Saturday, January 31, 2009

Another picture/update

Here's my January progress photo for the Beatrix Potter Quaker Sampler Stitch-a-long. As you can easily see, not much got done on mine.

If you want to see some beautiful needlework, and the amazing ways in which one sampler can take on 100 different looks, check out the link.

Photos to the 6th degree

My friend Suzanne (Stampin' & Kwiltin') has a beautiful picture on her blog today. She was inspired to put it there by our friend Christi (Story about a Girl).

The idea is that you go into your pictures file, then choose the 6th picture from the 6th folder.

My 6th folder holds the web snaps I have taken while watching the late night safaris (only it is not late night there, lol) from Africa at the WildEarth webcam site. Picture #6 is a beautiful leopard- one of the many magnificent animals that can be seen nightly, close up and in their natural habitat.

So, what's in your 6th?

Finally some time to read and post

The good news is that Mom has been moved from the ICU to a step-down unit. The bad news is that the transition was rocky and she got little sleep and is very tired and uncomfortable today. The good news is that she does not want company- so I have a whole day at home when I should be doing about a million things that have fallen behind due to sickness, grades, Mom and life in general, but since I am exhausted I am rather going to spend the day reading, maybe stitching, and catching up on all the blogs I read and on this one. (How's *that* for a run-on sentence? Sister Joanna is up in heaven cringing right now, lol!)

As you can see, the amaryllis is still growing- this is such a little thing but it is really making me happy.

On the topic of being happy......

I found a really interesting blog this morning, The Happiness Project. I have not had time to read nearly as much of it yet as I want to, but so far I am REALLY liking it. It doesn't seem to be something about being "happy" as in "life is all fun" or "I am in such a good mood all the time" silly kind of happy, but rather about living life in such a way that you are content with your efforts to be good and successful at your goals and things like that. I've been working at those kinds of things for a number of years now- a function of age, maybe?- and I am looking forward to following this blog. I put it on my sidebar because it is something I want to keep returning to, and maybe you will also.

Another thing I found while strolling around the Internet today was this fun list at Anna's (Stitchbitch) blog. So, here's my version:

Things you’ve already done: bold-had to swtich to red, the bold wasn't showing
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven’t done and don’t want to - leave in plain font

1. started your own blog
2. slept under the stars
3. played in a band
4. visited Hawaii
5. watched a meteor shower
6. given more than you can afford to charity
7. been to Disneyworld
8. climbed a mountain
9. held a praying mantis
10. sang a solo
11. bungee jumped
12. visited Paris
13. watched a lightning storm at sea
14. taught yourself an art from scratch
15. adopted a child
16. had food poisoning
17. walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. grown your own vegetables
19. seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. slept on an overnight train
21. had a pillow fight
22. hitch hiked
23. taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. built a snow fort
25. held a lamb
26. gone skinny dipping
27. run a marathon
28. ridden a gondola in Venice
29. seen a total eclipse
30. watched a sunrise or sunset
31. hit a home run
32. been on a cruise
33. seen Niagara Falls in person
34. visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. seen an Amish community
36. taught yourself a new language
37. had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. seen the leaning tower of Pisa in person
39. gone rock climbing
40. seen Michelangelo’s David in person
41. sung karaoke
42. seen Old Faithful (geyser) erupt
43. bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant
44. visited Africa
45. walked on a beach by moonlight
46. been transported in an ambulance
47. had your portrait painted
48. gone deep sea fishing
49. seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. been to the top of the Eiffel tower in Paris- I've been to the bottom but I don't like heights! Maybe next time I'll be braver.
51. gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. kissed in the rain
53. played in the mud
54. gone to a drive-in theater
55. been in a movie
56. visited the Great Wall of China
57. started a business
58. taken a martial arts class
59. visited Russia
60. served at a soup kitchen
61. sold Girl Scout cookies
62. gone whale watching
63. gotten flowers for no reason
64. donated blood
65. gone sky diving
66. visited a Nazi concentration camp
67. bounced a check
68. flown in a helicopter
69. saved a favorite childhood toy
70. visited the Lincoln memorial
71. eaten caviar
72. pieced a quilt
73. stood in Times Square
74. toured the Everglades
75. been fired from a job
76. seen the changing of the guard in London
77. broken a bone
78. been on a speeding motorcycle
79. seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. published a book
81. visited the Vatican
82. bought a brand new car
83. walked in Jerusalem
84. had your picture in the newspaper
85. read the entire bible
86. visited the White House
87. killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. had chickenpox
89. saved someone’s life
90. sat on a jury
91. met someone famous
92. joined a book club
93. lost a loved one
94. had a baby
95. seen the Alamo in person
96. taken a road trip
97. been involved in a law suit
98. owned a cell phone
99. been stung by a bee
100. met the love of your life

That is enough for one post. There will probably be a couple more this weekend- having time to read and relax is such a strange feeling!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A little time to catch up a bit

I've got a few minutes before I collapse into bed so I wanted to get something up.

This is a picture of my table at the scrapping weekend. I am working on re-doing my wedding album since the first edition of it was done with one of those "magnetic" albums that were so popular in the 70s and we discovered in the late 90s actually kill your pictures. I got my pictures rescued before they died but not before they picked up some interesting brown/yellow color tones.

My progress over the weekend was to finish setting up all the page backgrounds and double matting all the pictures. Each page is now ready to be embellished. I went with non-traditional colors as the discolored, although still clear, pictures looked dreadful on white or even ivory.

This is a picture (not a very good one!) of some of the gang in the dining hall. The food was really good and there was LOTS of it. Part of the pleasure of the weekend was just hiking down to the dining hall and never worrying about when or what to eat- when someone else does the cooking it always tastes good!

This is some of the gang taking the beautiful walk back to the scrap room after lunch past the summer cabins. We were NOT staying here- our little cabins had a mini-kitchen and a nice bathroom and a wonderful heater in each.
Here's the beautiful scrapping room. Most of the weekend there was a fire in the stone fireplace which really added to the ambiance. What I didn't get a picture of was the glass doors/walls along both sides of the room, which gave out onto gorgeous views of the countryside and provided spectacular sunset views.

Now I'm back to work with a new semester and a BIG new crowd of students. Mom is still in ICU but the surgeon and the rest of the doctors and nurses seem pleased with her progress, and she looks very good to me considering she is 84 and recovering from major surgery. So, the teaching all day followed by hours at the hospital is already getting wearisome, but hopefully the recovery won't be too long or too difficult for either of us.

5:45 AM comes early, so I'm off!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What a day- I hate modern medicine!

Surgery went well. Medical care terrific; patient care SUCKS! Mom doing well- considering she was still in recovery 5 hours post-op following a surgery that started 4 1/2 hours late. Details later. Thanks for all the prayers and good thoughts.

What a week!

Grades done. Semester over. Mom has surgery tomorrow. More later!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Day Got Better!

This probably doesn't look like much, but to me it is a little miracle!

My son gave me an amaryllis plant several years ago for Christmas. It bloomed very late- January, February- but it was GORGEOUS! I had flowers that were beautiful for many weeks and the high stalks for months.

I cut it back and did what the information I found told me- put it in the garage from Halloween to Thanksgiving, etc. For the first couple years that worked great.

Then this past fall I read that I shouldn't be putting the whole thing- in the pot, etc- away in the dark, but that I should pull out the bulb, shake most of the dirt loose, and just store the bulb. Ok, I said, I guess I got lucky when I did it wrong. Then I proceeded to follow these new instructions I'd found.

Well, what I replanted just after Thanksgiving looked pretty bad. By Christmas the dead-looking bulb was still sitting there doing nothing. Mostly it was me just not getting around to doing anything about it that was the reason it is still sitting in the pot in the sunporch. And, since I was out there anyway once in a while watering the aloe vera plant- which meant watering very irregularly since the aloe survives anything- it did get occasional watering.

So, you can imagine my surprise and DELIGHT when the picture above is what I found today when I was on the sunporch intending to look out the front windows and check out the latest (miserable, little, annoying) snowfall.

YES!!!!! The amaryllis LIVES!!! Check out that little green blade poking up from the center of the bulb. Look how BRIGHT green and HEALTHY it looks!!!!

Can you say "wow"?

My exams are done, I am still feeling awful but must drag into work tomorrow unless I am dead, I am completely exhausted from TYPING the exams (how's THAT for ridiculous!), and yet, it is a GOOD DAY!!!!

So, forget the phoenix, there's the resurrection of the amaryllis to celebrate!

Blue Monday

My DH, who coached high school football for 25+ years, always told his players that if the last game of the year "meant something" you had had a successful season. The Eagles came "this close"- and it was a GREAT season. I am sad for Donovan McNabb- he will, unfairly, be blamed for this when it was the defense playing SOOO badly that really cost them the game. I've totally lost all interest in the Super Bowl now- when they don't get this close its still fun, but after this, who cares? Time to put away the green and get ready for spring training- go Phillies!

We're in the midst of a really annoying "snow event". We got less than an inch last night but it is frozen to the ground. I watched a neighbor try to shovel/scrape his sidewalk this morning and it was an exercise in futility. We're supposed to get more snow showers off and on today and tomorrow. What all this means is no fun- not enough snow to enjoy or close school, but just enough to make walking or driving dangerous. YUCK!

I am starting to feel less awful, which is NOT to say I am better, just less awful. I feel now like I've been through some dreadful disease or major surgery- exhausted, weak and run down. This is exam week at school and my exams are not even written yet- I just have not had the ability to concentrate enough to do them. In addition I have missed so much time that the kids are going into these exams practically blind about what to expect. I will, slowly, work to put together the exams throughout today, and be so grateful that the Sister in the copy room is an absolute doll and I know will get them printed for me in record time. Now I just have to figure out how I will get through a week (marking and recording tests that I gave when I was getting sick, giving and grading exams, calculating final grades, and being ready next Monday to start a new, more difficult due to schedule and class sizes semester than the one I am finishing) that would be difficult, stressful and exhausting if I were totally healthy- or whatever the nearest equivalent to totally healthy I ever get to is.

From a crafty standpoint, it is frustrating to have spent so many days at home and have accomplished nothing. No scrapping, no stamping, no cards, no stitching.

The only happy outlook on the horizon is next weekend. I am signed up (and paid up!) for a scrapbooking weekend with a group of friends. We'll be staying about an hour and a half from Philadelphia ("in the country") at a camp that will offer cabins and all our meals prepared and served, and what I hear is a beautiful main room for scrapping. The problem is that I am so far behind in EVERYTHING (don't forget I got sick almost two weeks ago!), the Christmas decorations are all still up, the house is a disaster, etc etc etc. I would feel guilty going away with so much to do, but I've been planning it for months, and I will lose the money I spent if I don't go, so I guess I will be scrapping next weekend- and taking down the Christmas decorations during the Super Bowl, lol!

OK- enough whining! Time to take another rest and then start on the exams. I hope, as is getting boringly usual, that everyone else is having a better day, week, month.....whatever, than me!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Come On Eagles!!!

It's halftime and the Eagles are losing. This is not good.

Also not good is how I've been feeling. I am not getting better. I was way too sick to go to the funeral. I am sitting here in the recliner with the blanket.

Things better improve during the 2nd half- and by tomorrow for me.

A less dreary depressing post later I hope.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sad news for scrapbookers

I'm not a monthly buyer of magazines- I prefer books. But, of all the scrapping/crafting magazines I do own, and there are plenty, there are definitely more of Simple Scrapbooks than any other.

The sad news to be found at several sites, including the Simple Scrapbooks Blog, is that the magazine is shutting down. SS was the very best of the scrapping magazines for me. It focused on the pictures and the story and not on over-embellished pages or the latest trend. They are saying that the Simple Scrapbook ideas and techniques will continue to be shown in Creating Keepsakes, so I am hopeful. I REALLY hope that Stacy Julian will continue to write her wonderful books on the Simple Scrapbook concept. For the saddest commentary on the demise of SS, see Stacy's blog.


To get you in the proper state of mind for Sunday's game, this is Steve Van Buren scoring the winning touchdown for the Eagles over the Cardinals in the 1949 NFL Championship game.


This picture, and the commentary, came today from my friend and former, wonderful boss (from back in the days of happy memory at my job). Yes, he is an Eagles fan- a MAJOR Eagles fan.

I am home from work again, still much too sick to consider going in. I have stopped worrying about that and my only concern is being well enough to attend the funeral tomorrow.

Twice in (relatively) recent years, we've missed funerals- once a wonderful aunt, and once a longtime friend. Both occurred while we were away and not able to get affordable flights to attend at the last minute. I find, still, in both cases a lack of a sense of closure- a trite phrase, but one that really does have meaning after all. Knowing that a funeral happened and participating are most definitely two different things.

So, whatever I feel like tomorrow, I will be there. I am trying to get better- hours spent in bed with the steam humidifier going, seeming gallons of juice and other liquids, meds, whatever I can think of. It would be great if this cold/flu/bronchitis/whatever it is, would start behaving like a 24-hour-bug and just disappear as suddenly as it arrived. Unlikely I know, but we can dream, can't we?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Weirdness on ebay!

I've been an "ebayer" since it first started. I like ebay. I've had very few less than terrific experiences there. I've gotten lots of bargains over the years, and sometimes found things that I could never have gotten anywhere else.

Yesterday I had to leave work early because I was (and still am) too sick to stay on my feet any longer. I didn't want to sleep at 3 in the afternoon for fear of being up in the middle of the night. So, I settled in the recliner with my computer keyboard and decided to go strolling through ebay, not looking for anything in particular.

When I opened ebay I saw the name of the school where my DH teaches on the main page. Out of curiosity I put it into the search and came up with a couple of things connected to his school. That I thought was fun. So, I put in first my high school alma mater (no responses) and then his. Now, how is this for weird? Up came a copy of the yearbook from my DH's year! Now it gets even weirder! I open the auction page, scroll down to see the book- and WHICH PAGE from the senior class pictures has this unknown person halfway across the country chosen to show on ebay??????

YES!!! I am looking at MY DH's graduation picture!!!!!

So, that was my weird ebay experience yesterday!

I'm still feeling pretty awful. I went to work Monday-Wednesday but, like I said, by Wednesday couldn't make it through the day. Obviously I went back before I should have and am now paying the price. Today, after 14 hours sleep last night, lots of meds, lots of liquids, vitamins, you name it, I'm still feeling dreadful. Sitting here with my feet up is as much effort as I can muster.

My dear uncle passed away Tuesday night and the funeral is Saturday. I have to be well enough to stand up to all that that requires, so every effort right now is being put into trying to get better. I'm not even using my rest day at home for anything as strenuous as stamping or stitching- I honestly feel like they would be too much work.

So, I apologize for this getting so boring, but I'm off, back to bed.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Some CTMH news

I really like Close To My Heart. They have wonderful supplies for both scrapbooking and cardmaking- they are, I think, the most balanced company for those of us who like both activities. Their stamps are terrific quality and very diverse in style, their papers are lovely, their kits are beautifully coordinated and all their supplies are great.

So, if you've been wondering about Close To My Heart, here's your chance to find out more with a small investment.

My friend and CTMH consultant, Cindy, is forming a new monthly rewards/hostess club. I'm definitely joining- I love monthly clubs because they keep me on a budget and bring me a package each month.

If you are interested, just check out THIS LINK at her blog. All the info you need is there. Hope to "see you" in the club!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

How About Dem Eagles????

YAY, EAGLES!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kicked the Giants' butts and now it's on to Arizona!!!

I coughed, sniffled and wheezed my way through the game but it was SOOO worth it to hear Merrill- "the Giants fans are walking out of the stadium"- long before the end of the game!

Now back to bed again.

Well, I'm up again- for a little while. Slept away the entire day yesterday. Got up around 8PM to take a shower hoping the steam would clear my head. It was a great idea except that I was so weak I got dizzy and fell.

My wonderful DH decided that since the steam had helped, he would go out on Saturday night and find me a steam humidifier. That worked really well- I slept for almost 12 hours.

The cold is still raging, the sneezing is still frequent but the steam, combined with good old-fashioned Vicks, seems to have worked its magic against the worst of the coughing. Everything hurts, thanks to the fibro-flare.

It is very frustrating to have lost so many days right now. Christmas is still up all over the house; I have tons of school work to do- papers to grade, grades to record, exams to write; Cindy is getting ready to start some stuff with CTMH that I want to be part of; I was determined to put in some time this weekend on Beatrix Potter.

Oh, well. Time for another dose of Nyquil, refill the steamer, and back to bed. I hope I can manage to stay up this afternoon for the big game.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

My plans for this weekend were to start taking down the Christmas decorations and spend a lot of time getting caught up on my blog and all the blogs I normally read.

Well, start with DS having a cold, add in a ton of stress at work, enlarge the picture with a meeting Thursday that raised the stress level to stratospheric, combine a cold in the house with my compromised immune system and my FM- and what you get is the cold from hell with a massive Fibro-flare.

I went to bed on Thursday at 3PM, got up yesterday from 11:30-1:00 PM then again from 7:30-9:00 pm. Today I got up at 8:15 and am now on my way back to bed. Thanks to Nyquil and my FM meds, I've been sleeping the whole time.

So, if recovery appears imminent tomorrow, I'll be back then.

I hope everyone is having a better weekend than me!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I don't think I've ever gone this long between posts before!

At the left is the picture of my "start" on the Beatrix Potter Quaker Sampler. I'm going to work on this as part of an online stitch-a-long. I'm using a piece of ivory linen from Brunner Haus (sadly no longer in business as they retired) which I've been keeping for "something special" as the linen is so gorgeous. The threads are "Tiger Lily" overdyed silks from Victoria Clayton's Hand Dyed Fibers. I'm really excited about this piece and being part of a group where everyone is working the same chart but all with different fabrics and threads. It's really interesting already to see what each stitcher has chosen and it will just get better as we see the pieces develop.

The rest of the week in Florida was mostly quiet. Our road trip home was fun and uneventful. We listened to books-on-tape both directions, finishing the excellent Murder Room by P.D. James and getting about 2/3 of the way through John Grisham's The Partner. Grisham is certainly not the writer that James is, in the sense of the complexity and interest of the writing, but he does tell a really good story.

Reading on the lanai between dips in the spa, I finished a couple of murder mysteries and also the excellent Widow of the South by Robert Hicks. More on that another day.

Back to work meant right back into stress so it's been a long week since we got home- which wasn't really a week ago but feels like months already. The rest of the week looks even worse, so no more about that.

I've got my scrapping weekend at the end of the month- a group of us are going on a weekend run by a Creative Memories rep and I am really looking forward to that. It will be the next installment of the "wedding scrapbook weekend" and maybe this time I will finally have something to actually post.

The Eagles won on Sunday so our playoff time continues, so that will take up another Sunday this week. Wonderful luck is that even if they go FAR (don't want to jinx it, lol), they will not be playing the weekend of my scrap retreat.

Now that Epiphany- the Feast of the Magi- has passed, we can start thinking about taking down the Christmas decorations, so I guess I know what to expect on Saturday.

Time for my evening routine- clothes to steam and lay out, bags (school and hand) to pack, planner to check, phones to charge. Then a little TV, some hot chocolate, and off to bed with some Nyquil- my son has generously shared his cold with me.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas season and wish you all a Happy New Year.