Happy Halloween :)

Nothing like following a dreadfully depressing day with a holiday, eh?

My children love Halloween, like most children. Daughter is 13 and I don't see any time in the future where she won't want to dress up and go out for Halloween. This year, her father supplied her with a pirate costume as she was headed over there for the weekend.

My son, however, was determined to dress up as a ghost (he's 5). I'm the kind of parent that prefers homemade costumes rather than something "off the rack" and the more creative the better! For Z's costume we used one of my long-sleeved white t-shirts and I used white and black makeup for his face. I also "spiked" his blonde hair and he was looking pretty ghost-like!

Yes, I have pictures, unfortunately my ISP is having some issues uploading them tonight....

I will probably be short on entries for the next couple of weeks with my in-laws coming in tomorrow. Might sneak a few in during the day, just to keep a few updates in! I'd hate to lose you all because I'm not updating :)

Happy Halloween, Samhain, All Hallows, whatever you celebrate...I'm off to clean a bit more for company!



Today was layoff day.

I have to say it was far worse than I expected. Sitting dutifully in my cube attempting to focus on work-related tasks and hearing names whispered in the hallway as those chosen were able to communicate *very* briefly to their coworkers their name as they were led out the door...

My group was hit with a 15% reduction, 3 people total. One name we all knew (and so did she as she elected to call in "sick" today rather than face the music...arrgh). The other two were a bit of a surprise - they will be missed.

Outside my group the losses were far deeper. My favorite project manager and former boss - gone. My favorite server support person - gone. The co-worker I was planning an outing with tomorrow - gone. Another former co-worker with two young children - gone. So many gone and the list we managed to put together is less than half the numbers we were hearing. I'm sure a trip thru the employee phonebook tomorrow will find more holes.

How appropriate that "Survivor" is on television tonight...


Just a tad late...

I know, it's been a few days....life just gets in the way sometimes.

As you may have gathered, I'm kind of a busy person. I have lots going on in my life (work, family, school, hobbies) and while 90% of the time I can juggle madly and keep everything on a fairly even keel, there are times when it just starts to feel overwhelming.....

This is one of those times.

The class change a couple weeks ago has worked out far better than I could have dreamed. Having a less-demanding instructor and the opportunity to pick a project that we, as a group, can have some fun with has made a *tremendous* difference. I can honestly say that school is not part of the stress right now.

Work is on a downhill slide - I know we'll hit bottom on Thursday and Friday but that certainly isn't making things easier on the way down! The looming threat of layoff has permeated across all IS groups and even a casual mention of "what might be" results in a wasted hour of speculation.....it's getting more difficult to avoid those conversations....

Friday, we'll be in "aftermath" mode trying to figure out exactly who's been given the heave ho without benefit of turnover. To celebrate our continuing employment, a co-worker and I have planned a road trip to a Phoenix LNS that's closing. Hey, it's payday and we can celebrate having money to spend!

The other big stressor right now? My in-laws are coming to visit on Saturday. They will be here for 2 weeks. Please know that I absolutely adore my in-laws but I know after about 10 days I'm going to be ready for them to leave and have my house back.... Happily we have a quick trip to Las Vegas planned in the middle, so a break will be had :)

Of course we have the move coming up...and packing...and we should finally get the house up for sale soon....so that's more balls to juggle....

So I'm feeling stretched a bit thin right now...and I don't see much relief until late in November (given the house selling soon) and no serious relief until after we move in December.....ah well, "may you live in interesting times" is a curse and a blessing and I'll survive these times like I have all the others.....


Road to Bethlehem Finished!

I finished Shepherd's Bush's Road to Bethlehem this evening:

17 hours total, and I have *never* had as many problems as I've had with this piece! I made so many errors - some I frogged out and some I simply fudged (see the row of backstitch above the hearts mid-piece? I had to put something in that space as I surely wasn't taking out those blasted hearts!)

But it's done and after a good pressing, I'll find backing and trim materials and send it off for finishing :)


Lottery dreams....

The Powerball lottery is up around $190 Million for Saturday's drawing.

When it gets that high, you just can't help but think about what you'd do if you became in instant multi-millionaire overnight (yes, of course I'd take the "cash" option!).

So, what would I do? First, work is over-rated. I'm thinking it'll be a full-time job just tracking money and all the necessary investments and various and sundry tax shelters. DH has a finance/accounting background, so with his expertise and my research skills, I'm thinking we'll be in good shape ;-)

What else? Well, I think I would make whatever financial investment was necessary to allow my in-laws to move here from Tennessee. I *adore* my in-laws and while they are seriously considering moving next year when my MIL retires, an extra year with my kids would be welcome.

Next we'd have to look at living arrangements. While we are planning to move to a new house in December, given our new financial situation, either a bit of renovation is in order (like adding a second story - I'll need a sewing/craft room at least!) or possibly moving the in-laws into that house and buying one for us not too far away....there are a couple *very* nice neighborhoods within a mile or so.

Transportation - my DH needs a new Jeep. He can't decide on color, so I'm thinking he should have at least two options on a daily basis ;)

Last of all would be a great trip next summer with England the first stop. I know a few folks there that I'd love to visit. Couple weeks in England, quick visit to Germany, Italy, Greece and finally Egypt. Ahhh...the ultimate vacation.

Guess I should buy a ticket, eh?


I'm late! I'm late!

I realized while at work today that I had neglected my blog yesterday!

Please forgive me....I even received stash in the mail!

Monday/Tuesday Stash Report

The mailman was very very good to me on Monday. He finally delivered my Stitching Bits & Bobs order which consisted of:

Spruce Waterlillies (Chatelaine's Watergarden is in my future!)
Vickery Collection's Egyptian Tomb (I love all things Egyptian)
Stitchy Kitty's Halloween Kitty Moon (Halloween - another weakness)
Wee Darlings' Nautical Pillows

He also brought the current issue of Just CrossStitch and a "Cross Reference" puzzle book from a dear friend overseas (Hi Fiona!!)

You'll be happy to know I did finally manage to finish my homework today. Of course, class isn't until tomorrow night, so I'm technically ahead of schedule even though I skipped it on Sunday ;-)

Stitching wise - I've got one more hour on the current block of WQ, so I'll absolutely finish that tonight during either Game 3 of the World Series or.....Indiana Jones! DH (dear husband in this case) was kind enough to pick up the set on his errands today. I foresee lots of "Innnnddyyyyyy" stitching in the next few days! LOL


Noah's Ark picture..

Today I finished off 10 hours on Teresa Wentzler's Noah's Ark:

I finished the doves (the "roosting" one was already complete) and the hedgehogs and added a few more clouds in the Ark scene. Not bad for 10 hours, if I do say so myself!

Now it's back to Crusty (Winter Queen) for the rest of today's Nascar race and World Series Game 2 (GO FISH!) tonight...

My next "regular" piece will be Shepherd's Bush Road to Bethlehem and I'm hoping to finish it in the 10 hour slot!

Of course, I *should* be doing homework......but just no interest....


Friday - Thank heaven!

I am SO glad it's Friday.

I did manage to stitch on TW's Noah's Ark last night, finishing a dove (the one "in flight" - I did the roosting one last time). Still have a few hours before a picture, so patience...patience...

Work was just a rollercoaster this week and while home won't be much better, at least on the "down" parts I can sit down and relax a bit ;) I can feel my stress level rising ever so incrementally as work demands increase, school work becomes more demanding and our impending move (and all the packing that goes with it) gets closer.

Heck, we haven't even hit the holidays yet. My in-laws will be here for the first two weeks in November....I wonder if I'll have any nerves *left* for the holidays??

But on to the quiet evening - I think I'll bypass the stitching and head straight to reading while tucked into bed (with freshly washed sheets, thanks to my dear husband).

Until tomorrow.....


Winter Queen Update!

As promised a scan of my current progress on Winter Queen:

I finished her shoulders and the purple/green accents on her bodice and started the "crusty" bodice beading on her dress this time...

On to Noah's Ark for 10 hours and then I'll be back to finish off the beading on the left side and start working on the right side....she's coming along!


Stitching Report!

Just a quick stitching report for today's entry....

I finished another five hours on Mirabilia's Winter Queen and promise an updated progress picture on Thursday evening.....watch this space!

Stash arrived in yesterday's mail as well. A lovely skein of Cockleshell Silk n' Colors (I love this fiber) and a "Double Running Etui" chart from Historic Needlework Guild's Tricia Wilson Nguyen. A lovely piece....

That's it for today, I'm afaid, I'm off to class!


Making Lemonade!

In the last few days I've been presented with a few lemons and can happily say I've made some tasty lemonade in at least one circumstance!

Last week I may have mentioned that I was dreading my current MBA class. Not anymore! Thanks to the quick thinking of a fellow student, my entire team is transferring to a different instructor on a different night of the week. The campus is just a bit further, but for the sake of my sanity and stress-level for the next six weeks, I'll drive a bit further! The new instructor is one we've had before and I *know* it will be significantly less hassle! Woohoo!

While I was anxious for the weekend to begin, it wasn't as restful as I'd hoped LOL. Our house is scheduled to go up for sale in a few days, so packing and cleaning was the order of most of Saturday. We won't be moving until December, but as the Arizona housing market is a bit on the unpredictable side, think it best to get the house on the market now. Just a tad more stress....yeah...I can handle it.

Sunday was caught up with computer tech-support for my parents. We spent the majority of the day at their house and the dear husband tinkered with their older Internet system. A temporary solution was put in place and I finally managed to put needle to fabric about 7:30 on Sunday night. Though a finish did result...February Gemstone Dragon Next up is 5 hours on my current "focus piece" Mirabilia's Winter Queen. I'm aiming to have her done by the end of the year....

I stitch in rotation, did I mention that? I currently have about 22 good-sized pieces in progress and have a half-dozen in the "active" pile. For a few months I managed to have all 22 pieces going, but school has taken a significant chunk out of my stitching time, so I decided to limit my juggling to just the half-dozen.

Here's the list of current WIPs (in no particular order)

Winter Queen (Mirabilia)
Mystery IV (Chatelaine)
Edith Wolford (Silver Lining)
Peace Rose (Silver Lining)
Noah's Ark (Teresa Wentzler)
Road to Bethlehem Shepherd's Bush
Pannini's Picture Gallery (Golden Kite)
Stroke of Midnight (Teresa Wentzler)
Noah's Sub (Moskowitz/Leisure Arts)
Storyteller (Teresa Wentzler)
Christmas Elegance (Mirabilia)
Celestial Dragon (Teresa Wentzler)
Lady of the Flag (Mirabilia)
Dragon Ride (Teresa Wentzler)
Under the Evergreen (Teresa Wentzler)
Enchanter (Teresa Wentzler)
Le Epoch Nouveau (Dimples Designs)
Tradewinds (Teresa Wentzler)
Unicorn (Teresa Wentzler)
Fortunate Traveler (Teresa Wentzler)
English Garden Welcome (Teresa Wentzler)
Santa's Midnight Ride (Dutch Treat Designs)

The first 6 listed are what I consider "active." Winter Queen gets worked on in 5 hour increments and the other 5 get 10 hours. The order isn't quite right...I did manage 10 hours on Mystery IV this month, but Noah's Ark will be the next after the current slot on WQ is finished. Then Peace and Edith Wolford and finally Road to Bethlehem, which should be finished when its up next ;) Then I'll be down to a mere 21.....unless I break down and start that gorgeous Leon Conrad piece (Medieval Majesty)....hmmmm...

Progress pics can be accessed from my pages

Speaking of stitching...I think I'll get to work and put in an hour or so tonight on WQ....more tomorrow!


Is it Friday yet?

Can we just fast forward the rest of the week and head in to Saturday?

Today wasn't fun. Layoffs announced at work made for a less-than-productive day and rumors of crackdown on Internet usage made even the most reserved of folks being *very* sparing with their surfing.

While I don't believe my job is in jeopardy (much to the relief of my family), I do feel for those that may be receiving an unwelcome surprise on Friday, October 31st, when the results of individual employee "ratings" are to be used to determine the 42 folks destined for unemployment....

Otherwise a bit of stitching tonight during Survivor (yes, I watch Survivor...it's the *only* reality TV show I watch. I get plenty of reality already, thank you!) and the February Gemstone Dragon is missing one wing and all the backstitching. I'll definitely finish this weekend :)

I'm still reading Fool Moon, but it'll be finished either on the way to work tomorrow or on the way home. As for what's next....not quite sure.....maybe the new Harry Turtledove? Maybe Amelia Peabody? I haven't read a good mystery for awhile...hmmmm....

I'm afraid that's it for now. I lost my sidebar today in a freak template accident and must recreate it...such fun! Next time: backup! LOL


Where did the day go?

Boy, has it been a DAY! You know...one of those kind that just slip away from you until you look at the clock and wonder where on earth the time has gone...

Tuesday nights are school nights for me. From 6-10PM I'm stuck in a classroom with a bunch of other yawning folks while we listen to our latest instructor drone on about some topic du jour. Last night I started a new class, eBusiness Principles and Practices. (I finished Information Management in Business last week with an "A" ;-))

New class, new instructor, new set of assignments. Usually the instructor will "trim" a few of the predefined UOP assignments from the syllabus. Not this one. Usually the instructor is interested in the individual student's background and experience. Not this one. Usually the instructor will provide assignment feedback and grades the week following an assignment turned in. Not this one.

Usually I enjoy the class. Not this one.

Due to the Tuesday night schedule, there's rarely any stitching and only a bit of reading. I did manage more on Lord John (after coming home and complaining to my ever-patient husband about the latest class and instructor).

I finished Lord John and the Private Matter on Wednesday morning on the bus ride into work. Not bad, but it could easily have been a bit longer...she seemed to wrap up the story awfully quickly!

Tonight? Baseball playoffs and stitching on that February Dragon :)


Tuesday, Tuesday....la laaaa la la la la

Ok, so the tune isn't much in HTML, but you may recognize it more as "Monday, Monday..." which of course wouldn't work as it's Tuesday...

Enough of that! Back on topic...

Monday night stitching - I did manage to start the final section of the Dragon Dreams Round Robin and chose the February Gemstone Dragon. Of the other 6 pieces already stitched, 4 were "dragon green" and I thought a bit more color would be good for the set ;-)

It also helped that I had the braid (026 Amethyst) and the floss was rather convenient in another chair-side WIP.

Monday night reading - Quite a few pages in "Lord John.." with even more this morning on the bus. For Diana Gabaldon it's a short story (only 270ish pages), and I'm just about halfway.

The bulk of my evening was spent on homework for my new class this evening: e-Business Practices and Principles. I have a mere 6 classes left before my MBA in Technology Management will be complete! This equates to 36 weeks (6 weeks/class) - which still seems like forever. No more school for me when I'm done, that's for sure.

Oh...and I watched/listened to the Boston/Oakland game.....good game, I must say.

At this point I'd like to thank Stacey, author of the Perle Moon blog, for encouraging this little endeavor. I will make you proud, I promise, and keep updating!


Monday Stash Report:

A new feature here on the Acre....a stash report to be filed when stash is received in house. As I technically receive more than I order (trades and such), it'll probably be better than documenting what I order or purchase at the LNS or bookstore...just a thought.

Today's mail brought both stitching and book stash! A double-dip day....

Book Stash - unexpected as it was due to forgetting to "deny" the Featured Selections at the SFBC, but not unwelcome

Wild Magic by Jude Fisher
The Victorious Opposition by Harry Turtledove

- both will be new authors, as I have not read any of their previous work. Of course as the Fisher book is a "Part II" I had to go off and order Part I to start off right....

Stitching Stash - expected from an exchange on the Mirabilia Bulletin Board

2 9x12 pieces of fabric in a lovely blue and purple
2 packs MH beads
3 skeins DMC
1 spool 051HL Kreinik BF
1 skein Six Strand Sweets - Witches Brew (love this color!!!)
Must we have a Monday every week?

Monday and I are usually on friendly terms. Just a few simple steps and I can glide into my office on Monday morning and be productive and smiling for the duration.

Step 1: Sleep well on Sunday night
Step 2: Don't overload Monday morning with meetings or tasks
Step 3: Check work email on Sunday night for any nasty surprises

I broke two of three this week and boy, am I paying for it!

First, after spending a significant chunk of time stitching on Sunday afternoon and watching the Braves blow yet another post-season playoff (did I mention that I love baseball? I'm an Atlanta Braves fan-by-marriage, but I now watch even more than my husband....), I simply could not settle down to go to sleep. You may notice last night's post was after 11PM....not a good sign.

Secondly, I had scheduled a trip to a local company that also uses one of my two primary software tools to discuss how they are using one aspect of the tool. Had to be there at 8:30 in an area of town I'm not familiar with. I managed to get there...and it was good discussion, but I'd rather it have been on any other morning than Monday.

The third step I did manage...and found nothing. Of course the issue that one of the teams had on *Saturday* wasn't in my email and yet I was magically supposed to know about it.....argh.

Hmmm. I had hoped to limit the subject of these posts to non-work-related. I'll try to do better.....

So Monday and I aren't getting along today. I'm wondering if this will carry on after I leave work? My evening is going to be homework and possibly some stitching. Potential piece: a final segment of a Dragon Dreams Round Robin as I finished another 5 hours on Mirabilia's Winter Queen Sunday night. I also have a good book in progress, Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon, so that's warring with the stitching time tonight....

Which will it be? Tune in tomorrow!


Hello folks! Welcome to my crazy life....

I've never been one for journals, but I'm always up for ways to use technology...thus a personal blog seemed far more attractive then plain old pen and paper!

The plan is to limit the subject matter to focus on my stitching (including the odd stash report - heaven knows I've got plenty to keep track of), reading (my book stash rivals my stitching stash) and whatever else seems interesting or notable on a given day. I'll do my best to avoid boring you with work and kid stories ;)

So, who am I? I'm so glad you asked....

I'm a 38-yr-old mother of two and wife of one living in Mesa, Arizona and working as a Data Warehouse Administrator for the largest Arizona electric utility. I spend 8-10 hours/day in downtown Phoenix supporting software tools and juggling project teams' demands on my time and expertise.

After work my life is just as busy with the demands of two kids (son, 5 and daughter, 13), one husband, two dogs and Graduate School. On top of this, I stitch. It's more for relaxation and finding the peace of mind to start the next day than for any other reason. The process of stitching is more rewarding to me than actually finishing things.....thus why I've got over 20 pieces started and tend to start new things as I hear them call. Secondary relaxation is found by reading, with subjects tending toward mystery or fantasy, but also general fiction, biography and pretty much anything in between.

Oh, and I've forgotten one more thing....I'm a true computer geek! I love surfing the Internet, posting to bulletin boards regarding my stitching and reading, playing the odd computer game and have learned enough HTML to create my own set of webpages devoted to my stitching hobby. I also recently took over administration (with a partner, thank heaven) of a fairly large Internet community devoted to the designs of Teresa Wentzler.....you can find a link down in the corner there to the "TWBB" which is quite simply, my home away from home online....

That's enough of an introduction for now...I'm looking forward to this journey of blogging. Welcome to my crazy world....I hope you find it interesting enough to visit again :)


The beginnings of a new blog!