Survivor: Fish Tank I

**with apologies to CBS**

Welcome dear readers to a new feature here on the Acre. Yes, we have our own version of Survivor playing out in our main bathroom!

As you may (or may not....I won't hold it agin' ya) recall, DS received a fish tank for his sixth birthday earlier this month. It was quite the family excursion heading out to the local pet retailer to pick out the lovely 7-gallon hexagon shaped tank, some wonderful Greek column ornaments and even a couple plastic plants to decorate the tank. We setup the fish-less tank and let it run for a couple days to "purify" the tap water and remove all the deadly chemicals that the local water resource folks seem to think are necessary for "human" life.

After receiving a clean bill of health from our experts at the pet retailer, we then had the glorious task of choosing inhabitants for our tank. We chose wisely based on advice from the young but seasoned professionals on duty that evening: a catfish (bottom feeder for "cleaning up" around the tank), a pair of fantail guppies, a pair of silver hatchet fish and a pair of rainbowfish. Our selections were blessed by both our clever "netter" and by the clerk who happily took our money and explained the two week guarantee.

Two week? Heck, these fishies will be lifelong companions!

The first challenge was coordinating the "floating" of the bags on the relatively small surface area of the tank to acclimate the new additions. This was managed by limiting the bags to one float at a time (we had three total) and after the required 20 minutes we deftly netted the new fish and carefully lowered them into the pristine environment.

An hour later, all seven were happily swimming around checking out the new digs. This was Monday evening.

By Tuesday, trouble in paradise. The catfish was disturbingly quiet in a back "corner" of the tank. DS noticed during the evening feeding. What's a mother to do? "He's sleeping. It's late for fishes." After DS went to bed I rescued the carcass from the tank and carefully packaged it up for return. He didn't notice in the morning (whew). DH made the swap surreptitiously during the day and a happily swimming catfish was once again present for dinner on Wednesday.

First disaster/life lesson averted.

Three happy days go by. The fish are swimming, the filter is filtering and all is well in the tank.

Evidently one of the silver hatchet fish lost its bid for immunity. The challenge? To swim *under* one of the Greek column ornaments. He got stuck and none of his tank mates came to the rescue (no tribes in this group). As this was not an "unexplained" death, we chose to conduct the "burial at sea" ourselves rather than sneak back to the retailer yet again. I rearranged the ornaments in the tank slightly to remove the possibility of any other misguided contestant trying the same stunt.

At this point things start looking sinister. The next inhabitant voted out is the other silver hatchet fish. Evidently the loss of his alliance partner is literally, the death of him. No apparent illness....no injury....just found stuck against the filter tube one afternoon.

By this time, DS has realized he's losing tank residents. He takes it well, understanding that sometimes little fish want to swim in the big ocean in the sky rather than be confined to a small tank (hey, *you* want to explain that better?). As we bought pairs for the most part, losing both of one species isn't too tough to take. We promise to rebuild the population......

Again, we're good for a few days. The guppies have staked out territory towards the bottom of the tank (they actually rest on the bottom at night...amazing) while the rainbowfish are happy in the upper half of the tank. The catfish has taken a liking to the smaller of the Greek column ornaments and spends his time either hanging off of it or the side of the glass.

And I'm sure you can see what's coming next....yup, one of the guppies loses its torch. This challenge appears to have been something along the lines of "swim thru the plastic plant" as we found him at the base of the taller of the two. We remove the carcass and share a few words before hitting "flush."

We're down to The Final Four.

Once again, we have a couple days of breath-holding to see if further votes are held. No change. The remaining inhabitants appear content, swimming lazily around, learning that when the light goes on food soon follows and just being fish. No unusual appearance or behavior (I've had a few fish in my time....they looked fine to me).

Then....a middle of the night Tribal Council. An upset. Not one, but *two* voted out! Was it a secret alliance? A murder-suicide pact? What brought down the other guppy and the catfish? Two contestants with apparently no connection? Are we watching a modern day "Ten Little Indians" mystery? How have the rainbowfish survived this long? All extraneous ornaments/plants have been removed from the tank to better track the occupants.

Wait....an autopsy reveals a clue. A bit of "fuzziness" around the head of the catfish (no evidence on the guppy). Ah ha! We find the sinister figure lurking in the tank: Ick. Unseen but deadly with this gruesome evidence revealed only in the latter stages of infection. Closer inspection of the final pair reveal one has been infected with the terminal fuzziness....it's only a matter of time for him.

Sure enough, early Saturday morning we indeed see the results of the final vote. 13 days later we have a single fish remaining. Consultation with the pet retailer experts confirmed the ick diagnosis and treatment of our "Sole Survivor" is underway. His outlook is good. If he survives until Saturday (big *if* based on history), he'll get a major water change and based on the results of a water test, he *may* get a few new buddies in the tank. We'll see.

As for DS? He's suffering no ill effects from this new Survivor series. He never witnessed us removing any of the "losers" from the tank and rather likes the sparse environment - the better to see Cramer afterall (wouldn't you know its the fish named after the cop that outlives them all?)

Memory Musings and the Question of the Week

Let's start with the question (don't want to forget):

Do you feel cross stitching requires patience?

Absolutely! If you work diligently on a piece for a couple hours only to think "That's *all* I've accomplished?!?" afterwards, I'd say patience is most definitely required!

Also, waiting for the release of new designs that your favorite designer feels obligated to "tease" you about 6 months ahead of time. Illuminata, anyone? LOL

Memory Musings

I'm finding as I get older, my memory is unpredictable. I have the perfect example from this past weekend...

Saturday is always grocery day in our household. Over the breakfast table, DH and I work up a list based on dinner menus for the week, school lunch requests/requirements and other "staple" items which are identified with a quick pantry tour. I usually do "craving" cooking on the weekends that is more involved than the usual quick workweek dinners we prefer. This week that included roast beef and mashed potatoes on Sunday, but as I managed to get all the ingredients for it, it was a simple meal.

I had gotten a recipe (last Monday) from a dear friend for a dessert that I wanted to try on Sunday. Did I remember to check the recipe on Saturday as I was making my list to verify ingredients? Nope. Did I even remember I wanted to *try* the recipe on Saturday? No. When did I realize this? While standing in the middle of the "baking" aisle at the grocery store.

So instead of putting it off a week, my first thought is "I'll call her." Unfortunately she wasn't home. Great, on to plan "B" then. Can I remember the ingredients? Picture the recipe in my mind as it is on the screen.....cast my mind back to reading it earlier in the week (yes, I did think of calling DH to have him look it up but the directions weren't pretty to get him to the note)....ok the ingredients are coming back to me: marshmallows, peanut butter chips, Rice Krispies, yellow cake mix and peanuts. Ah ha! I remember a couple other items, but I know I already have them at home (butter, peanut butter). All is well until I stand in front of the "peanut" section. Cocktail? Dry Roasted? Spanish? Ack! Time for some logical thinking...

Cocktail - check ingredients: these include oil. Based on the other ingredients, I'm thinking this might not be a good thing to add.

Spanish - probably not. Doesn't combine will with peanut butter.

Ok, dry roasted it is! I'm feeling pretty good standing in the checkout line. Got all the 'regular' stuff plus have a new recipe to try out on the family.

....until I got home and realized I'd failed to purchase ground beef for tacos later this week. Luckily it isn't on the menu until Friday, so I can sneak it in and the family won't know my unpredictable memory failed me even though I had it written down!

Oh, and the new peanut bar recipe? Came out quite tasty....even though I should have gone for the cocktail peanuts rather than dry-roasted!


Friday Forum

1] Do you enjoy it when others make a big deal out of your birthday? Why/why not? When you were growing up, did your family do a lot of birthday celebrating or keep things pretty low-key?

Growing up - absolutely. Now that I've got a few behind me - absolutely! LOL

Our family celebrations were always fairly low-key. Usually just a family dinner with whoever was currently close by. The best are always with my Granny and Grandad as I had full control over the menu and my Granny can cook just about anything well!

2] What did you do for your last birthday, and how do you think you'll spend the next one?

The actual day I went to work, lunched with co-workers and came home for a relaxing evening with DH and the kids making dinner and showering me with cards and gifts ;) The weekend after we had dinner with my parents and grandparents for more cards and gifts. I imagine next year will be much the same and that is just fine by me.

3] What are some of the best birthday presents that you've ever received? Do you feel that you are a hard person to buy gifts for?

I've had some great gifts in my lifetime. A beautiful fountain pen, airfare to Santa Clara, items from my stitching wish lists, several beautiful pieces of jewelry from my husband. Everything is special.

*I* don't think I'm hard to buy for, but my husband will disagree! Part of it is because we're at a point in life where if I want something, I can usually just buy it and he has to start looking for new ideas LOL

4] Where were you born, and what time of day? Do you know what the weather was like then? When you look at your baby pictures, what thoughts come to mind?

I was born in Michigan City, Indiana at 8:30 at night. No idea on the weather. My baby pictures remind me of my own daughter...we looked much alike early on ;) Still do.

5] How do you typically keep track of special events such as birthdays? Is there one month in particular where you have a *lot* of birthdays to celebrate?

As the family isn't all that big, my memory is good enough to track birthdays. I do make notes each year in my calendar notebook to help with planning.

March is our biggest month with three: My brother and step-father, both on the 8th and daughter on the 31st. August, April and July have two each. January, June, October and December are one apiece. See? Not too many at all....


Genetically Inclined....

I spent the day at a Data Warehousing Seminar with the Guru of DW - Ralph Kimball. If you have any interest in database design or business intelligence, his articles are incredibly informative and he's a very entertaining speaker.

But what does this have to do with stitching?

Yeah, yeah, I'm getting there. Just needed to set the stage....

So, he's in the middle of his keynote address this morning and he looks around the room and says "Yes, you all have the look."

I'm sitting in the front row with my coworkers and we of course ask "What look?"

"You were destined to be here and doing Data Warehouse work. You are genetically inclined to accept and embrace complex structures."

Wow. That is an amazing statement! I looked at my coworkers and we all grin a bit and nod. Yup. We've all been in meetings with other business (and some technical) folks where we enthusiastically discuss complex data models and reports while their eyes glaze over. The key to a successful data warehouse/business intelligence implementation is "simple and fast" for the end users, but there is an incredible amount of complex work that must be done to get it there....

So of course, during the next vendor presentation (which I have *zero* interest in) I think a bit more on this statement and consider the pile o' WIPs I have at home. Of the 31 currently in progress, 11 are TW's (which I would consider "complex") and I know that makes a lot of stitchers cringe! In fact, of those 31, *very* few are what I would consider "simple."

So, now, when asked how I manage to have all those TWs going at once and a big list at that...I can honestly say "It's in the *genes*!"



I've considered a few topics for a blog today, but haven't really hit on one that says "I'm IT."

I could add to the whole Olympic Judging debacle....but it looks like the judges themselves added plenty of fuel to *that* fire last night. For the record - let the results stand as they were issued on the night in question. Paul won that medal and deserves to keep it and celebrate the accomplishment.

I could discuss the meaning of the word "Debate" as it has apparently been lost on one of the boards I frequent.

I could visit new territory and comment on the daily headlines. Nah, I don't actually read the paper or watch the news much, so I'm not all that qualified or interested....

I think you've all heard enough about various and sundry medical issues to last a few more days, so I'll spare you any more ;)

So, where does that leave me for a topic? With plain old "stuff"...

I remember a routine done by George Carlin years ago about how we all love to accumulate "stuff" and how our homes are really nothing more than a place to store our stuff. Consider for a moment...if you didn't have all that "stuff" how much house would you really need? I could easily pitch a few rooms and the amount of cross-stitch stash in my garage would make way for the cars to actually be parked *in* the garage. (Before you picture piles and piles of stash hidden away, it's actually the treadmill and weight bench keeping the cars out....not my stash!)

So how much stuff do you have? Do you have "enough" stuff? Do you need "more" stuff? Are you considering reducing your "stuff" saturation level? Want to know the best way to know how much stuff you have? MOVE. Let me tell you, from experience, you will be *so* ready to reduce the amount of stuff you have after you've been packing for days and the box pile is getting bigger and the stuff left to pack doesn't seem to reduce.....been there, done that, and I've gotten rid of the t-shirts!

I did add a couple pieces of fabric to my pile of stuff yesterday. A piece of Echo (from Picture This Plus) in Belfast for Mirabilia's Madonna of the Garden and a piece of Relic for Royal Holiday.
So yeah, I got more stuff. But at least it's pretty....


Question of the Week

What would you most like your favourite designer to design next?

After finishing the Knotwork Bookmark this weekend from the TWBB Get-Together in Vegas, I am going to say: More bookmarks!

I know "Olde Worlde Map" is the traditional response, but I think I have *plenty* of large projects going...I want more small stuff.

Knotwork Bookmark was finished on Sunday morning. Here are the specs:

Fabric - Silkweaver Plum Pudding 32-ct evenweave. This was found in my stash from one of my many "Fabric of the Month" packages

Fibers - all Victoria Clayton Silks (http://www.hand-dyedfibers.com):

Center Overdye: Ricordia
Dark outer knotwork: Aubergine
Light outer knotwork: Carnation
Backstitch: Aubergine (all b/s)


I did make just a couple slight alterations on the outer satin stitched border. First, I used a diagonal satin stitch (with compensating stitches at the end of each block) to make the corners easier. I also changed the angle for each corner. Second, rather than yet more satin stitch in the small blocks for the overdye in the outer border, I used square Rhodes stitches instead for just a bit more interest.

I've already got a couple more colorways in mind.........


Friday Forum

I'm testing out a new source for a Friday meme: Friday Forum. The great thing about this? The questions come on Thursday via email! (Of course I've had a hectic morning and didn't get them up earlier, but at least I could think about 'em overnight...)

1] Do you remember the very first time that you used the Internet and/or e-mail? What was that experience like?

My first email experience was within the company I worked for. No outside email was allowed! I remember thinking it was handy for reference and to send reports without tying up a printer (I was doing Quality Assurance/Quality Control reporting at a manufacturing plant).

My first Internet experience was with AOL after I moved to Arizona in 1996. Opened up a whole new world!

2] How many messages are in your inbox right now? Are you usually pretty good at keeping up with e-mail correspondence? Do you have multiple e-mail addresses?

My work inbox has 240 messages. I'm betting my home inbox is about the same. This is actually pretty low for me. When I get to 500 I start deleting (or sorting). I'm usually good with email correspondence (both work and personal) though I know I'm not perfect! I will "lose" stuff in my email once in a while and spend the first two or three sentences of a response apologizing...LOL

3] What kind of computer[s] do you have?

At home - an Intel-something. My DH has built all 4 that are in use at home (2 Intel, 2 AMD). At work, an IBM Thinkpad.

4] Do you shop online? Why/why not? What are some of your favorite online stores?

Ummm... once in a while I've been known to shop online (yes, this is a severe understatement). In the interest of space, I'll only list a couple and to save your credit card, not make them clickable: Amazon, JCPenney, NewEgg, PawPrints Cross Stitch, Needlecraft Corner, Silkweaver, Stitching Bits & Bobs (the list could go on for days).

5] Tell us about a cool/fun/interesting/unique Web site that you've discovered lately. Or, if you don't have one in mind, tell us what your browser's home page is set to.

I've been doing some online gaming at GameHouse, but I find myself always drawn back to Zone.MSN for some Zuma or a quick hand of Texas Hold 'Em.


Test Results

Late yesterday the call finally came from my doctor on my biopsy results.

"Benign. Non-cancerous. But call for a consultation on treatment."

As this was a recording I couldn't ask any questions. I guess I'll save them for the consultation.

In all honesty, I'm not surprised or even relieved. See, even before the nurse practitioner that did the biopsy told me that, in her opinion, the tissue looked healthy, it *never* crossed my mind that it was anything serious.

Denial? Maybe.

The doctor's office maintained a low-key attitude. They did call to schedule the biopsy quickly after my last ultrasound, but let me wait for 2 weeks for an appointment. They obviously didn't think it was a "Get her in NOW!" type of test.

They didn't even mention the potential negative results until I was already on the table....and then it was couched in terms of "I've done this a hundred times and only seen 1 or 2 malignant results."

Personally, this was the perfect way to handle it for me. My husband was more worried than I and that suited me quite well...LOL. Now to see what drug cocktail I'll be taking for the next few months and I'm quite sure it'll be ultrasound #4 at the end of it..... (#3 should be late next week sometime for a separate-but-female issue).


Wednesday Matinee

We're going with a meme today as I haven't had a brainstorm for an interesting topic of discussion (but if you have suggestions, please let me know)!

1. A Bug's Life vs Antz: who wins?

Bug's Life - no contest!

2. What food or drink do you wish they would serve at the theater?

Kettle corn! It isn't too farfetched from current offerings (which means it probably *is* served somewhere) and just as healthy and easy to eat in a dark theatre. I'm also thinking milkshakes would be nice additions to the snackbar menu....

3. Who's your favorite female actor of all time?

Katherine Hepburn. She could play anything from ditzy heiress to down-to-earth grandmother and it was never the same character twice.

~This Movie Is Rated PG: "Please Go see it", Bonus~ Up to now, what movie do you think would win best movie for 2004?

First, let me qualify by saying I haven't actually seen a whole lot of movies this year, so my choice is based on a limited number of candidates.

That said, I think "Troy" would be the best of what I've seen this year. I'm sure it will win something for cinematography or sound - it really is a gorgeous production (and I am not talking about Brad Pitt's butt!)


Another day....

...another training session. Yup, I'm making the most of my "Annual Pass" for application training by spending another two days uptown in class. Ah well, my employer loves it and I'll have satisfied my training requirements for another 5 years. (And it's lunch time, thus time to do this entry!)

First, as mentioned, a couple pictures of my bookmark-in-progress.

First, a closer view for the design elements: Closeup

Now something with slightly better color: Better color

The threads involved: Vikki Clayton's Ricordia (the overdye), Aubergine (dark purple) and Carnation (lavendar).

The fabric chosen: Silkweaver Signature Series Plum Pudding evenweave (I have no idea if this is still around, I found it lurking in my fabric stash.

The minor modification: See that outer border? All TW notes is that it is done with satin stitch. Now, I know how to do that, but corners *always* look bunched up, so I elected to do a diagonal pattern satin stitch instead, changing direction for each quadrant. If I had it to do over I would not do the compensating stitches and just leave the full diagonals....but oh well. Next time!

We now have 7 additional mouths to feed at home. As you may recall DS was given a fish tank for his birthday. We bought the tank over the weekend and set it to percolate for a couple days before adding the new residents. Last night we got the fish. He named each pair rather than individually. I don't know if it was because he knew he'd run out of character names (you'll notice a pattern) or he couldn't tell them apart. Works for me either way.

Our new residents:

2 - Silver Hatchet fish (these appear to have large bellies) - "Nero"
2 - Fantail Guppies (lovely colorful tails) - "Archie"
2 - Rainbowfish (they just look like silver fish with bits of color) - "Cramer"
1 - Whiskered Catfish (gotta have the bottom feeder!) - "Pearly"

Gotta love a 6-yr old fan of Rex Stout.....


Question of the Week/StRIP update

Question of the Week

If you were to stitch something to be passed on to future generations of your family as an heirloom, what would it be and why?

A family tree as far back as I could go. I designed/stitched a family tree for my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary back in 1997 but it was limited to the generations after. I'd love to do a simple tree for my family to pass on to future generations. Someday ;)

StRIP Update

I've reduced my WIP pile by one this weekend and it wasn't a finish. I adopted out a WIP that I had essentially lost interest in and a post on the various boards prompted me to contact the poster that may have some use for it......she enthusiastically accepted so it's another one to mark off the list :)

Which WIP? Chatelaine Mystery IV....the one with the peacocks....the kit went (I kept the charts, she already had them and they aren't transferable anyway! Maybe a single peacock someday...with just a few grapevines....)

Of course I also started the celtic bookmark from Vegas, so my overall total hasn't actually decreased....yet. The bookmark is a lot more likely to get finished! Might manage a picture tonight to show off my color choices. I'm using Vikki Clayton's Ricordia/Aubergine/Carnation on Silkweaver's Plum Pudding evenweave.


All the Tea in China

First, as a followup from yesterday...yes, she was mistaken for a teacher by a new 7th grader ;) Otherwise she is despairing over her schedule as she has the "A" lunch (at 10:50) and only one class with one of her 2 girlfriends. The trauma of 9th grade!

DS was Mr. Nonstop-Chatter when I got home last night going on and on about the fun he had at school. I remember when DD started first grade - the excitement, anticipation and glee she met each and every day with. She still loves school, so I hope DS's joy continues as well.

I don't watch enough television to answer this week's Friday Five, so I've gotten inspiration from Daydreaming on Paper (link on the left there).

List the things you would not do for all the tea in China.

1 - Drive over the Mexican border
This is based on a horror-filled trip years ago to Rosarita for lobster from San Diego. The lobster was inedible, the return trip to California was a series of wrong turns and my grandmother saying "find a policeman to help us" , and the hours and lines to make it back thru the crossing were interminable.

2 - Have Thanksgiving dinner with my ex's family
These people could ruin a cheese sandwich. After suffering thru "hard-boiled eggs in the gravy" for 4 years, I will NEVER do this again!

3 - Go camping
I am a civilized woman. I want running water, blow dryers and good lighting on vacation. Bugs need not apply.

4 - Drink Dr. Pepper or Mountain Dew
Give me a real Coke any day!

Enjoy the weekend all! I look forward to watching the Olympics, stitching and staying coooooool here in the desert!


Miscellaneous Ramblings....

Art Quote of the Day (this appeared today over on the left side there)

"Painting, n.: The art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather, and exposing them to the critic." Ambrose Bierce

I can't help but extrapolate this to blogging and "being online" in general. The face we put online, in many cases, isn't necessarily the face we see in person. For some it's pretty close (me - what you see/read here is what you'd get in person), for some it's a bit further afield (the chattiest person online could be the quietest one in the room....and yes, I know a perfect example....L....) and some delight in just how much they can build an online persona in direct conflict with their "real" life (thankfully that example is from a previous life ;)). That "online face" is then exposed for criticism and expectations.....

Now, you might think I'm commenting on the folks I just met in Vegas....you'd be somewhat correct. I can honestly say that for every BB'er I've met in the last couple years, most are pretty darn close to the "persona" I've seen online. Vegas included several "re-meets" for me and it's always fun to see folks again in a new setting.

After yesterday's fun at the doctor's office, I spent the rest of the afternoon with the kiddos. It was their last day home before school started, so even though Mom was less-than-her-usual-enthusiastic-self, we did indulge in an afternoon movie. "Nightmare before Christmas" was a perfect companion to what little stitching I accomplished on Mirabilia's Christmas Elegance. A few chunks of green were managed even with the pain pills!

This weekend we'll be fulfilling our promise to DS for his birthday present: an aquarium. Though he has some grand plans after visiting the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, I think I'll be able to talk him out of sharks and eels and into some nice Tetras and Angel fish.

My baby boy starts 1st grade today. He's been counting the days all week. He's also still taking the occasional afternoon nap, so I'm interested to see how well he stays awake in the afternoon! The "readiness" words the teacher sent home last month were still easy for him to read, so I'm pretty sure that part of first grade won't be an issue. It's just the sitting still part....LOL I think I have the only 6-yr old that doesn't like to color or get dirty playing outside.

My baby girl is going into 9th grade. During our clothes-shopping expedition a couple weeks ago, I talked her into a jean skirt. Now, you must understand that my daughter does *not* care for current fashion and wouldn't be seen dead in any skirt above her knee. She argues when I tell her to wear shorts (and for those that saw her in Vegas, it was only my *forbidding* her to bring jeans that had her in shorts - and somewhat cool - for the weekend). She will not wear shirts that are sleeveless, too tight or expose skin that shouldn't be exposed (I admit, some of that we've inflicted upon her, but she doesn't fight it *at all*). Her dress this morning: jean skirt (hits just below the knee - A-line), olive green silk camp-style shirt (which she professes is her favorite shirt - must be the silk) and brown flats. I bet she's mistaken for a teacher inside of an hour ;)

I can hardly wait to go home and hear about their days.....


Biopsy update

(All medical today, so I won't feel ignored if you don't read!)

Had the biopsy done today (as previously mentioned) with good news and bad news resulting....

Good news - the endometrial tissue appeared "healthy" which means it's unlikely to contain "bad" (cancerous) cells and the issue I'm having is simply a hormonal imbalance and easily treatable.

Bad news - because it *was* healthy tissue, it didn't sample freely and boy-oh-boy did it hurt when she pulled of bits here and there (and still does). Results won't be in for 7-10 days.


I survived Vegas!

I survived the lastest Vegas trip and came home dead even money-wise as I didn't drop a single coin into any slot/poker machine! There was simply no time to shake off the kids for a bit of gambling for either DH or myself.

Drive up on Friday went very well thanks to a LeapPad for DS, CD Player/book for DD, a new baby afghan project for me and Sirius radio for DH. We listened to Elvis, classic Radio programs and a bit of jazz while speeding thru the Arizona desert. I did finish reading The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger on the way up and I will recommend it highly...I loved the book. It's already passed on to the first of three co-workers that will be reading it.

Upon arriving at the New Frontier, I spotted my first BB'er within minutes - KTCatt was in the casino. As I found out later, her BF had a *very* good Friday at the blackjack table and they celebrated at Paris with his winnings that evening ;)

As we headed to the elevator, I spotted Lisa (LisaNC) leaning over the railing in the "Atrium" tower (where we stayed as well). After dropping our bags, I hurried up to the appointed "Stitchers Lounge" to find a few folks hanging out. Stasha (and her gang), Margaret, Lisa, Mel, Sharon (faedragon - a new face! woohoo!) and Teresa were all chatting away. As it was already 5:00, I stole Teresa from the group and we headed off to dinner at Margaritaville (in the Flamingo) for Zachary's birthday dinner.

If you ever do get to Vegas and enjoy Jimmy Buffet's music or even just a tasty cheeseburger, I recommend Margaritaville. The interior was straight out of Key West marina and plenty of JB music and pictures on a huge video screen. And I must say, the cheeseburger (which DH, DD, DS and I all ordered....Teresa just *had* to be different LOL) was very yummy

After walking back to the hotel (stopping to see the Sirens of TI show at Treasure Island - it wasn't worth the wait and even DS wanted more pirates), DD and I spent a couple hours in the upstairs Lounge for some "Show & Tell" and chatting with folks. I had entrusted my Dragon Ride with Teresa as I was stumped for a color to backstitch the outer purple border (done in Needle Necessities' Coronation). It travelled to the "Shop Hop" on Saturday without me ;) She selected a Weeks Dye Works thread (Concord) and I did try a bit out last night. It's going to work quite well. So well, I may do the rest of the border backstitching in the same color

Saturday - while the stitchers took Julie Norton's class and then spent time at the LNS Stitchers' Paradise, the family and I headed off to Mandalay Bay. Breakfast was at the Red, White & Blue cafe (their eggs benedict was fabulous...and the kids' french toast was very good as well) and we wandered thru the hotel for a bit before ending up at Shark Reef - a beautiful aquarium. The kids loved the exhibits, as did DH and I. I just love looking at fish! The golden crocodile on display was amazing...I'd never seen one in that coloration.

We cooled off in the afternoon with a movie in the room (while I worked on Chatelaine Mini Mystery-F part 1b) and then to dinner with everyone downstairs. DD had "bonded" with Stasha's oldest and they happily shared a table off to the side and chatted about "all things teen." After dinner the stitchers were up to our Lounge for the Gift Bag Exchange (in which I embarrassed myself by totally forgetting that Mel was from Kansas! I *knew* that! I swear!). I was then sucked into various conversations and didn't get back to my room until after 10 to an impatient husband and a snoring son, so not like we could have done much, anyway!

Sunday morning after breakfast and prolonged good-byes with everyone, we headed home. I must say it was wonderful to see several folks again (Teresa, Stasha, Ann, Debi, Katie, Rita, Margaret, Laurel and MelLisa [what state will we meet in next? LOL] and others for the first time (Dagmar, Sharon, Dee, Sally, Allie, Penny and the various families). There's already mention of doing it again in 2006, a bit more to the north. Start saving now!

Before I publish...the Stitchers' Question of the Week:

What would your stitching confession be?

If I miss a stitch (especially in the confetti...ahem...heaven of a TW), I will substitute a similar color in the area rather than start/stop a thread for one stitch! If I miss a fractional stitch that is right next to a backstitched line....I may just leave it unstitched if the b/s will cover it!

Whew...they do say confession is good for the soul, right? LOL


..And We're Back

But only for today, I'm afraid! See, I'm off on a family vacation for the weekend, so today's post is all you're going to get until Monday, probably!

First, some old business - Stitchers' QOTW:

If you could only finish one of the pieces in your stash as it is at the moment, what would it be and why?

Holy cow, that's like asking me which child is my favorite! You can hardly expect me to choose just one!

Ok..well...I'll pick but each one gets a different reason.

Of my current works-in-progress - Stroke of Midnight because she's my oldest WIP and the first TW I started (though not the first I fell in love with...Fantasy Sampler gets that title)

Of my current kitted-but-not-started - Maria Van Scharrenberg's Egyptian Empire. It's simply amazing and going to look *fabulous* next to TW's Egyptian Sampler. Oh, but there's also Chatelaine's Alhambra Garden which draws me in everytime I look at the chart....I told you I couldn't pick one!

Of my bought-but-not-officially-kitted - Oh this is tough....Queen Besse's Chessboard (Leon Conrad) because I know my spouse will LOVE this if I ever manage to get it done! Or maybe Anagram's Four Season's Sampler - with its single-color motifs it has incredible potential done with a simple overdyed thread.

Of the heard-about-but-not-yet-released - TW's Olde Worlde Map, of course......

On to new business - New Rotation, Monthly Goals and upcoming vacation:

New Rotation

With Susan's (fumble99) assistance, we've managed to create a workable month-long rotation to help with my StRIP Goals and keep at least a few WIPs happy with monthly visits. I'll be spending time with 6 of my 30+ pieces and as a piece is finished, replacing it with another from the pile. I like this. I've had some success with monthly goals on the Rotation Board so incorporating a bit more structure at that level seemed an obvious solution to my "rudderless rotation."

First up, a few days on Dragon Ride - I've finished the shadowing under the wing and tail and completed most of the remaining b/s from the last pic. Also started on the "purple" feathers directly above the blue/gold wing spines seen in the pic. My vacation is throwing a small twist in the schedule (I should work on him thru Friday) but such is the way of life! I'll have an updated pic for him next week......here's the rest of the month's schedule:

Week 1 - Monday- Friday - TW Dragon Ride
Week 1 - Saturday - Chatelaine Mini-F
Week 1 - Sunday - Week 2 - Friday - Mira Christmas Elegance
Week 2 - Saturday - Sunday - RR/SL Edith Wolford
Week 3 - Monday - Saturday - TW Stroke of Midnight
Week 3 - Sunday - RR (or SL Edith if no RR)
Week 4 - Monday - Friday - TW Castles By the Sea (or if need more time on RR can float into this)
Week 4 - Saturday-Sunday (Screamer slot)

Monthly Goals

I realize I haven't been posting these anywhere but the Rotation Board....that officially changes right now. Here are August's Goals (as posted on 7/30 which is prior to the Rotation outlined above, thus why a couple are in direct conflict! But a full review will be done at the end of August) -

Finish WBRR and choose design for next one
Another week on Neptune/Poseidon
Start baby afghan #3
Work with Susan (fumble99) on my WIP List
Start model (If it arrives)

Vacation - aka Vegas, Baby!

Yes, we're back to Las Vegas this weekend for the much anticipated WorldWide TWBB Get-Together and some serious family time. My sweet baby boy (DS) is turning 6 on Friday! What other 6-yr-old gets to spend his birthday in Las Vegas, eh? His gift won't be travelling (he's been asking for "fish" for months - so we'll be setting up a small aquarium in the kids' bathroom next week as his birthday present) but we do have a small family dinner planned on Friday night in Vegas (yeah, small....4 of us plus 1 guest LOL).

Saturday we have tentative plans to visit the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay and then dinner with the TWBB gang that evening. So many people to meet! I'm really looking forward to chatting with you all :)

Won't be home until Sunday evening sometime and I promise an update on Monday. It's going to be a hot, but fun trip!


In Search of David Tippin - SUCCESS!

David was found this morning in an abandoned home not far away! He's a bit dehydrated, but otherwise just fine.....

Thank you for all your thoughts...prayers...whatever!

Missing 4-yr old found asleep

edit: 8:12 AM Arizona time

Perle Moon- Stacey's blog including links to news reports and a photograph of David.

Stacey (aka Prinncess) is a dear friend and my heart aches right now for her and her family. Please offer up prayers....good thoughts...faith...whatever you are comfortable with for David's safe return.

Stacey is a bright star in the Internet universe and her love and devotion to her family are unmatched.....