15 Years Ago Today...

Happy Birthday, Sweetie...

My daughter is 15 today.

15 years ago I was "recovering" in Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego wondering at being a mother three weeks earlier than planned LOL

You've come so far in these years...

You've lived in four states.

You've lived in at least twice that many houses/apartments.

You've already had multiple pets (cats, dogs, fish).

You've already had your first "date" (in Kindergarten).

You've now got more male friends than female friends....but I'm starting to hear a slight difference when one particular name is spoken ;)

You've got a career goal that's held for a couple years now (veterinary medicine).

You've found that school is A Good Thing.

You've come along with your saxophone....though I know it's just fun, which is fine.

You've had your first driving lesson. On a stick shift, no less.

You've found a strong family unit....though it isn't the original one.

You've mastered the practice of "two families" that love you.

I can see more and more glimpses of the woman you are becoming....

...and I'm so proud. You are a wonderful young lady and I've no doubt you are going to be a wonderful adult in the not-too-distant future.

I love you, Woobie. Happy Birthday :)


Meme Day

I like both Sunday Brunch themes.. so it's a "Two for Tuesday"

"They have Easter egg hunts in Philadelphia, and if the kids don't find the eggs, they get booed." -Bob Uecker

1) What is your favorite Easter decoration? (rabbit, egg, chick, etc)

Rabbit. I used to collect rabbits when I was much younger...I remember counting 150+ at one time. I'm still partial to them and still have a fraction of my original collection.

2) Do you like Easter colors or do you wish they were different?

Nothing says "Easter" like a bright yellow Peep ;)

3) What did you do this year to celebrate Easter?

We had a very low-key Easter Sunday. I stumbled across Peep-shaped soft baskets so I just *had* to have those for the kids (usually they get a bag of chocolate and a stuffed *something* sans basket) along with their usual items (stuffed rabbit for DD, dog for DH). We spent a good chunk of the afternoon at my Aunt's for a relaxed dinner by the pool (hey, it's Arizona).

4) What is your best Easter memory?

For years growing up I had the same Easter basket. It was light blue, made of plastic and shaped like a rabbit. It even had "fur" from thin strips of plastic. The eggs/grass/etc went in its belly. I can remember that thing showing up in various apartments we lived in and in my grandparent's living room (usually in front of the fireplace).

No, one memory, just lots of bits and pieces I associate with Easter. The basket, certain dress shoes, a packed church, all the usual midwest Easter traditions.

5) If you are Catholic, did you observe Lent, and if so, what did you sacrifice for Lent?

We aren't Catholic and don't observe Lent. My daughter is going to a church (with her father) that does encourage them to sacrifice, so after considering brussel sprouts, she finally relented and went without tea for Lent. Just enough of a challenge to force her to pay attention, but not too difficult she was doomed to fail. She managed just fine.

"Art is making something out of nothing and selling it." -Frank Zappa

1) What is your favorite medium of visual art and why? (Examples, painting, sculpture, photography, etc.)

Painting, preferably really, really, old ones.

2) What is your favorite painting? If possible, post a picture of your favorite painting in your blog.

Panini's Picture Gallery with Views of Modern Rome. You can see it here

Second favorite: Nighthawks by Edward Hopper. See it here

3) Who is your favorite artist?

For overall body of work - Monet. His use of color and light is simply amazing.

4) Do you have any artistic abilities of any kind?


5) Do you like to draw or paint?

Not particularly!


Saturday at my house....

Here's just a sampling of the goings-on at my house on Saturday:

In my role of "Good Wife" I started a pot of coffee for my coffee-drinking spouse. I don't drink coffee and usually avoid making it, but as we use pre-measured coffee, I've been doing it now and then. Hit "Start" and walked away.....this was my mistake.

A few minutes later I return to the kitchen and find that I had failed to put the coffeepot in correctly and I had a small sea of hot coffee, hot coffee grounds and hot water all over the counter.


Clean up and start pot #2. This time I got it right...

Phone rings about 10ish. It's Mom. First call of the day...

DM: What are you doing for your birthday?
A: Working. It's on Thursday.
DM: How about a trip to Burbank for CATS?
A: I told DH I wasn't going anywhere this year....remember?
DM: He says you can go.......when do you want to leave on Thursday?

COOL! Of course I have limited funds, but hey, I'll scrape together enough to at least get some rumored new Dimples releases!

She called back with flight info (out late Thursday, home Saturday afternoon), hotel info (show hotel) and we're set!!!!

I'm goin' to CATS! Woohoo!!

My friend, M and her two kiddos came to visit on Saturday. While the kids watched "The Incredibles" we talked stitching, dug thru the pile for trade and I got to show off my *framed* pieces. I never get to show my framed stuff....though I didn't let her see the bedroom, rather bringing the pieces out to her instead LOL.

I also introduced her to my regular stash. The astonished look was all I could have hoped for.

Of course with our chatting I was late posting the Trade List. Sorry!

Next order of business was usual Saturday errands. As I pulled into the grocery store, my phone rings...it's M!

M: Got home safe and sound (she had about an hour drive...)
A: Great!
M: By the way...the link to the trade list doesn't work on your website.


Luckily, the various post links worked. I fixed the website when I got home...

Also got another call from Mom while grocery shopping:

DM: Thank you.
A: You're welcome! What did I do?
DM: Remember when you mentioned that new game, Luxor, to me?
A: Oh yes, I take it you're hooked?
DM: Yes, I just finished my trial and will buy the stupid thing so I can continue...

I am a *Master* Enabler of GameHouse Games...

After rushing home from shopping, I start dinner. DH has requested homemade pizza, so I throw all the stuff in the mixer for the dough, check that it looks right and set the timer for 10 minutes to knead (it's about 5:00 or so). Off to check email and fix the Trade List link (see above).

10 minutes later - I find a gloppy mess in the mixer.


I forgot to add the extra flour (I usually have to add almost a cup more for some reason). Add it, mix, knead some more and set it to raise....

DH commands my attention after I have the dough settled.

DH: So, if you're going to Burbank for your birthday, do you want your present early?
A: Uh. Sure! We can celebrate the weekend before...
DH: Well, you need more time with it than that if you're taking it with you....
A: You have it? Already?
DH: Yup.
A: Cool! Yes, I'd love to have it early....

He presents me with a 1G iPod Shuffle and case! Just what I asked for :D Thankfully he helped get it setup and charged off his iBook and loaded a few CDs for me.....like 8. And I'm only half full!

Next task is an apple pie. While pizzas are baking, I'm assembling the pie (yes, packaged crust...pie crust and I just do *not* get along. Real apples, though!). Put the top crust on the lovely pile of Golden Delicious apples, cinnamon & flour and look quite proudly at my crimped edges. Until I see the stick of butter laying next to the pie....


I forgot the butter. So I cut a large "x" on my beautifully arranged and vented crust and proceed to "dot" the butter. Fold crust back over. Now it looks like I *did* try to make my own...oh well, it sure tasted good!

It had been a long day, so when I finally sat down to relax, stitching over-1 was not a good idea (the wedding sampler). So I pulled out a knitted dishcloth I started on Friday night and knit a few rows.

And realized I'd started on the wrong row of a 2-row repeat.


I ripped out the entire thing and started a different one in the book. Of course, I made a fairly glaring error in the new one, but it's just practice so I'm not sweating it! It doesn't throw off the overall pattern....

So that was my Saturday...how was yours? LOL


Two Pictures

First, a new WIP pic of "Joy" by Monsterbubbles:

What's Left:

"Love" and finishing the "the"
4 swirlies (2 on the top and 2 on the bottom)
8 of the smaller flowers
3 large flowers
Name & Date (those go, along with 2 of each of the flowers, below that row of swirlies)

Probably not this weekend, but I think I might make the end of the month....!

Second, a picture of the "Trade Pile"

On Saturday at 2PM (Arizona Time) I'll be posting the complete list of what is in that pile for sale/trade. The list will be posted on my website Annette's Acre (Link on the front page) and then on The Wagon and TWBB.

"But Annette, if it's 2:00 in Arizona, what time is it for me?" Good question...check here: World Time to find out :)


An Opinion

**We interrupt this blog to comment on a serious topic - Terri Schiavo **

From Dictionary.com:

o·pin·ion (-pnyn)n.
A belief or conclusion held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof: “The world is not run by thought, nor by imagination, but by opinion” (Elizabeth Drew).

I just want to be absolutely *clear* that everything written on this topic is my *opinion* which may or may not be shared by you, the reader. I will reference a few sources of information, but the bulk of my opinions are based on my personal experiences....and it's hard to link to my past...

Earlier this week, the subject of Terri Schiavo came up over dinner. The discussion that resulted between my husband, my daughter and myself has stayed with me thru the last days and I've paid more attention to the various news reports as to the current status of the case.

I've also revised some of my original opinions on the situation (I can just hear my spouse's shock on this one...)

My first thought was that Mr. Schiavo has the obligation and responsibility for Mrs. Schiavo's care. I know I would trust *my* husband only with this serious decision if I was unable to make my wishes known.

But then again, I'm not too concerned that my husband would go off and start another family with another woman while I was incapacitated.

So, the recent arguments that Mr. Schiavo is experiencing some "conflict of interest" are quite valid, in my opinion. As such, allowing him to be solely responsible for this life and death decision is questionable, at best.

Next, I have reconsidered my opinion on Mrs. Schiavo's state. I found a *very* interesting affidavit today that discusses her health. You can find it here. It's written by a Florida Neurologist that did, at one time, consult on the case. Talk about putting a whole new light on the situation...it certainly did for me.

Lastly, I've given some serious thought to "The Big Picture" and the potential impacts this one case could have on a vast number of cases, similar or not. How do we, as a society, claim the right to decide who lives and who dies? I'm excluding two instances - death penalty convictions and terminal patients who have legally documented their wishes (or are still of sound mind to express them directly). We have only Mr. Schiavo's word that "Terri wouldn't want to live like this" and in all honesty, if she said that when she was perfectly healthy, there's really no proof she'd feel the same way now. Obviously, her parents believe she's perfectly happy. Until Mrs. Schiavo can tell us herself, we really don't know.

She has done nothing wrong. She "deserves" no punishment. Heck, we treat *terrorists* better than we have treated this woman. Remember the horror felt at the reports of torture and atrocities in Iraq? How do those men get higher regard than someone here in the US? Read this article by Andrew McCarthy - it sums up my thoughts quite well.

Lastly, the government's involvement.....do I believe such decisions should be made by judges? No, I do not. However, I certainly understand the desire and *requirement* for the government to protect the rights of its citizens. All of them. This article by William Bennett and Brian Kennedy explains in far better terms than I can the reason for the machinations currently churning thru Florida and Washington, DC on Mrs. Schiavo's behalf....along with some suggested next steps which I'm not sure I agree with, but thankfully, not my decision to make...

In summary, if we allow Mrs. Schiavo to die, not from natural causes but from starvation and dehydration, we climb to the top of a *very* slippery slope. How long before others are deemed unworthy to exist?

**We now return you to the usual lighter fare found here on the Acre**


Stitching Bloggers' Question

What are your thoughts on craft and/or needlework shows? Have you been to one or are you planning on going to one this year?
With one exception, I've had a fantastic time at every craft/needlework show I've ever attended. The lone exception was Hershey in 2004 - and that's because I was coming down with pneumonia. I couldn't talk without coughing, so the *primary* reason for my attending the show (to spend time with stitching friends also attending) was seriously hampered.

A good show has to have a few key elements: a variety of classes at a range of prices, an eclectic mix in the Shopping Mart/Vendor area (tons of LNS booths are nice, but I want to see beads, fabrics, and other related needlework stuff), and the real key is the location. How far to get to a real restaurant? Or a quick mart to get soda/water/etc at real prices rather than inflated hotel prices? Or of interest to me...finding a Coke in a Pepsi hotel! Are there other "attractions" in the area to lure stitchers away from the hotel? Or lure more in along with their families?

For 2005, I have no out-of-town plans specific to any shows. I've done so many in the last two years that I (and my family) need a break ;) I will admit that the two new CATS venues were tempting (Burbank and Nashville) but we'll see how they do this year and I might venture out in '06.


"They don't sell floss in England?"

Last Wednesday I ventured to the post office to mail a couple items. The first was my final Secret Stitcher package (waves to Shannon) and the second was the final leavings from the Dragon Dreams Christmyth Ornament Round Robin. On the small green customs form, I wrote simply "floss."

I was mailing to England. Thus the comment above from the postal worker.

Now, I briefly considered explaining the whole RR concept, but as we were close to the end of the transaction and he didn't really look all that interested in a detailed accounting of my international stitching habits, I chose to fall back on the simple "trade" analogy.

"Yes, they have floss, but it's much more expensive. They also have *really* good chocolate, so we trade."

I could tell from his face he wasn't 100% convinced, but as that means one less person's demand for Galaxy bars and Thornton truffles, hey, I am *not* going to try to convince him otherwise.


An Interesting List

Spotted on a many-sided friend's blog today...

Bold the states you've visited; underline the states you've lived in; and italicize where you are living now.

Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa/ Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C /



Please note - I started this on TUESDAY! It's been one hectic week....so for your reading pleasure, a mix of memes and news today....

Do you have a favorite designer (or designers)? If so, who is it and why is he or she your favorite?

I don't have "a" favorite designer. I have several.

Teresa Wentzler tops the list. Her beautiful designs encompass everything from traditional style samplers to fantasy subjects and each one is rendered in a depth of color unseen in any other designer. If you'd told me five years ago she would become a personal friend...I'd have laughed you out of the room!

I love her designs and adore her as a person...she's awesome in all ways.

The rest in no particular order:

Martina Weber aka Chatelaine. The Mandala Gardens.....oh my.
Mirabilia. The elegant ladies...especially the Queens will always be on my list of designs to be completed.
Jennifer Aiken-Smith of Dragon Dreams. A woman of many talents.
Marc Saastad of The Silver Lining - gorgeous flowers and lighthouses
Terry Nolan of Dimples Designs - Who else could make me *want* to stitch bugs??

First pic of the new wedding piece:

That's about 10 hours and I'm finding I'm not necessarily keeping strictly to the chart on the flowers. I did convert based on color value, but I'm mixing them up a bit more when I actually stitch the flowers - I want to use more of the beautiful dark red (Cupid by Crescent Colours) and am adjusting accordingly.

I spent a good portion of Thursday working on my website. All the pages have at least some current content and are in the correct format. I've still got plenty to load in the "Completed" section and then must create some detail pages with more info....

And to wrap up: The Friday Forum

1] Would you consider yourself a good singer? Why/why not? Were you ever in choirs, musical groups, musicals, voice competitions, etc. while growing up? How would you describe your singing voice?

I'm an ok singer now. When I was younger, I was much better....I was in many choirs, took voice lessons for a few years (my instructor really wanted me to do more operatic singing..but I was young and stupid and didn't do it) and appeared in a community production of "The Sound of Music" as Briggitte in 4th grade. That was *so* much fun!

I'm not a soprano, not an alto....but have a good range in between. Used to have an incredible range but if you don't practice, you lose it.

2] Do you sing in the shower? What about in your car? Around the house when you're by yourself? Do you sing along to the radio/CDs a lot? Do you prefer singing when you're alone, or do you belt out tunes at any time?

I sing in the shower but *far* more often in the car. That's the benefit of listening to Sirius Satellite Radio's "Big 80's" station...I know *lots* of the words (just can't tell you the artist or song title). I'll sing to the radio anytime, alone or with the family :)

3] Who is your favorite singer at the moment, and why? Do you ever watch the show "American Idol"? Why/why not? If so, do you have a prediction for who will win this year's competition?

My "Favorite Singer" changes quite often. Right now I'm listening to "Squeeze" every chance I can...so I guess that would be the current favorite group. I don't watch AI.

4] What are some songs that you remember fondly as a child? Are there any songs from your high school years that you particularly loved? What songs absolutely annoy you?

My mother listened to Broadway musical soundtracks when I was growing up. I knew every song from the musical "Gypsy" long before I ever saw the show (movie version). I still think of lazy Saturday afternoons in our house in Michigan when I hear the song "Let Me Entertain You..."

High School was Styx and Journey and all the great "Hair Bands" of the early 80's (*very* early).

5] Name a song that accurately reflects the way that you're feeling right now. If you could choose *one* song to describe your life up to this point, what song would you choose?

Right now? Maybe Steve Miller Band's - "True Fine Love" or Marc Cohn's "Silver Thunderbird" - happy but still kinda quirky

My life to this point....well, it's been an adventure, that's for sure. But I'm in a good spot now and know that I've found my "True Companion" (Marc Cohn)


Another Sunday Entry

Wow. Two Sundays in a row. It's a record.

Anyway, this week I'm taking advantage of a *quiet* house to catch up on some BBs and updating my recent pics. Kids are gone to visit Mickey with the grandparents (had a couple calls to verify that DS and DD are both behaving well and enjoying themselves). Greta was looking around quite a bit last night...wondering where the kids were, I suspect.

First pic, my completed March Snapper (Bent Creek):

Second, my finished March Secret Needle Night from Silver Needle...Spring:

Next, you may notice a slight change on the WIP list over there. After much deliberation, I've changed the wedding piece I'm doing for my brother and his fiancee. While I love TW's beautifully elegant sampler, it just isn't their style! I trolled the LNS yesterday for a suitable replacement and found Joy by Monsterbubbles. One complete color change later (to red flowers and grey letters) and I'm more pleased with this choice. Started last night on 25-ct white lugana, 2-over-1. Should be done for the wedding at the end of April...

This is a short week for me, as I'm only working Monday & Tuesday and taking the rest of the week as "Spring Break" :)


Friday Forum - Bedroom

1) How is your master bedroom decorated? (Tell us about the wall color, your bedding, wall hangings, what type of furniture you have, etc.) How did you decide on your bedroom decor?

It isn't. Well, that's not quite right, I mean we do have carpet (mauve like the rest of the house - not our choice, it'll go sometime!), there's one wall with wallpaper (a southwest-y pattern that I hate), a couple of stitched pieces are hanging in there (For Amelia and Tea Scene) and *very* limited furniture. DH and I have shopped for new bedroom furniture a few times and know what we want...it's just finding it at a quality/price level we like.

2) What size bed do you have? Is it a waterbed or a regular bed? Do you prefer lots and lots of pillows, or do you have just a few? What's lurking underneath your bed? Do you have anything at the foot of your bed?

Queen-size regular bed with a brass frame. One pillow each, but I like mine fluffy! The only thing under the bed is the odd dustbunny.... There's an upholstered stool at the foot of the bed usually, but eventually I'd love a blanket chest there.

3) Do you normally fall asleep quickly, or does it take you a while? Do you like to fall asleep to some kind of background noise, or do you prefer an absolutely quiet room? How did you sleep last night? Do you prefer a completely dark room or some kind of nightlight?

If I'm sleepy, it doesn't take much to fall asleep and quiet is preferable now. I used to have a radio on (and a nightlight) routinely, but after seven years with DH (who prefers neither), I'm out of that habit. I slept well last night, but the alarm went off too early (as usual) :)

4) Do you have any pets who sleep with you? Do you find that you move around a lot during the night, or do you tend to sleep in the same spot? Do you have a preferred position for sleeping (i.e., on your stomach, on your left side, on your back)?

Greta sleeps at my feet more often than not. Sometimes she'll find her way to DH's side of the bed, but he moves around more than I, so that never lasts long. Preferred position is on my right side, snuggled up to DH's back :)

5) Would you say that your bedroom closet, dresser, etc. are organized? Do you fold/hang up your clothes in any certain order/system? Do you have anything other than clothes and shoes in your bedroom closet?

I wouldn't say they are organized, but they aren't just a great pile either. Dresses/skirts are all the way on the left (rarely worn) and commonly worn (and washed) clothes are hanging on the right. Jeans/sweats on the shelf. I have the odd purse in there as well and a box or two of personal items. As I don't have a dresser (yet, see #1), most of the knicknacks that would be displayed there are still boxed up in my closet....


The Perfect Harmony of Trigonometry

Yes, I love math. I find comfort in trigonometric ratios. They are predictable, they are precise and they are keys to unlock other geometric puzzles and I *love* puzzles!

What brings this to mind? My 9th Grade DD has now officially been introduced to the concepts of trig ratios this week. On Monday, she missed school (due to a stomach-something, but is recovered and back at school) and missed her Geometry teacher's first lesson on Trig. Her homework last night was nothing but working with the ratios and the book was not very good at explaining....

Enter Mom: The Woman that Loves Trig (yes, it was my favorite math subject)

We drew triangles. We looked at the charts in the back of the book. We got out the fancy calculator. We solved theorems (sin/cos = tan and sin(sqr) + cos(sqr) = 1) and used the Pythagorean theorem (which she is a master at using) to check results and drive some other algebraic manipulations. We solved triangles given one side measurement and one angle (well, ok, there were two given, but the right angle doesn't count!).

She picked it up pretty quickly (not surprising...she's a "math-head" almost as much as Mom) and I was very proud :)

...now if I could just get her to stop calling it "sin" instead of "sine"....


Happy Sunday All...

Tomorrow is going to be extremely busy at work, so an early entry to start the week!

First, a finish:

This is the February Secret Needle Night kit from The Silver Needle. It's on 10-ct fabric and the gold and purple are metallics. Button is about a half-inch tall, to give you some idea of size...

I also finished my final bug for the Wee Beastie RR and the latest rounds for the Ornament RRs - links over on the right, there!

Now, today's Sunday Brunch

"If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." -Harry Vaughan

1) What is your favorite kitchen appliance?

My cobalt blue KitchanAid Stand Mixer. It makes quick work of everything from pizza dough to chocolate chip cookies!

2) What kind of cookware do you have?

Farberware. That's what I learned to cook in at my Granny's and my Mom's side, so that's what I have as well...

3) What color are your countertops and cabinets?

Honey Oak cabinets and plain beige countertops

4) Name one kitchen appliance or gadget that you wish you had.

Cuisinart Food Processor. Oh yeah...someday!

5) Describe your dream kitchen.

Lots of light, lots of workspace, lots of storage but not so big it takes several steps to walk from one side to the other. Even though my current kitchen is fairly small, it's *much* better to work in than the one in my old house...which technically was bigger!


A Book Blog

The regularly scheduled Friday Forum has been postponed to Monday due to the fact I want to talk about books instead....

I've finished a couple books recently.

Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis is a non-fiction book set in the world of "professional" Scrabble players. While the prize money for tournaments isn't enough to make a living on, there are folks that devote their life to playing Scrabble.

I've played Scrabble as long as I can remember, primarily with my Granny. I'm classed as a "living room player" and couldn't hold a candle to the professionals! They not only know words that I can hardly believe exist in a dictionary let alone pronounce, they know them because they *study* them....and have usually no idea of the actual word meaning. The book was a gift from a dear friend and I thoroughly enjoyed it...

The Doorbell Rang by Rex Stout is also done. We (yes, the entire family including the 6-yr old) are huge fans of the short-lived Nero Wolfe series on A&E of which this was the premiere 2-hour adaptation. Happily the book ended just like the movie ;)

So what's on the night table now?

Metro Girl by Janet Evanovich is a fun and light mystery in the same vein as her Stephanie Plum series. Halfway thru and already a couple of laugh-out-loud moments....

The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier is a fictional telling of the history of the tapestries currently hanging in the Cluny Museum. This was recommended for an online Read Along and I really had no idea what to expect when I started it. It's a bewitching tale full of fun and innuendo and some downright bawdiness.....


Meme Day!

I'm behind...time to catch up on some memes....

Stitching Bloggers' Question

Which do you prefer and why? "Old-fashioned" black and white symbol-only
charts, charts with colored blocks, or charts with a combination of colored
blocks and symbols?

I prefer black and white symbol only charts. Easy to read and easy to make a quick working copy if needed for highlighting. On the charts with only colored blocks, I'm always afraid I'll use the wrong color and the colored symbol charts are just overkill. I understand the intent of colored charts, most are colored to give you a sense of the overall design...but there's usually a picture for that purpose, right?

The ones I dislike the most though use multi-colored symbols. Especially the ones that will use the same symbol but simply change the color. Noah's Sub is that way and a couple times I've pulled the wrong color as I'm looking only at symbol, rather than the symbol color!

Next, The Friday Forum

1) Do you enjoy cooking? Why/why not? How about baking? Do you do most of the cooking in your household, or does someone else? How often do you go out to eat (or order in) in a typical week?

I love to cook and bake, especially when I can take my time and make something tasty for the family.

I do most of the cooking on the weekends, but during the week DD does more. I plan dinners out for the week, so it's easy for her to get things started when DH and I are on the way home from work.

Eat out/Order in - we try to limit to once a week, but as our schedules can be fairly volatile, it can end up being 2-3 times on really bad weeks!

2) Do you have any dishes (or desserts, or beverages, or whatever) that you consider your "specialty"? Did you create the recipe yourself, from scratch? How often do you make this dish?

I make a mean cheesecake. The recipe isn't my own so much as a variation of one I found years ago in one of those "card-catalog" style recipe collections. I also make *very* tasty garlic breadsticks and that recipe is at least a couple generations old. The original was in a cookbook owned by my Granny and my mother made them often when I was growing up. At least once every three months I'll bake a double or triple batch (if we have company) and they usually don't last more than a couple days.

3) Have you ever taken any cooking classes? If not, what type(s) of cooking class would you most like to take? Do you ever watch the FoodTV Network? What are your favorite shows on there?

I've never taken a class, but I'd love someday to take a pastry class. I love making sweet things. Phoenix has very good culinary schools, so someday I'm sure I'll make that happen.

FoodTV is absolutely a favorite with Good Eats on the top of the list. Iron Chef (both the Japanese and American versions), 30-Minute Meals, Top 5 and Unwrapped round out the list of favorite shows.

4) What's something quick and easy that you like to just throw together when you aren't in a cooking mood at all? Are there any foods that you've been absolutely dying to try lately? Do you have any new (and yummy) food discoveries/combinations to share with us?

Lately, our most common "throw together" dinner is grilled cheese and tomato soup! DD has come up with a new recipe "Leeky Shrimp" that she likes to do quickly on Thursday nights (when non-shrimp-eating DH is at school). It's essentially butter, garlic, leeks, shrimp and a little white wine sauteed together and served over couscous.

Nothing on the "dying to try" list, but I am very happy to see fresh asparagus in the stores again. I've got some for tonight!

5) What is your favorite kitchen appliance? Is your kitchen generally well stocked with equipment? Describe your kitchen to us ~ what it looks like, what's on the counters, etc.

Favorite appliance: Cobalt blue KitchenAid stand mixer. That thing can make everything from pizza dough to chocolate chip cookies quick and easy. I still have my eye on a Cuisinart Food Processor, but just haven't gotten it yet....soon.....

My kitchen is actually pretty small. It's U-shaped and I have just enough room for two people to work and cabinets to hold the "everyday" dishes and pots/pans. I do have a huge pantry, and that's where the bulk of the food and appliances are stored out of the way until needed. It certainly makes a small kitchen workable!

On the counters.....let's see. On the "left leg" of the U (the fridge is at the bottom of the leg, then a countertop expanse with dishwasher below and cabinets above) you'll find DH's coffee pot and the toaster. At the top of the "U" (huge window with the sink below) is a dish drainer for times when there isn't enough for a full dishwasher load and a cutting board. On the "right leg" (stove is in the middle with microwave above) is the previously mentioned mixer, recipe box, under-cabinet cordless can opener and hand mixer and the knife block. At the very end (right by the dining room) is an under-counter radio, phone base and a "catchall" bowl for odds and ends.

Small, but functional.

Finally, Sunday Brunch

"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch." -Orson Welles

1) Do you take your lunch hour at work?

Usually, though it may not be an hour.

2) What is your favorite place to eat lunch at?

At the small bakery nearby...when they have steak & mushroom soup ;) Otherwise, my favorite would be Crazy Jim's. Gyros to die for! It's a trek, though, so I only get there once every couple months.

3) What do you usually eat for lunch?

I'll first check the cafeteria in the building to see if there's anything promising that day. If not, it's usually a salad (we have a decent salad bar).

4) Do you have anyone that you eat lunch with on a regular basis?

Define "regular" :) Weekly? Yes, but I'll answer that in the next question.... Otherwise it's usually just me eating at my desk with the occasional outing with a coworker.

5) If not eating, what do you usually do on your lunch hour?

On Wednesdays we have a Stitch & B*tch group down on the 7th floor (I'm on 8). Anywhere from 3-10 folks will come with stitching ranging from cross-stitch (me mostly), knitting, crochet and even some rug-making and card-making now and then. Last week we had an impromptu knitting lesson and I was happy to expand my repertoire beyond knit/purl!