks of feeling worthless and useless. Now I am enjoying everything about my life again and better able to cope with the every day challenges. Part of the reason why I was stitching ornaments was because I just could not face the challenge of the HAED pattern or any of the stocking projects that I would like to get done for my family. Stitching small projects gives me immediate results and pleasure which is helpful in coping with depression when it grabs hold of me. When discussing some of the issues I have been sorting out recently, one of my closest friends said, "Vee, you always land on your feet somehow." So true. I am blessed with a good network of love around me and somehow I bounce back every time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Oct 14/09

Whew! It was only 1.5km, but the walk from work to the garage was tough on the shins! I am such a country kid that walking on sidewalks hurts my shins. Mind you, walking in dress shoes was probably not much help either.... Oh well, I got to add 1.5km to my ticker nonetheless. 1000km really was a lofty goal,but I will keep plugging away nonetheless. I have to, none of my favourite dress pants do up without fancy button fastening manoeuvres. Oh yeah, and my snow tires are now on my car. It snowed a little bit here last night so it was most fortunate that I was already booked into the garage for other reasons and asked them to also do the tires so that I beat the crazy rush that inevitably happens after the first big snowfall.

Some progress has been made on the HAED Iris design. I have picked it up again now that I am finished the stitching part of all of those ornaments. Perhaps tomorrow if I remember, I will post a progress picture. Between work,the general daily needs of the three critters and the specific health needs of one of them, family stuff and drama and my own stuff of laundry, groceries and exercise, my stitching time is uber precious and mindsaving! When I raffled off the "Wreath of All Seasons" at work this past spring, I had so many people tell me that cross stitch stresses them out when they have tried it. I could not understand that because it is so relaxing to me. There is something almost zen about me, some threads and a piece of fabric. I shut out the rest of the world and focus on the stitching, clearing my mind of all the crap of the day.

Speaking of crap, I still smell like bleach from my cleaning job of my old toilet which is sitting in pieces on my side lawn. I scrubbed it down with bleach this afternoon so that I can take it into the Habitat ReStore in Saint John. Besides needing a couple of bolts that rusted out and caused the leak that led to its replacement by a dual-flush toilet, the old one works perfectly well so I am recycling it instead of garbaging it.

So there you have it, snow tires, raffles and toilets. I so live a rock'n'roll lifestyle! NOT!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Oct 11/09

Happy Thanksgiving! Here is a little poem shamelessly stolen from this blog:

May your stuffing be tasty

May your turkey be plump,

May your potatoes and gravy

Have never a lump.

May your yams be delicious

And your pies take the prize,

And may your Thanksgiving dinner

Stay off your thighs!

Happy Thanksgiving

Some stitchy thoughts tomorrow, once I finish digesting all of the turkey and veggies I ate today!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Oct 8/09

Hayes the cat is slowly improving. She was sitting on the bathroom scale a few minutes ago and I took a peak to see her current weight. Fuzzybutt is now a whopping 9 lbs, up 4 lbs from the night she wandered home after a 19 day walkabout. The fleas are almost gone, but the eye infection is still a battle which is why you are getting a rear view of her because her left eye is pretty yucky looking. She is getting oral cephalexin twice a day and idoxuridine drops every few hours. The other drops I was using were completely ineffective and I probably waited too long to start the oral antibiotics. I do see some improvement in the huge cyst that is sitting where her kitty eyebrow should be and which has grown so big that she can not see much out of her left eye. She is tolerating all of the medications better than I had thought. I can not describe her as being wildly enthusiastic about all of these eyedrops and she does put up a bit of a fuss about them, but she does not run away when she sees the bottle come out so that makes the process a bit easier. Surprisingly, she likes the taste of the cephalexin which I think stinks to high heaven! I mix it into some canned food and then feed it to her because I am not crazy enough to try shooting it down her throat! She might be half the cat she was, but she is not declawed.

My cats sure keep me entertained and busy! If I am not medicating Hayes in some way then I am laughing at the latest crazy spot in my house that Penelope is using to sleep in (she is currently sleeping in the recyling bins behind where I sit at the computer) or chattering away with Gabby. My house would be so boring and quiet without them!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Oct 4/09

Alrighty, finally some stitching photos:

I like the final results of this kit (sans finishing), but as has happened a few times before, I can short on some of the threads. Fortunately, there were threads in my mystery thread box that matched well enough to be useful. I assume that this is a fairly new kit as I just bought it from the most recent Mary Maxim catalogue so I should write a complaint to Dimensions so that they are aware that they goofed when doing up their thread packs.

On a more fun note, I saw this design in the JCS Preview issue and really liked it. Then I saw it done up on another blog and liked it even more so I had to stitch it! The design is "Trimming the Tree" by Sharon Crescent done on 28 count Charlescraft Irish linen. I used the DMC suggested colours as I have not invested in any overdyed threads yet. Because I like the design so much, I am going to stitch a couple more with different coloured balls (working on blue at the moment and planning on doing purple as well). Finishing is not my strong point so I am undecided about whether I will finish these as flat ornaments or perhaps use them in the Christmas themed photo insert cards that I bought recently. To be honest, I am love the stitching part and really could care less about what happens after I am done stitching. There is something captivating to me about taking a pile of skeins and a blank piece of fabric and watching a design come to life under my fingers. Once the design is stitched, my fascination ends. Being part of the blogger community has motivated me to do more finishing as I view the beautiful results of all the other stitchers, but finishing is more of a necessary evil to me.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Oct 2/09

Ok, so I decided to add one of those cute little ticker tape things that I have seen on other people's blogs. My weight has jumped up as my running/jogging/walking has dropped off so I have been trying to figure out strategies to get myself going again on the road to both fit and fabulous. One thousand km my be a little ambitious for 6 months as a goal, but I figure that I may as well aim high and go for it! At 210 lbs and 5 foot 6, I need to do something before heart disease and diabetes start to rear their ugly heads. Plus, exercise helps to keep my demons of depression and anxiety away! I am also thinking about buying those toning shoes from Skechers or Reebok, but I can not seem to find a local store (I live in the retail boonies) so I may just have to order a pair on-line and hope for the best. Hopefully these new approaches will help to inspire me!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Oct 1/09

No stitching pictures to post just yet so instead you get the view from the window beside my computer desk. Autumn has arrived. Sigh. The colour of the maple tree leaves makes it official. I bought my house from my best friend and that tree was planted by her father for her and her husband when they moved into this shack as newlyweds in 1993. This photo has so many elements to it that represent my life: the pharmacy ornament that my mom bought me, the Support the Troops cardboard ribbon that I have in the window to show my love and support for my favourite soldier, the maple tree,and the geraniums that used to be part of flower boxes that used to sit on my front step (represents my love of gardening). I had to move my computer a month ago when my high speed modem was installed and I must admit that I much prefer being able to look out both this window and the patio door instead of just the patio door (that view is important to see the cats who want in and out....constantly!).

Upon review of the preview, I just realized that you can not see the pharmacy ornament, but you get the idea!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sept 26/09

Mandibular tori----a new to me medical condition. My dentist saw me yesterday morning and told me that it is a benign, bony growth that is not treated unless the growth starts to interfere with the function of one's mouth. Apparently it is rather a common thing as my dentist showed the growths in his own mouth and a couple of my friends have also revealed that they have them as well.

Not much stitching has been going on here, but tonight looks like a good stitching night. We had a true frost last night so we are all complaining about the cold here. I had thought about sitting out by the fire this evening, but I feel the cold when I am tired (just worked 9-6 and then went to the funeral home to pay respects to friends of mine from the high school orchestra) so I think that I will wrap myself in my sweats and take up the position in the stitching chair.

Poor Hayes may have to go to the vet after all. She has a large cyst under her upper left eye lid that has been getting worse despite the antibiotic/steroid drops I have been using when she lets me put them in her eye. It looks like it is pressing on her eyeball and I am not 100% sure that she can see much out of that eye because the cyst is so big. At least she has gained 3 pounds this past week so I am in no danger of being accused of animal neglect any more. She is now soft and fluffy again although at 8 lbs she is still rather boney.

Alright, time to change out of this dress and into some comfy wear. Bring on the stitching!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sept 24/09

Stitching has been therapeutic for me this week. Besides having Hayes curl up with me and snuggle while stitching, I have also enjoyed having my mind taken off a little medical issue that has developed. I have a bump on the inside of my jaw on the right side. It has been there for a while (i.e. several months), but it recently got really inflamed. My family doctor looked at it this morning and she suggested that I get my dentist to look at because she had no idea what the bump could be (no open sores like a cancre and no pus when inflamed) so I am going to see my dentist in the morning. The next stop after that will be an ENT if my dentist is not sure what it might be. My doctor agreed with me that it is definitely more than my jaw bone not being symmetrical, but she could not come up with any idea as to why the bump would be where it is.

The problem for me is that I am in health care so I already have visions in my head of needing surgery and chemo. I go whole hog when it comes to imagining medical bogey men! In reality, at most, it will be a day surgery procedure to remove what is probably some weird calcification thing from my jaw bone.....

One other reason that stitching has been therapeutic for me-----a little boy from our town moved to Toronto recently with his family because he needs a double lung transplant. News came yesterday morning that he was in surgery and I read his mom's blog this morning that said he is now in recovery and will be sedated for the next 48 hours while his new lungs settle into his body. The whole town was on edge yesterday as we were waiting for updates from his family. He is only 11 years old and is so brave that he told the nurses to look after his parents while he was being wheeled into the operating room.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sept 22/09

Here is my little darling Hayes at the beginning of her de-fleaing, lots of eating and treatment of her eye infection. Since then, she has gained 2 pounds, had flea medication smeared on her head and her eyes are looking much better. The upside of her being so tiny now is that my bed pillow can hold both my head and her when she makes herself comfortable (and me, not so much) in the middle of the night. The downside is that she is a kitty bag of bones at the moment. She is no longer my "Fat Cat" as I have lovingly called her for years, but she has not lost any of her attitude so I figure that she has increased her attitude to pound ratio by quite a bit recently!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sept 19/09

I have been stitching on some ornaments all week and they will be posted when I have finished stitching all six! They are not that big and take on average one evening to stitch each one. The other night as I was dropping threads into my ort jar, I realized that the jar is starting to overflow so I decided to photograph it for posterity before I throw out its contents. How does everyone else deal with their threads? Do you pile them up beside you while you stitch and then promptly throw them out when you stitching session is over? Do you have a little container that you keep like I do and empty when full? Just curious.

My friend Janet stopped by the pharmacy yesterday to thank me for the breast cancer card I sent her this week. She said that it was nice to get something in the mail that was not a bill! She starts her chemo regimen in just over a week and is going through 8 cycles in two months time. Her mother and her 2 sisters are glued to her side so she has strong family support and I told her that I will do whatever I can to make things easier for her at the drugstore. I felt so bad that I had to tell her that her copayment for one of her drugs will total around $4 000 for this chemo cycle. Yup, that is her COPAYMENT. Even in the land of Medicare, becoming sick can be very expensive. Anyhow, the main point of this paragraph is that we should all make an effort to reach out to those around us. Even the small effort of mailing a card to let someone know that we are thinking about them in good times and in bad can mean so much.

Here is a little miracle for you all. I announced the other day that Hayes the kitty was gone. The other cats had gone into mourning and Hayes was gone longer than she had ever been before. Last night, I had gone into the city to do some shopping. When I came home, I was greeted by one of the other cats. Then, I heard Hayes' meow behind me. I was in shock for hours because I really had thought that she was dead. She is two pounds lighter (and probably ate her weight last night!) and her eyes are a terrible mess, but she claimed her spot on my pillow last night and has not left my side since she came home. She is terribly thin and has no fat on her whatsoever. Stroking her back makes me shiver because her spine is so prominent now. She was gone for 19 days this time.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sept 13/09 part deux

I just finished the back stitching on the Bear card and assembled both cards! They are kits from a company called Design Works Crafts. I picked them up for a song when the Lewiscraft store in Saint John was closing out. At the time, I think I bought 10 or 12 of them and these are the last two cards! A few more things completed and done for Christmas and a few less things sitting in my stash!

Sept 13/09

Here is my breast cancer card. The design is found in JCS October 2009. I stitched it on a 28 count scrap of linen and inserted it into a card frame that I found at Michaels in the sale bin a while ago. I did not have DMC899 so I used DMC 894 for the word "Cure". Now, to get it into the mail to my friend to let her know that I am thinking of and praying for her.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sept 12/09

No piccies to post today so far. After I come home from shopping and have a chance to stitch a bit this evening, I should have some photos of two Christmas cards that I have been working on this week. Then, I plan to stitch a breast cancer card that reads "Faith, Hope, Cure" for a woman who grew up next door to me and who has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. Her cancer is in the milk duct. In my job, I deal with people everyday who have cancer, but this hits a little too close to home. She and I used to make mud pies together in her front yard and sit together on the school bus. She and her sister were the first two friends I made at age 4.5 years when I moved to New Brunswick.

Life truly is a precious gift and the days where everything is going well and our health is intact are rare gifts that we should treasure. A 80 year old woman taught me a saying the other day which I can not remember verbatim, but it was essentially that if you are feeling bothered by old age, remember that there are those who will never reach old age.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sept. 10/09

This Daydreams kit was bought and stitched for a friend of mine as a joke. One day, I was at work and ran into this friend. He has lots of bird feeders so I told him that I had recently been seeing a cardinal at my bird feeder. Cardinals are not a common bird to this area, but this past winter/spring there were a couple of pairs seen in the area and I was blessed with one of them! Now, what I know about birds and their names is really not worth knowing, but it was bien evident even to a bird dummy like me that the bright red bird at my feeder was a cardinal. My friend asked me, "Was it a male or a female? Males are brighter than females." Now, he just happened to realize at that moment that he was surrounded by three women who all burst out laughing when he said that! We all said variations of "Oh really?!!" while we were laughing! Then, he tried to dig himself out of that gender landmine hole, much to our great amusement. The hole just kept getting bigger no matter what he said and we women just kept laughing harder and harder. We knew full well that he was referring to the colour of the cardinal feathers and not the intelligence levels of males and females!

My friend's wife called the store a few days later and I happened to answer. She said to me, "Now Virginia, could you not give my husband such a hard time when he comes in!" as she burst out laughing. He had gone home and told the story to her much to her great amusement as well! He has also gone on to amuse his extended family with the story as well. So, when I saw this kit in the Mary Maxim catalogue recently, I could not help myself! I am off this morning to sneak it into his mailbox. He will know immediately who it is from!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Sept 8/09

Not much stitching to show as I just spent a 3 day holiday in a little village called Cocagne on the southeastern shore of New Brunswick. The sea air and quiet of the area had me catching up on sleep when I was not reading! I devoured "The girl who played with fire" by Stieg Larsson and made a big dent in "The Australian Trilogy" by Bryce Courtenay. The inn was lovely, but I was the only guest there for 2 of the 3 nights which was a bit spooky. On the other hand, I was not disturbed by other people so I could blissfully sleep and laze about! My room was the best bedroom in terms of the view as I could see the ocean out of the window and the patio door.

One afternoon, I drove to the Irving Eco Centre just outside of Bouctouche. The dunes and the boardwalk were gorgeous!

I have only seen a few blue herons in my lifetime in the part of the province where I live. Blue herons nest in the Bouctouche region and this is one of several that I saw in the marshes there.

Some very sad news to report. My long time stitching companion, Hayes the kitty, has gone to the happy mousing grounds. She used to spend her evenings either curled up beside me or behind me on the back of the couch while I stitched. She is known to go walkabout for several days at a time, but she left home over a week ago and not one sign of her has been seen by me or any of the neighbours. The other two cats suddenly became very clingy and needy a day after she left which is unusual behaviour for them when she goes walkabout so I am 99.9% sure that she has passed away. She has not been well for a while with a 6-7 pound weight loss in the past year, but she was still as cantankerous and full of character as always despite the arthritis that was slowing her down a bit. I know that they can not live forever and that she would leave me sooner rather than later, but I was kinda' hoping for much later. I have 15 years of great memories so the tears are tempered with smiles as I remember all of her little quirks and attitudes. I had many nicknames for her that sum her up: Fat Cat, Fuzzybutt, the Punkinator, Mrep Mrep (her meow was kind of bizarre), Chumba (short for "big fat chubby cat"), Miss Moo and more recently, The Old Lady.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Sept 2/09

Not much stitching to show just yet although I am working on 2 Christmas card kits that I found in my basket beside the couch. Gabby was being helpful last night as I was surfing the net. In this photo, she was letting me know that her ears needed scratching. A few minutes before, she was sleeping with her head on my hand that was moving the mouse around. Annoying, yet adorable at the same time!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Aug 30/09

This weekend my cats have been amusing me with the weird spots they using as sleeping spots. Apparently, sleeping on top of the kitty litter box is comfy:

and so is wedging oneself into the shoe box that used to contain papers in the end table in the living room:

Last night, the other cat was sleeping on the back of the couch with her head on my shoulder while I was watching movies and cross stitching. That was before she decided to sleep on my pillow in bed. Unfortunately, my head was also using that pillow and now I have a stiff neck!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Aug 28/09

The first of my Ebay purchases has arrived. My mother likes Nativity scenes so I would like to stitch this one up for her some day. There is one more booklet called "The Shepherds" which has a shepherd, some sheep and the angel who calls them to Bethlehem.

Still working away at the Teresa Wentzler booklet of celtic knot bookmarks. Here are 2 more of them that I finished as recently as last night.

Another gorgeous day here! Yesterday I had lunch at the Vintage Bistro here in Hampton and then toured Credo project which is a memorial to John Peters Humphrey, the man who wrote the UN Declaration of Human Rights. It was a very fitting place to visit as over lunch Victoria, a past Rotary exchange student from France, and I were talking about human rights issues in countries that we have each visited. We are so fortunate to live in peace and freedom here in Canada. So fortunate.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Aug 25/09

Meet "Heartfelt Harvey" from the JCS 2008 ornament issue, designed by Imaginating Inc.. I did not have enough thread in my mystery thread box to stitch the design in its intended redwork style so I played around with the thread and fabric colours to end up with this finished ornament! The blogs all seem to be pretty quiet these days. My visitor count is way down and I see that few people have been posting to the Ornament SAL. Perhaps once the cooler weather hits the Northern Hemisphere, more people will come indoors and have more time for blogs.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Aug 23/09

Now I remember why I avoid Ebay. There are 5 more patterns coming my way. Well,there is always my next life time or perhaps the one after that to stitch these ones! I am bidding on 2 more and thinking about 2 more. The selection is smaller this time of year, but it makes it easier to look through. There are also fewer bidders, it would seem, so I have managed to win more auctions at lower prices.

Good thing my youngest brother does not read this. He would just roll his eyes if he knew I had just bought more patterns just like he did the other day when he came over to help me move my desktop. He looked around the room and announced that I have become just like Mom with my rooms full of stuff that I will never use. Ahem! Mom no longer does crafts, but she hangs onto the stuff where as I still stitch like a maniac!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Aug 22/09

The other night while I was sitting out on my deck, enjoying the summer weather that has finally come to this region of the country, I looked down to see this:

She freaks me out when she lays like this because I always have to check to make sure that she is still breathing as I think that she looks dead!

Once I ascertained that the cat was still alive, I tucked into this:

The tomatoes are the result of my first foray into vegetable gardening. I am inordinately proud of them as they are my first produce. As I chowed down, I thought about where I can grow more vegetables next year in my yard. Variables I have to consider: areas that get full sun that are not under the two clotheslines that cut across the corner of my property, that are not likely to be trampled by the neighbours kids (we do not have fences so 5 yards all open onto each other) and what I would to grow!

I have been working on some more bookmarks by Teresa Wentzler in the evenings because I would like to finish that set of projects. One of my little obsessions is to clear things out so when it comes to cross-stitch, that means using up as much thread as I can. I know that this sounds weird, but I actually get excited when I finish a skein while working on a project and have to go fish another one out of my enormous skein stash. Eight years ago or so, the drugstore I work at was clearing out the inventory from its venture into craft supplies so I bought up the DMC floss. Hey! It cost me about 20 cents a skein so at $1 000 later you can well imagine how many skeins I have in my craft room......I have made a dent in the stash over the years in between friends needing a skein, giving bags of skeins away to charity auctions and all of the stitching I do. Part of my obsessiveness stems from the fact that I am mulling over the idea of building a small cottage style house on my country property and all of my stuff has to fit into that house along with my three cats and the dog that I want to have when I move there. This little side line is related to the TW introductory sentence in that I have used up several skeins of thread in stitching all of the bookmarks in the booklet and a couple of pieces of fabric from my fabric stash!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Aug 18/09

These photos could be called "Variations on a theme" I suppose. I stitched up all four of the kits that I bought called "Kindness", but discovered on the first kit that there was not enough green so I dug out my mystery thread box. Does any one else keep threads from kits and such just in case or am I the only one? Most serious stitchers probably do not use kits so perhaps that is a dumb question. I am such a "could be useful someday" kind of person although I try to keep a lid on keeping stuff just because. Anyhow, each piece is slightly different in the stems. These little kits have come in handy as one finished piece is now in British Columbia and another one will be going to Cuba this week with a professor friend who comes here from Cuba every summer to teach.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Aug 17/09

I was checking out the Christmas Ornament SAL blog that I post to and I was very pleased to see that the designer of the last ornament I had stitched complimented me on my ornament! How awesome is that?! Thanks to Brooke Nolan for designing "Elf In a Box" and for her kind words!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Aug 11/09

This little cutie will be winging its way to Fort St John, British Columbia tomorrow with my friend Dave to share with his family. He was home to NB for a week and we met for a big greasy feed at the local diner this morning which is where I took this photo. I have 4 of this same kit so it will be variations on a theme of green for the next while as the kits do not have enough green in them so I am playing around with the stem colours.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Aug 9/09

Summer has finally arrived here on the East Coast of Canada! I spent the afternoon out in the woods, clearing poplars and birch trees from around my apple orchard. The woods are really wet for this time of year, but the mosquitoes were mercifully held at bay by the insect repellent.

And another shot of the orchard.

Yesterday was so beautiful and sunny that I went to St Martins to sit by the ocean and read "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell. The sun shining on my face, the waves whispering and crashing against the rocks, few people on the beach.....Heaven!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Aug 8/09

I stole these questions from this blog just for fun:

1)Why do you stitch?

I have always done handwork of some sort ever since I can remember. It is a way of life for me to make stuff.

2) On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being least important and 10 being most important what is your cross stitch passion level?

10 does not even begin to describe my passion for stitching.

3)If you're only option for cross stitch supplies and patterns happened to be the major chain craft stores would you just walk away from the little X? Kiss it goodbye?

Nope. That is pretty much my only option at the moment. Fortunately, my stash is so big at the moment that I do not have to rely on the chain stores for materials.

4)Also are you so passionate about cross stitch that if indeed your only option was the major chain craft stores, would that inspire you to create your own cross stitch pieces because you have to stitch and you've stitched your way through the whole of Dimensions catalog--because you must stitch and the thought of life without a relationship with the little X leaves you feeling empty?

I am stitching on mosquito netting at the moment to add cuffs to a bargain jacket I bought a while ago. Need I say more?

5)Finally what do the cross stitch magazines on the market offer you? Do they relate to you as a cross stitcher? Do you look at them and think to yourself, who do they think buys this magazine? I guess what I'm asking, when you see the current cross stitch magazines do they make you feel like they know their readers or do you find it's more of the same? What could they do to be ambassadors for the art of cross stitch other than putting a sampler on the cover with "F-U" on it? What are we missing on a PR level that could change the opinion of cross stitch itself?

I think that cross stitch magazines have come a long way from the cutesy (*gag*) country style patterns that used to predominate to the more artistic and varied styles of patterns that I see now in the magazines I come across. I still buy alot of magazines, mostly for inspiration as I have a couple of life times of patterns already at home. Do the magazines represent me as a reader? Sometimes. How can magazines change the opinion of cross stitch itself? Perhaps more smalls and more tutorials and techniques for current stitchers to share their skills and passions. I have never joined a stitch and bitch group because I can not fit one more activity into my schedule, but my blog reading fulfills that part of me that wishes to socialize with other stitchers because I can see what they are stitching and get a glimpse into their lives.

6) And finally, finally, do you do other crafts and if so what are they and why do they pull you away from cross stitch?

I dabble in other crafts from time to time, but my "talents" lie in cross stitch. All the other crafts went by the wayside once I discovered the little x twenty years ago.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Aug 6/09

The Iris HAED is underway! I decided to bite the bullet the other night and start a big project. Plus, I needed the space on my cluttered desk so the material pile had to be moved. My eyes are probably going to lose a few years of usefulness as I am stitching over one on 28 count. Thank heavens for the natural lamp that my mom bought me several years ago.

Well, it is a beautiful sunny day here and I am not scheduled to work today so once the laundry gets hung out, I am off to sit by a friend's pool and soak up the few rays we have had shine us this summer!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Aug 3/09

Because I have not been able to find the motivation to start working on some of my big projects, I am still concentrating on smalls. This ornament is from the JCS July/August issue in the ornament preview section. The design is called "Elf in the Box", designed by Brooke Nolan of Brooke's Books. I stitched it up in the evenings after work this past weekend on mystery cloth and with mystery threads. The little ornaments that the elf is holding are supposed to be stitched on perforated paper which I dislike working with so I used some of my little decorating snowflakes that I have in my stash instead.

Friday, July 31, 2009

July 31/09

Sigh. Working on a long weekend here in New Brunswick! The weather is looking like it might be some what kind of maybe nice for all of those people who are off for the weekend. We need a reprieve from all of the rain we have been getting for the past month or more. Happy New Brunswick Day!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

July 28/09

My little nephews started to blow out the candles on MY birthday cake before I had even managed to take a deep breath! The family had an early celebration for me last weekend with lobster. Yum! My cousin was in town with her son (one of the candle-blower-outers!) to visit before she moves to Burkina Faso next month so it made my birthday extra special.

I finally picked up a needle and stitched something last night. This design is from a Provo Craft kit that I bought at a closing out sale for less than $5. The kit even included scissors and a needle threader so it is was a great bargain and the design is rather cute. One of my friends has a birthday this week so I stitched this up for her.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

July 21/09

Unfortunately, I did not manage to buy any of the gorgeous fabrics I saw in the Black Market in Darkhan because of time and the need for a local to tell me what is the good stuff! I did come home with this little felted piece as a memento of the Darkhan Habitat office. The affiliate sold these instead of t-shirts like the other affiliates I have visited (El Salvador and the Dominican Republic). I also bought a cross stitch kit of wild horses that I will get to stitching one of these days. The woman who sold it to me was so kind. She took the kit apart to show me that all of the pieces were there and she made sure that I knew how to stitch!

Stitching is on the back burner for me these days as I re-adjust to being home, my cousin is coming to visit this week before she moves to Burkina Faso with her son, and I have to complete my professional continuing education ASAP because I put it off for so long! I did manage to pull the majority of the weeds out of my gloriously flowering flower beds and my tomato plants are coming along nicely. The deer have found my hostas and lilies, much to my dismay, but the vandals who have been roaming my neighbourhood had left me alone. The vandals thought it was funny to loosen the bolts on a neighbour's truck tire and to paint swastikas on the main street of the neighbourhood. Honestly, it is too bad that they do not invest their efforts in good works instead of senseless activities like this.

Friday, July 17, 2009

July 17/09 (I think!)

Hey all! Just back from my Habitat for Humanity trip to Mongolia. Here are some of the pictures!

Galaa needed to be strict to maintain order on the construction site.

Inside a ger at Amarbayasgalant Monastery.

The two homeowners in front of our handiwork. Sorry for the sideways pictures. I will try to fix that when my brain and body are back in the same time zone again!

The team, the Habitat workers and the homeowners. The smiles and hugs say it all.

Friday, June 26, 2009

June 27/09

Sitting here in Seoul at 5am after a long 13 hour flight on Korean Air from JFK. I slept alot and I had really nice seatmates so the flight was as pleasant as it can be for being on a plane for over 14 hours. Passed the H1N1 check with flying colours and am now waiting for the (free) shower rooms to open up so I can freshen up before spending the day in Seoul with a friend who teaches English here in Korea. Then, this evening it is on to Ulan Bataar!!

냐ㅜㅊㄷ ㅑ 므 녀초 ㅁ 애가, ㅑ ㅗㅁㅍㄷ ㅠㄷ두 ㅗㅁ퍄ㅜㅎ ㅣㅐㅅㄴ ㅐㄹ 려ㅜ 쟈소 솓 ㅣ무혐ㅎㄷ ㅏ됴 ㅐㅜ 소ㅑㄴ ㅏ됴ㅠㅐㄱㅁㅇ. I just wrote that I am having lots of fun with the language key on this keyboard! That is the Korean one and there is a chinese one as well, but it is not being as much fun for me! I am starting to get really excited about all of this!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

June 24/09

One more sleep and I am off to Mongolia with Habitat for Humanity! I am so freaked out that I am calm. I have done everything I can to get ready for this trip and now things are out of my hands. What will happen will happen and all I can do is go along for the ride. I will be taking some stitching with me to work on during the long flights and layovers and I look forward to checking out Mongolian textiles.
Bon voyage!