Saturday, December 28, 2013

How I Spent Christmas Day

For my immediate family, Christmas is just another day on the calendar. However, it was a rare occurance of my sister and I having a day off at the same time.

Sissy decided she wanted to run away on a mini-road trip to the beach. Unfortunately, we could not get our collective poop in a group so we decided to take a random road trip - something Sis and I love to do, and Les pretty much just tagged along to get out of the house.

We thought we would head for Layton's Prairie, a local area where Les has old family buried in a local private cemetary somewhere. We thought we would try to find the cemetary and take a few pictures for geneology research. On our way, we saw our old friend, Mt. St. Helens. It was a spectacularly crystal clear day, so we thought we'd head that direction since we would drive right through Layton's Prairie on the way.
Mt. St. Helens as seen from a small local airport on Jackson Hwy.

A lovely view of Mt. Rainier as well

A few miles closer, and a cloud has formed over the top
A small waterfall across the highway from a pullout spot
The "new" bridge built on Hwy 504 on the way to Johnston's Ridge
Some information about the blast zone at the bridge viewpoint
A blow-up of the blast zone map; we were where the black dot in the white circle is - far left side of the map. The black squiggly line is Hwy 504
Getting closer; a view from Elk Rock Overlook
Mt. St. Helens, in all her magnificent glory
Les and Sissy pose for a picture with Mt. St. Helens in the background
Looking down into the valley; just a trickle of a river where a huge lake used to be
Looking closer at the crater
The majestic lady at rest

If you want to learn more about Mt. St. Helens and her eruption, just give it a Google and there is lots of information about it online. I was able to read the actual US Geological department's report of the eruption and all the interesting information about everything that happened before, during, and after the eruption. It is in our library in the Environmental Department at work. Very, very interesting.

We never found Layton's Prairie, but we think we did find the cemetary. Les says it's not the right one, but when I looked the cemetary up online and printed out the list of everyone that is buried there, we think it is the correct one. We'll have to take another day and drive back out there to check it out.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures!


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Disappointment Rebuttal Post

This post is an opposite post. It is the opposite of the negative, down-in-the-mouth post where I discussed the many petty disappointments I was encountering a few weeks ago.

Petty disappointment #1 dealt with my (desperate) need of underwear.

My sister (whom we love v much) went to the Sears Outlet store down by Mom's place. I never find anything there that I like, want, or that fits. She found 10 pairs of underwear that fit me! Huzzah! Disappointment rebuttal!

Petty disappoinment #2 dealt with my discouragement in ordering a Kindle.

In steps benevolent blog reader Deb. She very kindheartedly gave me a $200 gift card so that I could purchase said Kindle. Kindle has been purchased, is lovingly cared for, and wholeheartedly enjoyed to the maximum of the battery charge I cannot even begin to describe the joy this fabulous little piece of 21st century technology has brought into my life. Disappointment SCHOOLED!!
Me, at work, with Kindle. I love it. (Don't know why Blogger is making this picture sideways)
Thank you so much, again, Deb, from the bottom of my heart!!!
(I was going to post a picture of me kissing the Kindle in a sweet, I-heart-my-Kindle sort of way, but they all came out a little...uh...creepy. I try really hard to keep the creep factor to a minimum on this blog, so they've all been deleted.)

To top it all off, when I went to pay the storage bill for both my and Sis' storage units - late, again - the owner only charged me a late charge on one of the units instead of both. On purpose. She was so sweet about it!

Sis has been having fits with her mortgage company lately. It's a long story, so I'll just give you the short version. After approximately eleventy-billion tries, she finally got some payment arrangements made for a missed payment that the mortgage company could actually remember making, and then Sis messed it up because she thought the payment was due on the 20th. Guess what? 15th. All of the other times, the mortgage company was to blame; this time, it was her fault. She felt so horrible about it, but she put her big girl panties on and called. She got a very nice lady with an actual brain (not one of those steampunk ones with the metal wind up key sticking out of it) who worked out a deal that not only makes the payments LESS than they were, but also the payments are now due on the 24th instead (which I have put on my Outlook calendar so I can remind her!).


Erm...yes. So, there you have it. We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.


To all of my blog readers - thanks for reading my blog. You may have noticed a few new tabs across the top; unfortunately, as of this posting, they are mainly empty right now. But that will change.

Whether you celebrate the holidays or whether they are just another uneventful day on the calendar for you, please take care and be safe. The holiday seasons seem to bring out the best in many, but the stupidity in many others. Watch out for drunk drivers (and for Pete's sake, don't be one!) and people that are willing to shoot you for that last sleeping bag with legs. Have a good time, eat some great food, spend time with people you love, and survive to do it all again next year.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Wonderfulness of Strangers

I have something wonderful and completely unexpected to share.

Back on Dec. 5th, I received an email from Deb, one of my blog readers. In part, it read:

"I was just checking to make sure this email was still valid. I'd like to send you an Amazon gift card via email to help towards your Kindle Wish, and want to make sure you get it.[...] Life's full of disappointments sometimes, isn't it? But it's full of wonderful surprises too:-) Hang in there!"

Isn't that sweet? I responded that my email was, indeed, still valid, and thanked her for her offer of a gift card. She sent me a box a books a few years ago, but other than a few traded emails, we don't know each other; neither have we met. I was very touched that A) she reads my blog, and 2) she would be so kind as to offer help in my quest to aquire a Kindle.

Later that day I received the email from Amazon that Deb had sent me a gift card.

A $200 gift card.

Yeah. If you heard a weird noise around 1pm Pacific Time on the 5th, that was the sound of my jaw hitting the floor.

Thank you again, Deb. I ordered that Kindle and it should be here on Friday! I hope this inspires someone, anyone, to do something kind for a stranger (or even a not-so-stranger). This generous act of kindness made me feel hugged, appreciated, gobsmacked, thrilled, choked up, and just plain down-on-my-knees grateful. I told everyone at work and at home about it, and everyone that heard was just as stunned as I. I will think of you every time I use it, Deb! Wheeeeeeeeeeee!


Whew. Hard to top that, eh? Well, here are a few more things that are going on around the homestead.

This is Cheddar, our newest addition:

He is a cat my mother has been feeding for about two years now at her tiny mobile home. It's going to be a very cold winter out here in the Pacific NW, and mom volunteered us to take him in. He is feral (as far as we know) but will let me pet him a little. In this picture, he is hiding behind a bookcase at the end of the hallway. He is currently living behind our washer and dryer (he's eating and using the litter box though, apparently when no one is looking).

And here is Gigi in a little dress my sister bought (god, don't ask). Doesn't she look adorable in it? Mom and Sis have made some simple coats for the boys, but the girls don't really have anything to help them stay warm when it gets chilly in the house. Gigi doesn't really need too much since she has a pretty thick coat, but Sis could not resist this set. There is a little grey and white polka-dotted shirt that goes with it, but Mrs. Weenie wears that (I couldn't get a decent picture of her in it).

She has those great Michelle Obama arms, doesn't she?


As for my cross stitch, I still haven't gotten anything done. It's killing me. My fingers itch to stitch!

I found these cross stitch pattern books in our library system. I may have to purchase the Star Trek one - it's pretty cool! I found a few small patterns scattered in the other books that I may have to try.

Well, that's it for now. I will post pictures of my new Kindle when it arrives (whoo hoo!), and will hopefully have more pictures of Cheddar to show.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Few Petty Disappointments

Today’s post is long and on the negative side, so there’s your warning.

I swear that there is some sort of cosmic alarm out there in the universe that sounds whenever I am about to finally have something, no matter how small, go my way. This week, and especially yesterday, is a prime example.

I need new underwear.

Yes, I said it, it’s out there, deal with it.

All of my underwear is a minimum of six years old and they are all falling apart. And you know what? Underwear is freaking expensive! Especially when your lower body parts are humungous like mine. I FINALLY managed to scrape up the moolah for new undercrackers and got them ordered. They came in last Thursday – not Thanksgiving Day Thursday, but the Thursday before that. Now, we have a PO box because a few years back some little gang of buttheads with nothing better to do with their time (like, oh…getting a JOB) went around stealing mail out of the mailboxes on our road. Sis and Les was targeted, so no more mailbox. Our local post office is only open Monday-Friday from 9am-4:30pm. I work Monday-Friday 7 or 8am-4 or 5pm. They are not open at all anymore on Saturdays. So, I cannot get to the post office to pick up packages that are too big to fit in our PO box. I checked the PO box on Thursday night to see if they were able to squish it in there, and it wasn’t there. I grabbed the mail that was there, hoping on Monday that they would then squish it in there. How big could the bundle be? It is five pairs of underpants in a soft envelope. I know they are big, put it’s not like they are tarp sized. I asked Sissy to pick them up for me on her way home from Portland. She said she would. She didn’t. She was home all day on Tuesday-Thursday, so I asked her everyday if she would PLEASE pick them up for me. She said she would. She didn’t.

I worked on turkey day and Sis and Mom convinced me to drive down to Mom’s after work, spend the night, then go back home on Friday evening since I had that day off. I did, and on Friday Mom and I had a nice time going to the Fabric Depot (where I bought some awesome fabric to make her a tote bag – more on that later) and the new Goodwill store by her house. I didn’t get to go to the cross stitch shop downtown because there was a parade and the Portland Christmas Tree lighting ceremony all right there nearby. No thank you. I had a brain storm and called our local post office and asked the gal there if the package with my unders in it could be stuffed in our box. She said YEP and I was all smiles. I could now pick them up anytime on my way home. And I did. I was so excited to get the package open (I’m a cheap date and easy to please, obviously). I pulled out a pair, and you probably could have put two of me in these enormous, awe-inspiring, colossal underpants. Jeezzy creezzy. So, those will have to go back. No new underwear.

Disappointment number one.

I have also been trying – unsuccessfully – to save up for a Kindle Fire. I have one languishing on my Amazon wish list; since this was the biggest shopping weekend of the year, I thought I would look around to see if they were on QVC or HSN, because they offer the ability to make payments. While I was working on Thursday I went online and discovered that QVC had them on sale, with free shipping, and you could make six payments of about $55 each. Now that I could swing! I was really excited but hesitant (as usual) because I wanted to be sure I could actually swing it. The offer was good through Saturday, so I decided to sleep on it. I couldn’t access the Internet on Friday because I was down at Mom’s, so I got online as soon as I got up Saturday. The deal was gone. Oh, the one I wanted was still available, but no free shipping, and now only five payments. I was bummed that it wasn’t as good of a deal, but I decided to go for it anyway. I got halfway through the purchasing process, when I got an error message saying that I would need to call customer service to complete the transaction. So I called their automated ordering number. Turns out they are all sold out and are on a waitlist status. That meant that IF they got stock in again within the next 45 days, they would ship it to me and then bill me when it shipped. Well, that won’t work for me. The way my budget is set up and how I get paid, I have to be able to know exactly when that bill was going to go through. CRAP. No Kindle for me.

Disappointment number 2.

We have a storm rolling in that is dumping tons of rain and the temperatures will be dropping below freezing for our highs for the next several days, and as a result we will probably get snow and lots of ice. Les discovered that the covers we had for the outside water faucets and for the house vents are all missing, so he needed to go to Home Depot to get more. He could drive himself, but he won’t; plus, he has no money (Sis needs the bank card with her in order to deposit her paycheck and buy groceries down in Oregon). So, I volunteered to take him and help him shop (and obviously purchase) these items. Before we left, we tracked down Jim and asked him to please go get a few bales of straw for the animals, so we could be sure they would be warm and dry during the storm. Surprise, surprise, Jim is broke and didn’t have any money even though he just got his check less than a week ago. He can’t afford the $15 for the straw. So I told him I would pay for them if he would please use his shiny brand-new pickup truck to go pick them up for me (oh yes, did I not mention the new truck? And the new 33 ft trailer he bought? And the fact that he contributes zilch to our house that he uses like a free hotel? No? Well, consider it mentioned now).

Disappointment number 3.

We went to Home Depot and got two small bags of Styrofoam covers. $45 smackeroos.

Disappointment number 4.

I was hungry and so was Les, so we stopped by Carl’s Jr. on the way home. He just wanted a small cheeseburger, and I ordered my favorite Western Bacon Cheeseburger, the kind with BBQ sauce and onion rings on it. Couldn’t wait to get that burger home and inhale it!

We got home, I gave Les his burger and he started eating, but the dogs were hounding me for dinner so I took a half hour and got all the animals fed before I ate. I knew that my burger would be pretty much cold by now but it would still be awesome. I got something to drink and some chips, sat down in the recliner to watch some Sons of Anarchy with Les, unwrapped my burger and found…his cold, slightly soggy, small cheeseburger. Now, Les knew as soon as he unwrapped the burger I handed him that it wasn’t his. The onion rings and bacon would have clued him in before he even took one bite. But did he say anything? Nope. Just chowed down on it without a word.

Disappointment number 5.

Now, I know these are petty things to be disappointed about. I own that. I tried really hard to just let them all slide, even the Kindle thing. I figure there will probably be even better sales the closer we get to Xmas, or even after, but I’ve waited so long for one. And to be disappointed over a hamburger is silly, but when you stack all of these things together, it just makes me kind of...sad.


Although, I did buy some lottery tickets on Saturday. Maybe I should check those out…



Thursday, November 28, 2013

Let's Talk About Books, Baby

If you haven’t noticed, or just in case I haven’t mentioned it enough, I love to read. I cannot sit still without distractions for more than two minutes before I start looking around for something – anything – to read. Want to make the drive-thru lane at Taco Bell move faster? Whip out a book! This also works with those pesky red lights; nothing makes a light change from red to green faster than finding your spot in the book you’re reading.

Where do you find your next book? When I had the money to buy my books at brick & mortar stores, I would wander the sections that interested me, looking at titles and covers. It’s how I chose a lot of my books; something would catch my eye, I’d read the synopsis, and if it sounded good, I bought it. I still do this, but now it’s at the library. The problem is that our library is about the size of a 7-11, so there’s not as much to choose from.

In swoops my saving grace – a freebie magazine that the library hands out called, “Book Page”. It features the newest releases in all kinds of genres: fiction and non-fiction, young adult, children’s, cooking, audio, romance, mystery, etc. There are author interviews, my favorite one being in the children’s books section where the author gives his answers in pictures. I LURVE this little magazine and after snatching it up I dutifully study it cover to cover, turning down the corners of pages and marking books that I am interested in. Then I go to my library’s website and search for those books. At times I have had 20+ books on hold, waiting for them to arrive; one time I had six books come in all at once! YIKES! If they are really new and other people have holds on them, you can’t renew them. I had a bunch of overdue fines that month! If your library doesn’t have this little gem, you can check it out online at

Here are the books from the October issue that I am going to check out:

This House is Haunted by John Boyne
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Identical by Scott Turow
Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas
One Summer by Bill Bryson (a rare non-fiction choice for me)

I recently finished The Cuckoo’s calling by Robert Galbraith, aka J.K. Rowling. I never read any of the Harry Potter books, but I did read her other book, The Casual Vacancy, a while back. I liked this book a lot, and I hope she writes a couple more as sequels. I enjoyed the way she has an eye for detail, and I liked the characters.

I also put a bunch of different cross stitch books on hold – I can’t wait for those to come in! Here they are:

All Our Yesterdays: 33 Charming Designs From Bygone Days by Faye Whittaker
Art Nouveau Cross Stitch by Barbara Hammet
The Art of William Morris in Cross Stitch: Over 40 Projects Inspired by the Design Master by Barbara Hammet
Oriental Cross Stitch by Debbie Minton
Star Trek Cross Stitch: Explore Strange New Worlds of Crafting by John Lohman
Twisted Stitches: 30 Corrupt Cross Stitch and Embroidery Designs by Phil Davison

What are you reading these days?

I plan on going to Portland tomorrow to visit a cross stitch store I found online – very, very excited about this. I also want to visit the Fabric Depot to look for fabrics for some purses I’d like to try my hand at. It is THE most awesome fabric store around, and this is coming from someone who knows pretty much zilch about sewing. I’ll let you know how it went.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

WIP pics - finally!

Well, whatever problems Blogger was having with my computer, they seem to have finally called a truce. Now I can finally share my cross stitch progress pictures! Yay!

My current project is a HAED pattern called Poppy Puss. I started it sometime in late 2011 and was pretty happy with my progress. However - and here I am blaming poor vision and horrible lighting to work by - I discovered that I had made so many mistakes that I could not really continue comfortably. I'm willing to let the odd counting mistake go, but the amount I had was really going to make things difficult to make things work out in the end. So I got rid of my contact lenses and discovered that I could see much better up close without any help at all, and bought myself a really good Ott lamp. Then I ripped out all of my progress, and with some tips that I picked up from some other blogs, I started over.

Here is where I was when I decided to rip it all out:

I'm sure you can imagine my angst at spending an entire day pulling out all of those stitches. But, I felt it had to be done, so there you are. I started over and this time used a water-soluable ink pen to mark the grid on the fabric. I was really amazed at how much that helps! Here is my progress to date:

If you look closely, you can still see the shadow of the other stitches I pulled out. They should be erased by either the new stitches, or the final washing once the project is completed. Cross your fingers for me!

My other project is a Country Sampler. Here is my progress so far on that one:

You may recall that I have mentioned that my bedroom is actually a storage room with a bed in it? It makes it very difficult to stitch in that environment. I cannot sit on the bed and stitch because it makes my back ache; I can't sit in the living room and stitch because I can't keep the dogs off my lap; the dining room is also out because the lighting is horrible, and that Ott lamp weighs too much to carry around the house. I got sick of it one day and decided to find a niche in my room somewhere; and here it is:

It's not pretty, but there is a window behind the chair that lets in some nice natural light, and combined with the Ott light, I see quite well!

Well, despite the truce, it has taken me bloody ages to do this post. I was going to talk about books, but I think I will do that post tomorrow since there won't be any pictures in it to mess with.

Take care!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Down but not completely out

Well, so much for the blogging everyday thing. I caught the dreaded crud Les was infesting around the house, and I still have a cough that is capable of making me pee my pants at any given time. The slightest physical activity, like…oh, blinking, makes me cough. Thinking about blinking makes me cough. I am really, really tired of it.

So, I didn’t get any sewing done over the last few weeks. In fact, I haven’t gotten much of anything done over the last few weeks! I did finish Omens; it was not the kind of story I thought it was going to be, but I did enjoy it. And it left you hanging, so now I have to read the next book as well. I didn’t finish the John Le Carre book; I just find his style of writing to be kind of hard to get into, and can be a little hard to follow at times. Maybe it was because I was sick; I dunno. I also read Dr. Sleep, Stephen King’s newest. This was a follow up to The Shining, and followed the little boy – Daniel – into his adulthood. It was good, I enjoyed it. My experience (many times) is that his novels start out well, get either really weirdly out there or really off center and preachy in the middle, then either ends with a great twist or with a bit of an irritating fizzle (as in Under The Dome). This was pretty consistent all the way through, though the end didn’t have as big of a climax as I was expecting. Still gets two thumbs up from me.

I have now started a book by a new author to me: Sleep with the Lights On by Maggie Shayne. It appears that most of her books have been in the vampire/paranormal type genre, but this more of a detective/horror series. The follow up, Wake to Darkness, won’t be released until December, but I already have it on hold at the library.

I was so disappointed in myself this weekend. My bedroom is a complete sty that looks like a tornado hit it. I am famously terrible at being tidy, and to add to that, it is one way my depression manifests its self. So, I mapped out my entire weekend hour by hour to be sure I worked on cleaning and also my sewing. I overslept both mornings and only got a handful of things done. But, you can see my nightstand for the first time in about eight months, so there is a small amount of smug patting of one’s back going on. I joined a website called (most members seem to be in the UK, South Africa, and Australia) because there are absolutely zero groups to join locally. I’m still trying to get pictures of my work onto my blog, and will keep trying.

Well, that’s it for now. Hopefully will have more to talk about next time.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fall(ing) Down and Embracing Failure

Oprah Winfrey said, "So go ahead. Fall down. The world looks different from the ground." Do you embrace failure?

Here is the definition of the word “embrace”:

1. hold (someone) closely in one's arms, esp. as a sign of affection.
Synonyms: hug, take/hold in one's arms, hold, cuddle, clasp to one's bosom, clasp, squeeze, clutch.
2. accept or support (a belief, theory, or change) willingly and enthusiastically.
Synonyms: welcome, welcome with open arms, accept, take up, take to one's heart, adopt.

So in a word, no. I do not embrace failure.

Do I own my own failures? Yes.

Am I afraid to fail? Yes. And no. And sometimes.

Is it OK to fail? Yes.

I have let the fear of failure hold me back in life. I admit that, but I don’t embrace it. I have zero affection for failure. I do not accept it willingly, and I sure as hell don’t accept it enthusiastically. I have tried my best to learn from it, and I have enthusiastically attempted to not repeat it.

I think Oprah was trying to say that failure can give one a different perspective on things. Failure is not always a horrible thing. Thomas Edison was credited with saying, “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” This way of thinking is much healthier than “I’ve failed, so I’ll quit.” And since good ol’ Tommy boy didn’t actually invent most of what he is credited with inventing, you can bet he was paying attention to other’s failures and pounced on them when they either decided they enjoyed snorting sod, or just took a little too long to get back up.

But it’s true; sometimes laying on the ground, letting the ants crawl on you and smelling the dirt can help you see what you’ve been missing – or what you were just at the wrong angle to see. “Ah HA! My driveline is broken, and that is why I plowed into that tree. I am not a bad driver after all. Hey, dude, don’t step on that – that’s my spleen.”


So, I had to take poor Snoopy into the vet on Saturday. On Thursday I went to rub his ears and he yipped. I felt so bad! After that, I noticed he seemed continuously puzzled about things. Then I realized it’s because he has his head tipped to the right. And he was digging in his right ear. So I made the appointment and took him in to our beloved vet’s office; seriously, the best vet I have ever made acquaintance with. Sure enough, double ear infection. $145 later and I'm out the door with a wash to go in both ears, a liquid medication for both ears, and an oral antibiotic. That poor dog, every time he’d make eye contact with me, he ran. I was afraid that he would hate me forever! But Monday night he got up on the couch and snuggled up to me, falling asleep on my leg for about two hours. And he still greets me at the gate when I get home from work, bless his little pea-picken’ heart. Because, you know, I feed him.

Les has a bad cold, and I’m trying to keep my distance from him. I have had a sore tonsil for about a week and a half, and I’m trying to stave off any crud that could be coming in my direction. I don’t get paid sick days, so I try to call out sick very sparingly. However, I refuse to be “that guy” who comes to work because they can’t afford to stay home, then infects every person they work with. Hopefully, if I have to succumb and stay home, it will be a Friday or a Monday. ‘Cause we just got AmazonPrime, and they have soooooooooooooo many things I want to watch!!!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The First Person I Fell For

Today's question is: tell us about the first person you "fell" for.

He was my first real boyfriend. We met when we were both in the 6th grade; we were the same religion and met where we worshipped - although to be perfectly honest, I don't remember how old we were when I actually noticed him. 13? 14? We officially began dating when we were 16.

Everytime I saw him, my heart tingled and I had butterflies in my stomach. I soon learned which of my dresses he liked best, and I always wore my highest heels around him. We had the same sense of humor, and we were both in the marching band, although we went to rival high schools. He's wicked smart and even though we were the same age, he graduated two years ahead of me. That was great because then he started helping with the colorguard so he was able to go on band trips with me. There was quite a bit of lip-locking going on, but we never went any further than that. Even when we really, really wanted to.

We had planned to get married, but things don't always go as planned. He married someone else - I won't go into any of that, it's the past and water under the bridge -just suffice it to say it shattered me. I found him on Facebook many years ago, and we keep in contact that way; he apologized to me for how things ended. I accepted.

And you know - truthfully?

He married the right person.

They have been happily married for more than 25 years; they have done missionary work in Samoa. It makes me happy that he is happy.

Now, if someone would please send Johnny Dep my way, I'd appreciate it.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Today's subject: love.

Today's NaBloPoMo question is: Tell us about falling in love: what does it feel like?
I think that I can honestly say: I don’t have a freaking clue.

I have only been in love twice. Once when I was 17, and later in my mid-20’s.

Sometimes I think that those ages are too young to really know what love is. I know that there are those who marry their high school sweet heart right out of high school and stay married for 80 years, but I think those lucky people are the exceptions to the rule. I think that the love I felt was more like infatuation rather than true love. I think that is what most of it is at that age.

In my case, the love that was felt was pretty much one-sided (my side). My first love didn’t start out that way, but it did end that way. The second time it was all just me.

I haven’t had the love experience since. It’s been a mighty long dry spell.

I dunno. It’s a sore subject for me. I’d very much like to be in love; two-way love, reciprocated love.


Friday, October 11, 2013

The Great Fall Pie Question: Apple or Pumpkin?

That is today’s NaBloPoMo question in a nutshell. To be honest, my answer is BOTH! (Did I mention the weight loss blog with zero weight loss blogged? Juuuuust checking.)

I love a really deep, moist, juicy apple pie with either the double crust or lattice work on top. But I detest, protest, and despise a double-crusted deep dish apple pie that is nothing but four inches of air between the apple filling and the underside of that upper-crust. There is a restaurant out here that shall remain unnamed that does that and I cry a POX on their house! A POX I TELL YOU! There is just something so evil about displaying a pie that is 4 inches tall, then revealing that the filling is about ½ inch thick and the rest is air. In complete contrast, I have a recipe somewhere for Four & Twenty Blackbirds’s Caramel Apple Pie; layer after layer after layer after layer of sweet, juicy apples bubbling away in a caramel sauce…….

Sorry. I went away there for a moment…what were we talking about?

Ah, yes, pie. You can find Four & Twenty Blackbirds’s website here, or if you are in Brooklyn you can visit them at:

439 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11215
Corner of 8th street and 3rd Avenue
Park Slope / Gowanus
(718) 499 2917

I have never been there, myself, but I watched a story about them on the Food Network a couple of years ago, and I swear I could smell the pie through the TV. If you go to their site, click on the PIES tab and check out the flavors they offer. This season, in addition to the Salted Caramel Apple, they have an Apple Pear Rose and a Salty Honey Custard. Oooooooh man, it’s a good thing I don’t live out there. I’d be in pie heaven!

Now, about pumpkin pie. Love, love, love, LOVE me some good ol’ punkin’ pie. Especially cold for breakfast! I actually prefer my pumpkin pie either chilled or room temperature; not so keen on it hot out of the oven for some reason. I adore the humungous pumpkin pies you can get a Costco around Thanksgiving. I am not too proud to admit to eating those directly out of the tin with a spoon. (Did I mention the weight loss blog? Yes? Just double checking.) I remember the one time my dad tried to trick me into eating Sweet Potato Pie; have I mentioned on here how my hate for sweet potatoes burns as intensely as ten thousand suns? To say that I hate them is an understatement; kind of like saying the Pacific Ocean is a damp puddle. Anyway, I saw right through that. And even though he died over 30 years ago, I still haven’t forgiven him for it.

Wow. So…yeah. That’s my opinion about pie.


I finished Inferno today at lunchtime. It was a really good read; would probably make a good movie. I hope they don’t make a movie though, because they already screwed up the last two, and three would just be – I dunno – sad. Omens will now be my work-lunchtime book, and I started the newest book by John Le Carré - A Delicate Truth - last night.

Hopefully I will get some work done on Poppy Puss this weekend, and maybe if I hold my mouth just right, Blogger will actually let me post some pictures of it. AND maybe my new pattern – Ra Ra and the Grasshopper – will arrive as well.

Well, I guess that’s it for now.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

To Jump, Or Not To Jump, Into What is the Question

Today’s NaBloPoMo question is: Which is better to jump in: a leaf pile or a puddle?

I had to think about that one. I would have to choose the puddle, mostly for ridiculous reasons.

I love the youthful idea of being outside in a super cute pair of Wellies, jumping around in puddles like a hyperactive Mexican jumping bean. I’m not afraid to get a little wet; I won’t melt. Unless it’s cold, then I HATE to be wet. But I’m getting off the subject.

The only drawback to jumping into a puddle is when it’s not a puddle, but a four foot deep hole, abandoned well, mineshaft, or similar. That would totally harsh my buzz.

As for leaf piles, they seem all fun and soft and everything, until someone either jumps out of one and makes you soil yourself; piles the leaves up around a fire hydrant and you expose your brain by cracking open your noggin; or you gleefully jump in and make leaf angels, only to discover that you are now covered with slugs. Or dog poop.


Don’t ask me how I know about these things; sometimes one’s childhood is just too depressing to talk about.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Just a quick note

Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit - Blogger has decided to bestow upon me a window of opportunity to post a few pictures and edit a few things on my side bar!

Woo hoo!

So please scroll down a few posts and see where I have added a few pictures, and please to be introduced to our doggies that have been added to the side bar on the right. I'll add pictures of our cats, Teddy and Miss Muffin at the next available opportunity.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

Wordless Wednesday - Autumn in a Picture

Via Google Image

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Sounds of Autumn

Today’s NaBloPoMo question is:

Which sound is more satisfying for you: crunching leaves underfoot or bubble wrap popping?
I would have to go with the sound of crunching leaves underfoot. I’m not sure I can put into words the exact reason why, but I’ll try.

The crunching of leaves underfoot brings to my mind a feeling of youth and freedom. I guess at some point when I was a kid, I ran headlong along a trail through the trees, kicking leaves and crunching them underfoot as I went.

The sound of bubble wrap popping kinda makes me nuts.

Now, don’t get me wrong on the subject of popping bubble wrap! Sis and I have often thought that we could be zillionaires by opening our own “counseling” practice, wherein patients simply rolled around or stomped on big sheets of bubble wrap. And that’s it. No talking, no reading, no special “growing” or “learning” exercises, no medication of any kind; just yards and yards of bubble wrap to pop however the patient saw fit. $150 an hour. I’d just get some really, really good noise cancelling headphones. Hell, if Dr. Oz can make it rich by doing what he does…Oprah? You out there, girl?


Nothing else new to report; still reading the same book, haven’t been able to work on Poppy Puss this week yet.

You know what I really want to do? Open an Etsy store, or sell some things at a local store here in our super-dinky indent on the highway. I want to make money from my cross stitch somehow, and not by selling my patterns and stash!

I love to make jewelry, greeting cards, etc. I’m not fabulous, but I think I do pretty well. My niece has an Etsy store (please do check it out here), and she is not necessarily getting rich or anything, but really enjoys it.

Does anyone out there make an income this way? Any pointers for a newb like me? Feel free to email me if you don’t want to leak your secrets in the comments section. I’d really appreciate any suggestions you may have. TIA!


Why oh why do all the Powerball winners live east of the Mississippi? I don’t even have to win the whole pot! I’ll gladly share it!

Hello?? Powerball gods, are you listening?

{crickets} {more crickets} {lone wolf howling}



Monday, October 7, 2013

What kind of apple would you be?

So, how was your weekend? It was bee-you-tee-ful out here! Gorgeous blue skies with a few clouds, windy as heck, hot in the sun. Mrs. Weenie and Gigi did some serious sun worshipping by lying in the grass and offering up their tummies for baking. After all the rain during the week, this sumptuous break was good for everyone. Les worked out back on Sunday in the raised planting beds and managed to completely clear one of them of all the overgrown weeds. He will probably sleep for three days straight making up for that, but he felt really good about it.

Still reading Inferno; can’t put it down. Still haven’t read anymore of Omen yet. I’m about half-way through Inferno; took it with me on my Saturday errands and read it while having lunch at a favorite mom-and-pop diner. We love this little diner, but I’m glad Sis and Les weren’t with me this time; I was a bit disappointed in them.

There was a new-to-me waitress working there, and she seemed to be pretty on the ball. Keep in mind, this is a very small establishment with only one or two waitresses (one is the owner) and one cook/busboy. I noticed one customer had been trying to get her attention for several minutes. Finally, he just got up and walked over to the coffee machine – that got her attention! As she looked over, he hollered, “Do you mind if I just go ahead and help myself to a refill?” She just shrugged and said, “Sure.”

Then, when she came to take my order, I ordered a bacon cheeseburger and asked if I could get sautéed mushrooms on it. Sure – no problem. When the burger came, it had sautéed onions, not mushrooms. I checked the bill she had slapped down on the table when she delivered my plate, and sure enough – she had written it down wrong. After getting down towards the bottom of my fries, I found a hair on the plate (which I doubt had anything to do with the waitress, but ewwwww…). Finally, I decided that I would like to have a piece of their awesome pie. It took me almost 15 minutes to finally get her attention. She was a master at the eye-contact avoidance and hand-wave ignoring. I should have done what the coffee-refill guy did and just holler to get her attention, but that’s just not me. I would have complained to the owner, but she had left by the time I put in my initial order, and I figured complaining to this gal would not do any good. When I went up to the front counter to pay my bill, she had her resume and a job application out on the counter.

That kind of explained everything.

Other than that, it was a pleasant weekend. I got most of my laundry done (why, WHY do I wait until I am out of underwear and socks to do laundry? Why?) and got to work on Poppy Puss some more. Still can’t post pictures. Still working on a solution.


So, today’s question from NaBloPoMo* is:

If you were an apple, which type of apple (Granny Smith, Gala, Red Delicious, etc) would you be and why?

These types of questions are so weird. But, I guess I would be a Honey Crisp. This is my favorite variety, and the name says it all. Very crisp, like a Granny Smith, but so sweet, unlike a Granny Smith. Very little pucker factor here, and lots of apple-y flavor. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Granny Smith apple pie, but I’ll go with HC for snacking any time. Unfortunately they are seasonal and not available everywhere. I don’t really know if I could say why I would want to be this type of apple. I guess I could say that I am normally a very sweet person; but if you aren’t careful, you could experience the crisper side of my personality.

Which, I suppose, is a very lame way of saying that I am a nice person pretty much all the time, unless you piss me off. Then heaven help you.


*It's so funny; I keep wanting to call this Nostromo. I guess the ship from the original Alien movie has settled deep into my subconscious mind. Should I be concerned?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Today's NaBloPoMo question does not apply

Q: Tell us about your favorite Halloween costume from childhood.

As far as I know, I never had one. We didn’t celebrate Halloween, so zero costumes for me.

So, since I can’t really write about the question for today, I am instead going to whine about the fact that I didn’t get the job I thought I was going to get. So much for trying not to be negative!

This job was so perfect for me; it literally looked like a cut and paste from my resume. They even told me, and both my first and second interviews, how perfect I was for the position. I had all the skills, and they were impressed with my experience. It was down to just a few people, and I was top of the list.

So why did they give the job to someone else?

They couldn’t even call me to tell me; they called the house and left a message on the answering machine. So my sister got to tell me.

I. Am. Crushed.

I tried so hard not to get my hopes up too high, but after all the praise they heaped on me after the second interview, it was not hard to get them up a little. I tried hard not to think about the more fuel-efficient car I’d be able to afford, and how I would only have to get gas once a week instead of twice a week. I tried not to think about how there would actually be some money left over after paying bills that I could buy some decent clothes with, and how I could finally save up the money for the Kindle HD Fire that I’d really like to have. And I tried not to acknowledge that the little bit of hope I felt about possibly giving my two week notice was all that was getting me out of bed to go to the job I hate every morning this week.

Epic fail. I cried all the way home. And in the driveway. And some more at home.

Today I just wanted to stay in bed with the covers pulled up over my head. I just couldn’t face coming back to work knowing that for now, there was no light at the end of the tunnel. I cried all the way into work.

I’m doing better now, but I’m still crushed. It’s like when a flower gets crushed underfoot; some of the petals pop right back up, some gradually recover, and the bulk of the flower stays crushed. That’s where I am right now.


Well, that’s enough of that.

I’m still reading Inferno and I’m really enjoying it. I like Dan Brown’s books; they’re like a scavenger hunt! I also like how I can look up the paintings and places involved on the Google so that I understand what’s happening just a little better. One of the items on my Amazon wish list is the illustrated copy of The Da Vinci Code. I know the plot is strictly fiction, but having the paintings, etc. involved in the story right there in the book would be awesome.

I haven’t read anymore of Omen yet, but I plan to make that my weekend reading project.


HAED is having an unannounced 50% of sale through the 12th, so I went over there to treat myself with something from my wish list. Here is the pattern I bought, called Ra Ra and the Grasshopper:

I’m wondering if I should stitch it on black fabric instead of stitching all of that black. What do you think?

I’m also considering running away to Mom’s this weekend. There are two stitchery stores downtown that I’d like to check out, but I hate sleeping at Mom’s. Her place is so tiny and there are no extra beds; Sis sleeps on the single fold out couch, and I have to sleep in a chair. It’s doable, but I won’t be diggin’ it.

Well, that is all the news for today. Hopefully I will find a way this weekend (if I don’t go to Mom’s) to post some pictures. If Blogger and my computer feel like cooperating, that is. It's kinda like Congress right now. We shall see.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Will you dress up for Halloween? What will you be?

Woo hoo! I figured out how to get line breaks in so that I have paragraphs again! YAY! Now I'll go back and edit the other posts so they don't look like such a hot mess.

Anyhoo, the short answer to the first question is: No. The longer answer, if you are interested, is: No. I have never celebrated Halloween, and I am too old and fat to start now. Well, maybe not too old, but definitely too fat. Unless I wanted to dress up as a can of lard. Or a carton of ice cream. If, however, I decided to stuff the guilt of celebrating a holiday and if I was thinner, I think I would dress up as Amy Farrah Fowler from The Big Bang Theory. She is a hoot and a half!

Speaking of dressing up and the BBT, have you noticed how each character, with the exception of Penny and Berndette, has a very specific layered dress pattern? Sheldon is usually dressed in layers of a long-sleeved t-shirt with some sort of short-sleeved t-shirt over it that has a superhero theme or math/science theme to it. Leonard wears an undershirt, then a t-shirt, then a hoodie/canvas coat combo (the exception was when he was dating Priya, and he had the dreaded pants made from a wool/fire ant blend). Raj wears an undershirt, then a long-sleeved button down the front shirt, then a sweater vest, then a Members Only jacket. Howard wears a dickie with a different pin each time, with usually a long-sleeved shirt (either T or button down), with the same pants every time just in corresponding colors to his shirt(s) along with the same shoes every time that usually match his pants. He also only owns one belt, but hundreds of superhero themed belt buckles. Amy wears a skirt, stockings, a t-shirt, a button down shirt, and a cardigan.

Yeah, I watch waaaaay too much BBT. I am SO glad there isn’t a 12-step program for that!


As for cross stitching, nothing new to show (as if Blogger would let me post a picture!). Sissy came home on Monday, so anytime she is home, I try to just spend time with her. Even if we are just watching a movie, that's OK. I can't stitch out in the living room because the lighting is so bad, and there are usually 3-4 little doggies that want to crash on my bouncy-house body. I'd really like to open an Etsy shop and do personalized baby samplers. What do you think?


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

NaBloPoMo, October – Day 2: Favorite Autumnal Flavor

As I stated in my post yesterday, I do love just about anything on the sweets side made with pumpkin. I don’t like pumpkin prepared as a vegetable (as I hate all veggies), but put it in something with sugar, add spices like cinnamon, ginger, or cloves and I am a happy camper!

My other favorite autumnal flavor is caramel. But, to be fair, I love (luuuuurve) caramel any time. On practically anything. Heck, maybe instead of trying to get veggies down me by smothering them with cheese and/or butter, maybe I should try smothering them in caramel instead!

Ha ha!


But seriously, caramel makes everything wonderful. I am really into the salted caramel fad now as well. Safeway makes a Salted Caramel Butter Pecan ice cream that makes my toes curl. And if you combine something pumpkin and something caramel?


Did I mention I also write a weight loss blog that is currently not showing any weight loss? Yeah. Probably not a huge surprise right now, huh?

What about you? What is your favorite autumnal flavor?


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A new challenge for me - NaBloPoMo

Still having issues with Blogger and my computer (even my computer at work). I think the main issue is that my home and work computer both run Internet Explorer, and the highest version on both computers is IE8. I can't run anything higher on my home computer due to having Windows XP, and I certainly can't change what we run here at work. So, I'll just have to make do until I can figure something out.

I have finished reading Joyland and NOS4A2; just cracked Omens and have read several chapers in Inferno. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a really small book - only 178 pages! I am almost finished with it (page 139), and it's a different type of read for me. A children's tale for adults, basically. I like it. I also got several cross-stitch books from the library, and have a few patterns that I may use. Hopefully, someday I'll even get to post some pictures!

Speaking of cross stitch, I completely ripped out all of my Poppy Puss project and started over. I will have to say, putting the pattern's grid directly onto the fabric has really helped. It took me all day Saturday to rip out all of my work (sniff, sob). I put on seasons one and two of The Tudors and ripped out stitches until Anne lost her head. I've started re-stitching, and I am much happier.

So. This new challenge is NaBloPoMo for October. It is a themed challenge, and the goal is to post everyday (except weekends) in response to a prompted question. The theme for October is "Fall". Here is my first question and offical NaBloPoMo post!

Q: What is your favourite thing about autumn?

I love the smells of autumn. I love the smell of anything pumpkin baking: bread, cake, pie. Add cinnamon or cloves and I am in heaven.

I also just love the smell of the air. I love it when it's finally cool enough for people to start using their fireplaces or woodstoves, and how you can smell the smoke from a mile away. When I smell that smoke, I am transported back in time to when I was in elementary school - grade 1 or 2. We lived for a short while with my grandmother in Monroe, WA, during the fall and winter. Whenever I went outside - playing or waiting for the school bus - I could smell those fires. And when I got home from school, my grandmother's house smelled heavenly from her freshly made applesauce, with Red Hots candies mixed in it. Mmmmmmmmmm...

I love the crisp scent of the air just after a fall rain, mingling with the tang of fallen and wet leaves. And lord knows we get quite a bit of that fall rain out here in the Pacific NW.

And winter rain.

And spring rain.

Let's face it - we don't tan out here, we rust.

But it's that crispness - like biting into a Granny Smith apple, that SNAP - is like nothing else. I love it when the sky is clear and blue, no clouds, too warm for your coat in the sun but the air so cool it makes your nose run.

Those are my favorite things about autumn.

Oh, and Halloween candy. Just sayin'.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Picking up where I left off

Looking back at my last several posts, I feel that they were pretty negative. Sorry about that! I'm going to try to focus more on the positive, and just try to get into the groove of sharing some things that I am doing - like hobbies, what I'm reading, sharing photos - stuff like that. I'll still tell you how I'm feeling, but I'm going to try to be less of a Debbie Downer. OK? Cool. There have been a few things that have happened since my last post. Here is a quick run down:

1. Still working for the same place, still hating it. Went on a job interview last week on 9/10, still waiting for the company to make a decision. More money, less miles, happier me.

2. Les had a humongous blockage in an artery in his neck about 6 months ago. He had two small strokes behind his eye that they can see on a MRI, but he hasn't had any lasting effects. Fortunately they were able to get him into surgery and remove the blockage in time. He has healed up very nicely.

3. Sissy has congestive heart failure and an enlarged heart. Starting around March, her asthma just seemed out of control; by August she couldn't walk ten feet without having to stop to catch her breath (which just couldn't be caught). I finally convinced her that she must go back to the doctor, and that is when her diagnosis was caught. With water pills and a practically non-existant (as opposed to low) sodium diet, she has recovered really well and is about 85% back to her old self.

4. The goats finally went home to Jeremy's. He and his family have a new home, and we just could not keep the goats anymore. They needed to have their hooves attended to, especially Megatron, and we just could not provide adequate shelter for them. I am glad they are with their family now, and I don't lay in bed at night worrying about them anymore.

5. I managed to complete two school quarters; I took an algebra class, Human Relations (very interesting), File Management (lame), and an English class that kicked my butt. I loved every minute of it. I have to put it on hold for now because I ran out of financial aid, and trying to work full time 55 miles from home and attend classes at night 25 miles the other direction from home was a bit much for me. We shall see what the future holds as far as that is concerned.

6. There has been some drama with Jim over the last several months, and Les has come very close to tossing him out of the house. Frankly, I am so over it and tired of talking about it that I'm not going to discuss it in detail here (at least not right now). Suffice it to say, he is kind of on probation right now, and is currently minding his P's and Q's.

So, that's what has been going on in a nutshell. Now. Onto the new leaf. 


I love to cross stitch. I have been doing it since I was about 12. The bad thing is that I can count on one hand how many projects I have actually completed. (Bad) I love to collect patterns, and the other bad thing is that I now have enough patterns to last me for the rest of my life, plus an additional good 60 years or so. I have wish lists on Heaven and Earth Designs' website and ABC Stitch Therapy's website that are about 50 patterns so far - each. Yikes. I found some excellent blog sites and have learned quite a bit from them. There are whole blogs dedicated to stitching Heaven and Earth Designs (HAED's) and I am going to use a bunch of the tips that I have picked up from that site. I have learned about SALs (stitch a longs), WIPs (works in progress), and confetti. I have learned about mapping out the grid of the pattern directly onto your fabric with a water soluble markers so that it's much easier to keep your place and not make mistakes. I have a HAED pattern that I started last year; I was working on it and have come to the heartbreaking decision that I'm going to have to rip it all out (known as frogging) and start all over. I've just made too many mistakes to be able to fudge it, and I want it to be done correctly. Here is what it will look like when it's done:
Poppy Puss by HAED

And now, Blogger will not let me left justify my text. Sheesh. Anyhoo, here is how far I had gotten before I realized that I was going to have to tear it all out and start again from scratch:

Bazinga. Blogger won't let me load the picture.

I think I'm beginning to remember why I haven't been blogging. Oh well. I still need to fiddle fart around with this and see if I can't bypass the problems.  I will post pictures when I figure something out. So, in the meantime, I'm working on a sampler from Jeanette Crews Designs called "Country Sampler". Let's see if I can post a picture of it:

Well, what do you know, it worked! And my text is left justified again!  I have finished the E (eggs) and the D (duck); I'm nearly finished with the C (cat). (And on a side note, I never realized until now that there is a VW Bug in the background. Huh.)  I'm not exactly sure when I started working on this; I think it may have been last year some time.


I had been tracking my reading on the sidebar, but it is now woefully out of date. I'm going to leave the books on there, but will add my most recent to it and will mention them here in the blog itself.

Books I am currently reading:

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill - almost finished with it. I feel this one reads much more like a Stephen King novel than his other books, and I am kind of disappointed by that. (Joe is Stephen's son, just in case you weren't aware.) But, it is still a good read, and not quite as "out there" as SK's books can be.

Joyland by Stephen King - speak of the devil (no pun intended). Just started but is already showing classic signs of a SK novel.

Omens by Kelley Armstrong - just picked up from the library today and haven't started it yet. A 24 year old woman with a great life discovers she is adopted, and her real parents are notorious serial killers serving life sentences. She seeks the truth about her parents, and of course, there are those that have issues with that.

Books I have read recently:

I love books by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, especially the Pendergast series. I have read them all, and I have been 90% pleased with them. There were a couple that I felt were not really up to par, and they were kind of like the 2nd Matrix movie - just a bridge between the first and the third, without any real merit of their own. I didn't feel that way about the last three I read: Cold Vengence, Two Graves, and the first of their new series - Gideon's Sword.

I also read Alafair Burke's novel If You Were Here, and I highly recommend it. It was one where I thought I pretty much had everything figured out, but there was still a twist I didn't see coming. I started to read The Execution of Nora P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver, but I had so many books checked out at once that were not renewable, that I had to turn this one in before I even got the first chapter read. It is going back on my waiting list at the library.

I currently have seven novels on hold with the library; The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman is currently on its way, and the following are still waiting for my turn: A Delicate Truth by John LeCarre, Inferno: a novel by Dan Brown, the Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes, Doctor Sleep by Stephen King, White Fire by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, and The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling).

Well, due to the problems with Blogger and my very slow "high speed" internet connection, it has taken me about three hours to do this post. I'm tired. I want to go to bed now. As soon as I can, I will post new pictures of our critters and my cross stitch projects; maybe we can talk out what we are watching on the boob tube these days.

Smell ya later. TTFN.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Are you still out there?

Hi there - I know, I know...worst.blogger.ever. I'm so sorry. I have every intent to start up again, but Blogger has decided that my operating system no longer works for them and I am having a devil of a time trying to post anything. I am currently posting this from my sister's laptop, but I hate typing on it and I can't post any of my pictures from here.

Please be patient, and I promise that as soon as I have something worked out, I will be back.