Don't Adjust Your Dial....

This is the new "Acre Look."


2004 The Year in Review (Stitching & Such)

The biggest stat for the year? 40 finishes. I've not had that many finished cross-stitch projects in one year since I started stitching almost 20 years ago. Now, most were ornaments and individual Round Robin stitching but I am still quite proud of them all.

Obligation Stitching

This year I did a bit more "obligation" stitching than usual, stitching Enchanting Lair's Two Hearts Unite for a coworker (and good friend) for their May wedding and crocheting three baby blankets. I've also started TW's Wedding Sampler for my brother's April wedding.

Round Robins

I'm on the second-to-last round of my last "traditional" round robin as 2004 draws to a close. I don't see myself doing another one for *quite* awhile. This one finally burned me out!

However, a new breed has emerged that has drawn me in. The Ornament RR. I completed one RR with great success this year and proceeded to join three more. Two are relatively short (only five members with one month mailings) and have already started and the third will begin soon with six members, if I recall correctly. The wonder of these is that while others are sending me the supplies, all my stitching stays home! And if for some reason I don't like the ornament, I don't have to stitch it (though this hasn't happened yet).

Though once these RRs are done, I'm going to stay away from any more until the next JCS Ornament issue comes out!


One of my goals for this year was to stitch ornaments for my own tree. I'm happy to say I've got 10 stitched and ornamentified ornaments new on my tree this year. Half of them I even finished myself! With all the Ornament RR stitching, I'll have at least another dozen ready for next year's tree and might even manage to participate in the annual ornament exchange on the TWBB (I usually get the ornaments stitched but fail on the last ornamentification step).
I have another ornament-related goal for next year, but you'll have to wait a couple days for me to reveal it ;)

StRIP Club

The Stash Reduction Implementation Project was born this year on the Rotation Board. It was well-timed! At its inception I was up to 39 projects in progress and simply drowning. My initial goal was to whittle that number down to 30 and keep it there until year end.

I'm happy to say I succeeded (Ok, I admit, I'm fudging a bit on the numbers but it's too close not to claim victory)!

Through a combination of retired WIPs, adopted pieces and of course, finishes, I am down to 29 (+ 3 RRs). There's also a *very* good chance of one more finish for this year. I'm thisclose to having Castles by the Sea complete....only a few eyelets, some beads and some border "fill" left.

Retireds: Pannini's Picture Gallery, TW's Tradewinds (I cannot find fabric I like for this) and TW's Unicorn
Adopted to loving new homes: TW's Under the Evergreen, Chatelaine Mystery IV and Chatelaine Christmas Mystery I
Finishes: Eight off the original list, three others started/finished during the year

Of course, I still had to start a few new things (eight to be specific, but three are done!) but only one is what I would consider a "BAP" (Wedding Sampler).

Still room for more StRIPping in 2005 and I hope to extend it to include my copious stash as well. Time to clear some stuff out...

WIP Review

One of the many benefits of the StRIP club was really looking at my list of WIPs and asking the serious question "Am I ever going to finish this? Am I happy with the project?" When the answer is "No" then it's time to let it go. Thus how those retired/adopted projects were identified. There's one more that's going to official "UFO" status as part of the 2005 goals as well. I know I'll get it done someday, but for now it's just not going to happen.

I also realized that I am not a "peacock" person (No, TW's Peacock Tapestry has never really appealed to me....a confession of sorts LOL). I need to be more careful with my "Mystery" stitching - letting the projects get started before I jump in is the plan for 2005. I also really enjoyed "expanding" my crafts with the crocheted blankets. Another hint for my 2005 plans....

Stash Enhancement

Even with all my stitching-related travel, I didn't have anywhere near the stash purchases as the year before. Santa Clara was the largest "shop" by far and even though I was sick at Hershey, I did make the effort to spend a bit in the Mall. Nowhere near my budget.....there simply weren't all that many things that appealed.

Not to say I didn't do *some* shopping. All the new TWs of course, a couple Mirabilias, Victoria Sampler, Lynne Nicoletti, Enchanting Lair, several gorgeous hand-dyes from Picture this Plus and Countrystitch and various other silks and beads and well, those things that *really* caught my eye.

All in all, a good year.


2004 The Year in Review (General)

Ah, 2004. I'll be glad to see you go.

This has been a roller-coaster of a year. Highs.....Lows.....and too many surprises, both good and bad. Let's review, shall we? (Stitching will be covered in tomorrow's blog...)


I recall thinking 2003 had been a challenge as I'd spent a few days in the hospital. That was nothing compared to the two months of pneumonia I've only recently conquered. I hope the axiom "If you have pneumonia once, you're more likely to get it again" is *not* true. I've heard it from a few folks (with appropriate evidence) and I plan to be the exception.

I had great plans for exercise/eating habits improvements. I did manage to incorporate some healthier eating habits (more water, less soda for example) but I've got to do more next year. I see a Resolution for the new year.....


Thankfully, the family is doing quite well. Daughter is doing wonderfully in school and Son is adjusting to 1st grade. A few hiccups with his initial teacher, but we hope to have made the right changes and he'll have a better second semester.

Dear Husband is not working yet, but he has had far more interest in the last few months than we'd seen previously. Answers to resumes and even an interview or two. He's also very close to finishing his MBA and looking into some more technical training which should open a few more doors.


I'm done! That pesky MBA is completed and while I've yet to find an opportunity to put those letters after my name, it'll come someday.


No real changes here. I have had a record amount of training this year and some interesting "adjustments" in responsibilities though none seemed to truly "stick" longer than a few months. The addition of two new products to support, though, *has* stuck on the job description, of course. I did have a nice surprise of a flat-panel monitor on my return from STD this week. That was a *great* Christmas present from the boss!


Six times this year I packed a suitcase and left home for at least two days. Half of these were stitching-related (Myrtle Beach, Santa Clara and Hershey). One was a family/stitching combination (Vegas - August). One was work related (Washington DC) and one was with DH only (Vegas - June).

I can say with conviction that I don't intend to EVER travel that much again in one year. It was simply too much. Myrtle Beach was definitely the best of the stitching trips (Hershey had potential, but my illness made it less-than-enjoyable). The June Vegas trip was *much* better than the August one - for many reasons and thanks to a couple of wonderful BB'ers, the DC trip was just awesome even if it was primarily for work!

For next year I have *nothing* planned. There's a 50/50 chance of a work trip at the end of January (Vegas) and if I do ultimately decide on a CATS show, it will *probably* be the new Nashville one in August. But as of this moment, that doesn't sound appealing.....


2004 brought some major changes to various online communities. One simply imploded and has ceased to be. One was divided, but is healing. One is suffering major growing "pains." One has grown into an even better community which I wouldn't have thought possible (I've always thought it was pretty darn good!).

I've reduced the number of boards I regularly post to and even stopped visiting some entirely. I came to the realization that if I'm "stressing" over a community when I'm not online, it simply isn't worth the time. I don't intend to make a "value judgement" on the various communities, it is simply a personal decision. I prefer to avoid negative/emotional/confrontational communities - this online stuff is a hobby/escape and my real life has plenty of challenges thank you very much. (One exception - I have personal responsibilities on one...ummm...large...board and those will always be honored, no matter what is happening on the board. I have tremendous love and respect for the owner and am proud to call her "friend.")

I will say that if more folks applied the practice: "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" a lot of the hubbub this year would have been avoided.


A few friendships have grown this past year. The aforementioned board owner is one. A couple of folks I had the great pleasure to spend time with (during all that travelling) are more dear to me than ever. A local friendship is growing slowly but surely (more limited by geography and family obligations than anything else I think!). I'm looking forward to exchanging email with some online friends from all over the world and learning more about them. (Yes, another Resolution in the making there).

Unfortunately, though, there have also been losses here. One close friendship severely wounded over the summer and no inclination to start the rebuilding process . I have never felt such pain and rancor but I commit to letting that go....right now. It does no one any good, especially me.

A few other folks have me questioning. I've learned the hard lesson of "people aren't always what they seem" yet again - let's hope this time I can maintain that tiny bit of cynicism and avoid painful dramatics in the future.

A Peek at 2005

While a full set of Resolutions and Goals will be forthcoming later this week, here's just a bit of what I'm thinking....

A new blog/website template
A focus on "efficency" and "customer astonishment"
More healthy habits
You can't expect to *get* email if you don't send it.....

I salute you, 2004. A year of surprises and constant reminders of life's true priorities. All I ask is for a *little* less drama in 2005.........


Christmas Recap

First, I hope that everyone reading had as wonderful a Christmas as I did :)

It was a "feast or famine" day for us! Either we were busy or it was verrry quiet and we swung between the two a few times during the day. The perfect Christmas, in my opinion.

I had pre-filled stockings and already had half the gifts under the tree, so once DD was in bed it only took minutes to get everything ready. DH filled my stocking and I was *very* good and didn't sneak a peek!

I think DH and I were awake before the kiddos at 7. We heard some stirring and got up at 8. After some teasing that they had to have breakfast first, we relented and took up spots around the front room for DS to start "playing Santa" and distributing gifts. As he's 6, this was the first year his reading skills were up to the task and he was excited.

We didn't have a huge pile this year, going for "quality" rather than "quantity" as the theme. DS was thrilled with his remote control Incredobile (car from The Incredibles), various Lego sets (Knights Kingdom to Star Wars), new "I Spy" books and a couple Dr. Seuss books. I also found him Spiderman pajamas and a comfy terry robe that he wore all of Sunday. DD was able to mark *several* books off her Wish List, add a new charm to her Italian charm bracelet (a stack of books, rather appropriate), and she is still marvelling at her "big" gift - her own cell phone. We are taking the plunge next month and shutting off our "landline" phones as the only folks that use them are telemarketers......and DD's friends, but they are easy enough to route to the new number.

DH had a short list and I got most all of the items and a surprise or two ;) His Craftsman tool collection is growing as is his Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe library. Thanks to a dear buddy, he's branching into Agatha Christie, so thankfully more fodder for future gifts. We watched "The Name of the Rose" last night - he'd been wanting that DVD for months and I'm glad I remembered it.

Me? Well, I must say I didn't do badly at all :) My best gift was from DH - a minidisc filled with "our songs" and other love songs for me to listen to at work (I have a Sony MD Player). I listened to the 30+ songs while working on Christmas dinner and there are a few I hadn't heard in ages.....only one missing because we don't have the song on CD, but I'll remedy that shortly. My DH also surprised me with....of all things.....stash! Yes, he braved the LNS and found Victoria Sampler's Autumn Garden Sampler and Brightneedle's Can You Spy? from my stash wish list. The other big surprise - the first piece of Precious Moments Nativity (Joseph, Mary & baby Jesus figures). I've wanted a nativity set for ages, so this is the perfect beginning. I won't stitch Precious Moments, but I'll happily display them in a curio cabinet....

Plenty of stitching time will be had while watching Season 1 of both Quantum Leap and the Dick Van Dyke Show. And I can track the time with a new Jack Skellington watch. *And* new highlighters to mark up my charts....I tell ya, I was thrilled with my Christmas by 9:30!

After cleaning up the papers, DH made a quick dash to Walgreen's for batteries and I started breakfast. After eating, kids were examining their new "toys" and I started prepping for dinner.

As I'd kept the menu easy, I had some needed "downtime" before the next wave was to start around 2 when my parents and brother and his fiancee arrived. They all finally arrived at 2:45 and Mom insisted we do "Christmas Take II" before dinner. I had put out some "munchies" and luckily everything else could keep for a bit.

A few highlights -

Brother and future-sister-in-law made out on the small appliance front for their kitchen.

Step-father loved the Archeology dictionary I found online.

Mom was pleased with her "Bootism" book and "Born to Shop" charm

DD added to her "Cow Parade" budding collection with a "Paint Your Own" version and is ready for a vacation with her own suitcase.

DS can now race his remote control cars - Mom found him a red Jeep Wrangler (just like DH has).

DH will proudly wear a Krystals t-shirt (a beloved hamburger chain from the southeast, unavailable in Arizona).

For me, I have a new home for "Floss Central" - a 5-drawer solid Oak chest to hold all my bobbined DMC! I've been drooling over this chest since I first saw it at Hershey CATS in 2003. It is from Patches & Planks and has a permanent home at the end of the couch. I'll be filling it next weekend....might even abandon my current habit of all projects having their own floss set! If I've got everything handy, why keep a set for each project? We'll have to see, of course....

Dinner happened around 4 along with football on our TV and various other chatting. Brother and FSIL left for one more stop not long afterward. Mom and SF stayed for a bit longer and DD left about 7 with her Dad.

The quiet was welcome......all in all a *very* Merry Christmas was had by all.....


Back tomorrow....

I'm back to work tomorrow (Monday the 27th) which means I'm back to blogging!

I'm happy to report that the cough is 98% gone with maybe one or two per day...which I can absolutely live with.

Had a marvelous holiday and I hope you did too :) More detail this week along with a few "Year in Review" posts, a New Years' Resolution or two and 2005 Stitching Goals....


Memes and some not-so-good news

First, the fun stuff......

Sunday Brunch: Colors

"Where does the violet tint end and the orange tint begins? Distinctly we see the difference of the colors, but where exactly does the one first blending enter into the other. So with sanity and insanity." -Herman Melville
1) What is your favorite color?

Purple - a deep amethyst purple

2) What colors are your cars?

My Jeep is Patriot Blue and DH's is Red

3) What color are your eyes?


4) What color do you like to wear most often?

Red is what I *like* to wear, but I also have a lot of white and blue in my closet.

5) Name your favorite possession of each color of the rainbow: (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, purple)

Red - A comfy shirt to wear in cooler weather
Orange - A University of Tennessee blanket - it's heather grey & orange
Yellow - Do I own anything yellow?
Green - Cash is always a favorite
Blue - My Jeep! My new Vera Bradly bag in Seaport Navy....
Indigo - A white-gold sapphire necklace from my DH last year. The stone is a beautiful deep indigo blue.
Purple - I have several pair of beautiful lampwork bead earrings in various shades of purple

Now for the Stitcher's Question of the Week

Obligation Stitching: Yes? No? Maybe?

Maybe. I usually avoid it like the plague with the exception of RR's. I don't really consider that "obligation" as I volunteered! The Ornament RRs are great as if I don't like the ornament sent to me I don't have to stitch it....though this hasn't happened yet LOL.

That said I've started that wedding piece for my brother and I did stitch another one last year...so "maybe."

And for the not-so-good-news....

I'm now in the midst of Pneumonia Round II. DH went to the doctor on Friday and ratted me out on my continued coughing. Dr told him to have me in there to be looked at Saturday (rather than waiting until my scheduled appointment Tuesday) and not surprisingly, the pneumonia is back (though only one side). A shot and more antibiotics were given.... though no "stay home" directive (different doctor). However, with tomorrow's followup I am expecting to be stuck at home at least until I finish the antibiotic course. I did come in to work today for a bit of cleanup and quick transition on open projects.....but I'm leaving early, never fear. In just a few minutes....


Friday Forum - Cold Weather

A chilly Friday Forum....

1) What is your area's winter weather usually like? What range of temperatures are typical? Do you get lots of snow and/or ice? Have you had much snow so far?

Winter in Phoenix is much like fall in more northern regions. According to http://phoenix.about.com the average high temp for December and January is 66F degrees, low is 41-42F degrees. This year we've been 60-70 so far in December.

Snow? Uhhh...no. The closest we get to snow here in the Valley are the ones projected on the sides of buildings downtown as holiday decorations.

2) How do you heat your home? At what temperature do you usually set your thermostat in the wintertime? Do you have a fireplace, and do you use it often? Are your heating bills usually expensive in the winter or about average?

We have an electric heat pump that runs roughly late November to late February. House is set around 73ish and the heater runs mostly at night, not so much during the day (block house retains heat well). No fireplace in this house and the one we had in the old house never got used in the three years we lived there! Our electric bill is quite reasonable in the winter...it's the summer we pay big!

3) What are some of your favorite winter/cold weather activities and/or sports? What type of winter coat do you have, and what accessories do you usually wear with it? [Scarves, hats, mittens/gloves, etc.]

Other than watching football on TV, there aren't any real winter sports here in the desert. Holidays are the big activities and I always like to take advantage of the cooler temperatures to keep the doors/windows wide open and "air out" the house after having it locked up tight in the summer.

I do not own a winter coat. Heck, until this past March I didn't have anything heavier than a sweater! The only reason I bought a jacket this year was due to a trip back east and cooler temps. No scarves or hats in the house. DD does have a pair of gloves she'll wear on chilly mornings on her walk to the bus for school.

4) Do you enjoy winter, or do you prefer a different season? Why/why not? Do you ever suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder [SAD] in the wintertime? Do you ever travel to warmer climates to get away from the cold temperatures?

Winter is my favorite season. After all, if you're cold you can always put more clothes on but if you're hot you can only take off so many!

We don't travel to warmer climates but there are tons of "snowbirds" that travel down here. Just try getting into any decent restaurant between 5:30 and 7 without a wait. Won't happen. And watch out for the huge cars with short drivers (the ones you see only hair above the steering wheel) and northern license plates on the roads during rush hour.

5) What are some of your favorite winter foods and beverages?

In January I usually set aside a weekend to make bread. I find making bread a very relaxing thing....the mixing, kneading and the smell as it bakes just makes any remaining holiday stress melt away.

Winter usually sees more home made and canned soup on the menu at home and I find more reasons to bake...everything from cookies, pies and cakes to bread, biscuits and muffins. Keeps the house warm and smelling "homey" :)


The Joys of Online Shopping

I love shopping online for Christmas.

In just a few days and three websites I've managed to make serious dents in my daughter's, my son's and my husband's Christmas wish list. My daughter has blossomed into an avid reader and she'll be starting a new fantasy series next year. Try to hit *any* of the major booksellers retail outlets and find the very first books in an older series. Yeah. Been there, done that and thank heaven for Amazon. A few clicks and I've got books to last her until her birthday in March and books to encourage my son to follow her reading path.

Now it's just a matter of waiting for the packages to arrive.

This is an added boon. *I* know what was ordered. *I* know the contents of those sealed boxes (ok, it's a small risk on the contents.....after all DH once ordered an Atlanta Braves t-shirt and a Florida Marlins baby outfit actually arrived).

Rather than try to fit the contents in my favorite Christmas gift hiding spot, I can simply slip the *sealed* boxes in a not-so-secure spot and let them all stew until it's time to wrap them up. As this is usually just a few days before Christmas I can find a short-term stashing spot in the house for the wrapped gifts. (Gifts don't appear under the tree until Christmas morning at our house).

Santa will be pleased. If Son gets his wish and we leave donuts for Santa on Christmas Eve, he'll be downright delighted. (No, I have no idea where he got this idea...it just popped up a couple weeks ago.)

Now, don't think that I've actually *finished* my shopping nor have to brave the mall or other retailer. I braved the mall last weekend and lived to tell the tale (it really wasn't that bad). I still have to go back one more time to finish off one of the above referenced lists. The item is *way* too heavy to ship from a website. I've also got a few gift cards to buy for family members. There are still a couple question marks on the shopping list as my parents are getting harder and harder to shop for each year (when they have everything, what is left to buy?).

But I've got plenty of time.....16 days!


Can you believe...

...another Happy Dance?

Yup, finished Bent Creek's Winter House this weekend:

Last Thursday I was not ready to go back to the wedding sampler and wanted something "winter-y" but not "Christmas-y." After digging thru my Small Projects box (and finding ornaments I kitted 2 years ago that I've been looking for for weeks) I found this BC Zipper kit. It seemed to fit the bill.

It's on 18-ct linen and stitched over-2 with perle cotton, so it actually came out a tad larger than I anticipated (roughly 5 x 7) but did stitch up pretty quickly.

Both DH and DD made appropriate "ooh" and "aah" noises, but they also both commented on the flying snowman. I pointed out the snow swirls and said "the wind is strong enough to make snowmen fly." They didn't buy it.

Last night I started the tryout design for Chatelaine's Mystery VIII. I am testing my fabric choice: Platinum Belfast. The recommended linen color is Cobblestone, but I would prefer something else.....anything else. So far so good with the colors. Look for another finish this weekend.


Three Courses of Memes today...

It's Monday so that means it's a Meme Day....

First, the current Sunday Brunch:

1) Which stone is your birthstone? Do you like it?

My birthstone is a diamond....and yes, I'd say I like it.

2) Do you prefer silver or gold?

Do I have to choose? Ok, gold has a *slight* lead.

3) Name the jewelry that you wear whenever you leave the house.

My wedding ring, two silver rings (one egyptian silver and a celestial designed one from DH), a gold chain (another gift from DH), and my italian charm bracelet (gift from DH and kids last Christmas). I also usually wear a watch, but not the same one all the time (today is a Mickey one)

4) What is your most precious and valuable item of jewelry?

My wedding ring. It's the most beautiful and precious ring I will *ever* own.

5) Do you carry insurance on any of your jewelry and if not, why not?

I don't have enough to warrant an additional rider on my homeowner's insurance...

Next, the Stitching Blogger's Question of the Week

What has been your most interesting stitching related injury?

I have a dreadful habit of holding my needle in my mouth between threadings. I remember catching a taste bud on my tongue in the eye of the needle once...that was painful and I now make sure to keep needles between my lips only!

And a bonus from Sunday Brunch:

1) Do you enjoy flying by air?

Yes. Heck, even the airport hasn't been much of a hassle the last few trips.

2) Do you typically check a bag when you fly or carry on?

I normally check a bag unless it's a *really* short trip (overnight or less).

3) Has an airline ever lost your bag? Describe what happened and if you were compensated by the airline.

Yes and on one of my shortest flights ever. Years ago I won a trip to LA for a movie premiere. Living in San Diego at the time, the flight was not only short, but in a small plane (we're talking 20 people tops). On the flight home, I checked my regular suitcase and my carryon bag was stowed in the nose of the plane (no overhead compartments and no "under seat" storage was available...that's how small the plane was). Flight from LA to SD was uneventful. Got off to pick up my bag and it wasn't there....according to the airline it was still in LA! The airline delivered it to my home about three hours later.

4) Do you eat the airline food?

Peanuts, crackers and soda are readily consumed. I'm suspicious of much else and usually just pick at any other offering.

5) What do you do to pass the time when you fly?

Read. I have occasionally stitched on the plane, but more often than not I don't have enough room to do so comfortably or don't have a project that's "plane friendly." Reading is always good :)


Finishes and the Friday Forum

Let's start with the fun stuff...the pictures.

I know they are *way* late, but just in case you'd like to see my two rugrats as they left the house for Halloween, here are the links:

DD's Vampire getup and DS as a Pirate

They had loads of fun and brought home pillowslips *full* of candy. No, there isn't any left, I pitched the remains before Thanksgiving!

On to the Stitching pictures:

First, here's my progress on TW's Wedding Sampler for my brother's April 30th wedding. This is only about a week's worth of stitching and I'm cautiously optimistic I can finish it in time for the nuptials.

Here's the latest entry for the Wee Beasties Round Robin: Suz's 22-Spot Ladybug. It only took a couple days to stitch which is *significantly* less than I thought it would take! I've now stitched all three of the golden bugs from Wee Beasties #8...guess it's time to move on to a new design LOL.

My DH has been incredibly wonderful during my prolonged illness, so I took a couple days and stitched this piece for him. It's by Twisted Threads and entitled "I Simply Love You" (what a surprise, eh?). I used Coffee'd Calico SilknColors on white Jubilee. I still need to make it into a small pillow for his desk....lvoe you muches, baby :)

This month saw the end of one Ornament Round Robin and the beginnings of another. I stitched Noel by Forget-Me-Not-In-Stitches way back in May as my ornament for the round ending this month and stitched this Sue Hillis design as the last one in the Round Robin. I love every ornament I stitched and wish to give my sincere thanks to Laurel for not only coming up with the idea and criteria for the Ornament Round Robins but for shepherding *multiple* rounds thru! I don't see myself participating in any other kind of RR for a long time to come. (If you're curious, check out the Ornament RR Board)

The RR beginning this month is for Dragon Dreams Chrismyth Ornaments. Five participants, we each kit up two of the ornaments for all to stitch. My first package arrived just before Hershey, but I didn't stitch up the Dragon and Unicorn until after I got home. I kitted the Giant and Griffon, but didn't stitch them before I sent them on....

The JCS2004 Christmas Ornament magazine was filled with *beautiful* choices this year! Two immediately jumped out and were stitched up: Silent Night by Indigo Rose and Joyful Christmas by Donna Vermillion Giampa. The Santa was selected by DH and it's fairly large. It went to the framer rather than be finished as an ornament.

Still with me? Almost done!

Two more Ornament RRs are starting based on the JCS2004 issue. The first one starts in January and I finished my ornament for the group: here. The second round is a "DMC-only" group and actually starts in just a few days. This is the one I'm sending out today for it. If you are part of either group and want a surprise...don't look!

And finally, the Friday Forum: Snail Mail

1) Do you enjoy letter writing [as in snail mail]? When's the last time that you wrote someone a letter or a note? When's the last time that you received something in the mail from someone [not including regular stuff like bills, junk mail, etc.]?

Yes and no. If I have pretty stationery and a good pen, letter writing isn't bad. I will send a card before I'll send simply a hand-written (or even typed) letter. As most of the folks I "correspond" with are available either by email or by phone, that's the usual method of communication.

During my illness I received a couple "Get Well" cards in the mail from online friends. They indeed, made me feel much better :D

2) Do you plan to send out holiday cards this year? Why/why not? Do you spend a lot of time on them? About how many holiday cards do you usually send each year?

Yes, a box of holiday cards is on my shopping list for this weekend. As one box is usually sufficient, it doesn't take much time to address and sign them all. One year I did use printed address labels, but prefer the "personal" touch of a hand-written address. Return labels, absolutely, unfortunately I haven't had any ordered since we moved, so I'll be doing those by hand as well....

3) Have you ever had a penpal? Where and when? How long did you write to them, or are you still in contact with them? What kinds of things did/do you talk about with them? How did your penpal relationship come about?

I remember keeping in touch with friends from summer camp while in grade school. Sadly when I stopped going to camp, the letters stopped as well.

4) Do you feel that you have good penmanship? Did you ever have to take a handwriting class in school? Do you prefer typing letters or writing them by hand? Have you ever had your
handwriting analyzed?

When I take the time, yes I have good penmanship. I vividly recall learning cursive writing in second grade! All those posters on the wall and endless sheets of tan paper with green lines. I wish my son would have the handwriting lessons I did, his printing is atrocious. (Yes, we make him practice at home....I even made up sheets on the computer with all the appropriately spaced lines). Even DD could use some practice - I don't remember ever seeing/hearing about handwriting drills in the lower grades with her.

I prefer typing - I can type *much* faster than I can write and the backspace button is great for editing ;) I've not had any handwriting analysis done.

5) If you could receive a personal, hand-written letter from anyone in the world right now, who would you choose and why? Why would you want a letter from him/her?

There are lots of folks I'd love a hand-written letter from, but I won't list names. Many would never see this and I'd hate to pressure those who would. Letters, in my opinion, make a personal "connection" and there are lots of folks I feel I've lost that connection with.......

Maybe I'll write a letter or two myself....

That's all for today! If you've read this far, I hope you enjoyed some of it :D See you Monday....


It's Movie/Book Chat time!

During those loooong six weeks of convalescence, I watched a few movies and read a few books. I won't bore you with the entire list, but pick a few of the highlights:


VanHelsing - this was a rental and I'm glad we did that rather than invest in the DVD that would probably not be watched again. I admit, the sweeping effects were probably way more impressive on the big screen, but on my 50" TV they just looked over done. The effects totally overwhelmed the story (IMO), and that wasn't all that difficult given the tenuous storyline presented. I don't usually mind movies taking some "creative license" with well-known legends, but I think they went WAY overboard in this one. I could see the inclusion of the werewolves, but Frankenstein's monster and Jekyll/Hide? C'mon....

Hugh Jackman is always a pleasure to watch onscreen, but he couldn't seem to decide if he wanted to have an accent or not. The required "witty sidekick role" had the potential to be incredibly overdone, but they managed to keep it reasonable.

The Ladykillers - DH rolled his eyes when I requested this rental with the comment "Another Southern Stereotype" movie. Being from the South himself, he tends to take umbrage with the occasional "extreme" stereotypical Southern male. I had the impression this was a "period" movie for some reason....maybe Tom Hanks character?

DH, DD and I watched the film in its entirety (DS saw some, but bedtime came in the middle). We all laughed and really enjoyed the film! The characters and the twists were very entertaining and the music was amazing. I was surprised to see it rated "R" - though given the language in the movie, I see the point. I won't look at a garbarge barge the same way again....

Gone With the Wind - This new Special Edition DVD appeared in the mail as a gift from a very dear friend. GWTW is one of my all-time favorite movies, so I really enjoyed watching the new "fresh" version - colors are vibrant and the score is beautifully rich. I haven't made it thru all the "extras" on the 4-DVD set, but I'll get thru it all eventually.


The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis - I'd heard so much about this series that I just had to give it a try. As first books go, it isn't bad, but now that all the characters are well introduced, I'm looking forward to the next book to move a little quicker. (Note: to buy this book try UK Amazon, it's readily available on their site)

And Be A Villain by Rex Stout - DH and I watched both seasons of A&E's Nero straight thru in the last weeks, so it seemed natural to read a bit of him, too :)

Blood Rites Jim Butcher - Book Six of the Dresden Files. The fact I'm still committed to the series, should tell you how much I like it....

Double Shot by Diane Mott Davidson - I read this on my Hershey trip and I liked it *much* better than her last two offerings. The murder victim is quite a surprise if you've kept up with her series ;)

The Novice by Trudi Canavan - the second book in a great trilogy. I'm on The High Lord now. Not speeding thru as I want to really enjoy it!