Dear Grandad

**On Thanksgiving Day my Grandad passed away. He would have been 90 in January. I'd like to take a few minutes to share a few stories about this very important man in my life.

Grandad was born January 25, 1916. For years, though, we celebrated his birthday on the 24th of January. His mother had told him he was born just before midnight that night....and it wasn't until *much* later that he examined his birth certificate and found he was born after midnight...on the 25th.

Some of my earliest memories of him were out in his "shop" (in the garage). He had a hand-made creeper (you know, the rolling platform that mechanics use to slide under cars easily) that was about 18" square with big 4" wheels on the bottom. We lived in a small town in Michigan (New Buffalo) and Granny and Grandad had a two-story house on Lake Michigan. Their driveway was slanted down as the bottom story was actually a basement. This made for a *great* hill to ride that creeper! Many an afternoon was spent speeding down the driveway and praying that I didn't hit something in the garage..lol.

If I wasn't tearing down the drive, I was industriously hammering nails into a piece of 2 x 4. I vividly recall hammering a dozen nails into that bit of wood over and over. Grandad would pull them out just enough for me to hammer 'em back in. In this day and age, would *you* hand your preschooler a full-size hammer and have them whack away? LOL

I spent many a New Year's Day at their house. Grandad would setup three televisions in the front room (he had a tv for every room in the house for as long as I can remember) and I would watch the Rose Parade on all three networks at once. It was the only way to catch all the floats! Of course, it didn't dawn on me until *much* later that he actually set them all up to watch the Bowl games with my father and uncle....

As you have probably figured out, Grandad was into gadgets and he loved to tinker in the garage on pretty much anything mechanical or electrical (including cars). I remember helping him build a TV. Yup, a Heath kit TV with remote control. This was back when *I* was the usually the "remote" for my parents and we only had four channels anyway. The remote had three rocker switches - on/off, volume and channel up/down. It was the bomb! No one had remote control TVs!

Granny and Grandad retired from teaching (both were high school teachers - Grandad taught math and physics, Granny taught typing, shorthand and bookkeeping) and moved to Albuquerque in the late 70's. We came out to visit a few months later and moved about a year later.

I was in seventh grade when we moved and went from a small-town school where everyone knew me (heck, my grandparents were much loved in the school and had taught some of my teachers! Everyone knew who I was!) to a big city school where I was constantly explaining that I go by my middle name. First day in the new school I saw something I'd never seen before....algebra. I went to Grandad that night and he brought me up to date in one evening (we moved mid-year). Grandad taught me to love math....it's logical and beautiful and I still love it to this day. He taught me how to conquer the bane of most math student's existence...word problems. To this day I love working them. Many a night was spent at Granny's kitchen table going over my homework - algebra, trig, calculus, physics (yuck)...he could do it all.

Retirement didn't sit well with Grandad. They played golf daily and Grandad worked for short time at Cummins Diesel. He also had a deal with one of the pawn shops in town. He'd go in every few days, see if there was anything that needed fixing (radios, lamps, etc) and take them home to fix. In exchange he was able to add to his already sizeable tool collection or other odds and ends LOL

Every weekend would find us at the flea market at the State Fairgrounds. I can't tell you how many little desk lamps were found and brought home from there. Some were working, some weren't, but they were all welcomed back to the house and pressed into service either there or passed on to some other family member. Grandad always found a bargain or two....

Ok, one more and that's it....

Grandad loved Whitman's Samplers (chocolate assortments for non-US folks). There was always a yellow box it seemed, sitting on a shelf in the dining room. He would eat a piece or two a day and there was only one piece he would never touch. The little man. (In every box there is one piece of solid milk chocolate in the shape of a man carrying a box - it's their trademark). See, the little man was mine. Even if it was the last piece in the box, it would wait until I came over before the box would be replaced with a new one.

Granny and Grandad left Albuquerque and moved to Carlsbad, NM in the 80's. Every time I'd visit (either from California or wherever I happened to be) there would be a foil package in the refrigerator...with those little man chocolates. Granny would chop them up and sprinkle them on my birthday cake, or use them for a special dessert when I was there if there were a number of them...lol. When they moved to Phoenix a few years ago the tradition continued and just last year I was presented with the last of the little man candies. As Grandad's health declined over the last few years, the chocolate tradition went away (and my kids were trying to horn in on my little men anyway...)

I might have to get a box for Christmas and have it out for the family....but I'll save the little man for Grandad.

I'll miss you forever, Grandad.


Quick Update and a Pile o' Memes

DH Update - unfortunately he didn't get the contract position. I guess while the job was perfect for *him*, he wasn't perfect for *them.* Thanks for the good thoughts, everyone.

But he's perfect for *ME* and I'm happy with that.....

On to some meme-ing. First, a fun exercise from Anna's blog:

The Chart Title Quiz

1. Are you male or female? Big Girl Panties
2. Describe yourself: Happy Wife, Happy Life
3. How do some people feel about you? All is Calm
4. How do you feel about yourself? Contentment
5. Describe your girlfriend/boyfriend/interest: Two Hearts Unite
6. Where would you rather be? Cottages of England
7. Describe what you want to be: Angels in Disguise
8. Describe how you live: The Simple Life
9. Describe how you love: Be True
10. Share a few words of wisdom: Mother's Wisdom: Be Nice

Next, some meme catchup...

November 7th: What is your current "playlist?" OR: Real or imagined, what is the current soundtrack of your life?

DH and I reworked my iPod playlist recently to reflect my current musical "tastes" (I handed him CDs and pointed out which tracks….he ripped them to iTunes for me on the Mac LOL). Just a sample of what's included:

Marc Cohn - True Companion (my DH, always and forever)
Dave Matthews Band - Crash into Me (yes, I know…peeping tom…I like it anyway!) Johnny Cash - Orange Blossom Special, Ring of Fire
Squeeze - Pulling Mussels from the Shell
Tracy Chapman - The Promise
Bryan Adams - Summer of '69

Yes, I have rather eclectic tastes…..

November 14th: What do you do to give thanks for all that you have in your life? Is it a simple thought or prayer over a Thanksgiving meal, or do you make an effort to be thankful throughout the year? Is it something you consciously need to be reminded of once in a while, or something that's part of your daily routine?

I try to show my appreciation for people, especially friends and family, throughout the year. I thank the Lord for the simple joys in life and for keeping my life relatively simply in and of itself quite often (most often when I see or read of someone not as blessed as I am and as I feel I am truly blessed with my family and life, that is a daily practice).

Stitching Bloggers' Question

November 16th: How do you feel about staying totally true to a pattern? Do you feel that you have to rip out stitches to fix a mistake or do you feel it's acceptable to incorporate a mistake into the design?

I'm a firm believer in "fudging" wherever possible. If someone thinks they are going to hold my finished piece and the original pattern side-by-side for a stitch-by-stitch comparison, they can think again. If *I* like it, that's what matters ;)

November 9th: When comparing large projects versus small projects, which do you get more excited about finishing?

I like finishing things - the size doesn't really come into play. Yes, finishing a large project has a certain level of satisfaction that a small one might be lacking, but that is simply a function of the time and effort gone into it. However, small projects have their own satisfaction - especially if there's a new stitch involved, or I've made some "adjustments" to the design or if it is destined for someone special. I find great satisfaction in those, too. (Of course, the fact that I have 20 WIPs would contra-indicate my joy of finishing things…but we can ignore that, can't we?)

November 2nd: If you have stitched for a while, can you usually pick out the DMC colors you need from memory when you go to your LNS?

Yes and no. If it's a color I use frequently or if I'm missing a color from a certain family, I have no trouble grabbing the correct one from the shop. However, if it's something I *don't* use frequently, I need to rely on checking the number. Perfect example: I recently kitted a DMC ornament from the most recent JCS Ornament Issue and it called for "894" which was an empty spot in my floss box. I assumed it was a green of some sort (895 is green) and figured I'd just sub something close by. Imagine my surprise when I looked at my DMC color card and found it to be a rather distinctive pink…..no sub, I need to pick one up this weekend!

Booking through Thursday

November 10th: A slight twist on last week's theme...
What book (or books) would you like to see made into a movie? Why?

Alexander McCall Smith's 1st Ladies Detective Agency novels come to mind as potentially good movies. Strong characters and a good mix of character plotting and the odd bit of mystery thrown in for good measure. Of course, I also think a few more Nero Wolfe books should be made into movies…but that wouldn't surprise any reader of this blog, given that I've classed myself as a *huge* fan a time or two!

What book (or books) would you definitely not want made into a movie?

The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon. To do this series justice, the *first* book would have to be at least 10 hours long. There is so much depth of story and character that to do it properly would be a huge undertaking. Not to mention that every woman that has read about (and fallen for) Jamie would have strong ideas of what he looked like…and how he would present himself on screen.

(Tomorrow, my "Musing on Movies" - I'm having to think on some of the answers).


Tropical Dream Finished!

I put on the last bead earlier this afternoon....

A few minor changes were made:

1 - Ivory Lugana (Bone was unavailable)

2 - The Dinky Dyes Sapphire is silk, not cotton (Jo ran out of the cotton at CATS where I purchased the threads!)

3 - Delica beads (256) subbed for the MH 3051's (I didn't have any in my stash...horrors!)

Back to my November Goals...I'm going to cut it close this month....


No Word Yet...and a Stash Report!

No word yet on DH's interview. Thank you all for your positive vibes....keep 'em coming!

And no, I wasn't surprised to be an "Evil Queen" LOL We all have a little evil inside of us...I just keep mine under control ;)

This week saw a bit of Stash Acquisition - books and stitching. Here's the report:


As previously mentioned, a new copy of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander (for the signing) and Anne Bishop's The Pillars of the World (I had the second in the series, but not the first).

Next, two knitting books: Debbie Bliss's Teddy Bears (so cute!) and Knitting Vintage Socks (some seriously cool ones, here).


Finally a bit of stash: Knit Chicks by Margaret Sherry


Requesting Good Luck Vibes!

Thursday morning DH has an interview for a contract position at my company....

I would *really* appreciate any good thoughts you can send our way! This would be a fantastic opportunity for him and I know he could really excel in the position.

In the meantime, I thought this was quite interesting....I plucked it from Terri's blog!

The Evil Princess

You are drawn to the sinister side of life and
gravitate towards darker things. You are quite
proud of your dark side and often flaunt it.
Your sinister nature and your willingness to be
cutthroat often result in you playing the

Role Model: Snow White's Stepmother

You are most likely to: Team up with an evil dragon
to spread terror across the countryside.

What Kind of Princess are You? - Beautiful Artwork (Original Music is BACK!!!)
brought to you by Quizilla

However, I apparently still need some work on my blog:

This site is certified 30% EVIL by the Gematriculator

And Margaret...Diana's going to be on "your" side of town again tomorrow night: look at "Tours" here. Foothills Library in Glendale


Too busy!

Wow...where *does* the time go?!?

Everything is going along fine in Arizona - DS is adjusting to his new school beautifully. He comes home happier and more animated than he has for weeks (per DH). Definitely more homework, though, and that's taking some getting used to for all of us.

I finished my Stitching Bloggers Exchange Ornament over the weekend....of course I can't show you until it reaches its destination. It'll be on its way soon. I also finished my Exchange bookmark but then found I'd lost the power cord for my sewing machine so "finishing-finishing" will have to wait a few more days until a replacement reaches me. I've gone back to Tropical Dream - let's see how close I can get to finishing this month....

Tonight was a tad more exciting than usual. I attended an "Author Talk" by Diana Gabaldon (of Outlander fame)! She lives in Arizona and held the talk in the NW part of town (about 50 minutes from me on the other side of town). As she mentioned several times....there's a reason she writes long books...she talked almost nonstop, LOL.

A few interesting tidbits she shared:

There will be two more John Grey books.
She's working on a new mystery series (totally unrelated to Jamie/Claire).
There will be one, maybe two, more Jamie/Claire books.

I bought a new copy of Outlander (trade paperback) for the occasion. It's now inscribed to me with "Scotland Forever" in Gaelic. A grand evening!


Happy Dance and the A List

Last night I finished Twisted Threads' Halloween Montage:

Halloween Montage

Note the nickel for size reference. It's over-1 on 32-count linen. I actually worked it 2-over-1 using continental (half-cross) stitch rather than make all those itsy-bitsy x's. Worked like a charm!

I couldn't have done it without my little Daylight Magnifier, though. I bought it at CATS this year and it was a blessing! Special thanks to the person who sent the kit to me last month...you know who you are!

The A List (11/7/05)

Have you ever participated in a random act of kindness for someone – either a stranger or someone you know? Or have you ever been the "target" of a random act of kindness?

Yes, on both counts :)

One of the more memorable ones I've participated in was in 2003 at my first Hershey CATS. Among the BB'ers that I met was a fellow, M. He had used waste canvas to cross-stitch a gorgeous design on the back of a denim jacket. Very impressive! He was a TW fan and posted on the BB, so fell into the group quite easily. At the BB dinner (if I remember correctly) he mentioned that TW's "Camelot Sampler" was the topmost item on his Wish List as it reminded him of a group of high school friends. There was something significant that had recently happened (one of them lost unexpectedly? I can't recall exactly) and it made the design even more special to him.

It didn't take much to come up with the plan. Teresa, Erin, Letha and I conspired to put the chart in his hands by way of Teresa's "Best of" Samplers Book. The look on his face was priceless! The spontaneity of the gift and knowing it would be appreciated made it that much more rewarding.

I've been on the receiving end a few times over the last years. Paw Printing's Blackwork Acorns arrived unexpectedly on my doorstep and I still have no idea where it came from. Recently, Dinky Dyes Southern Stars showed up without any sender information. I've also had RAKs that *are* known - last weekend I received a lovely card, bookmark and a bit of silk from Marilyn that brought a smile after a long, stressful week.


Chez Acre Happenings

This has been a busy week at Chez Acre.

Today, DS restarted his 2nd grade year at a new school. Ultimately, this is a Very Good Thing, but the *process* of making the decision and preparing him for the change was not easy.

About a week ago, we noticed a few more bruises than normal on his arms and legs. Now, of course, "boys will be boys" but this seemed a bit much. And over the last few weeks it seemed he always had some mark somewhere. A bit of judicious prying found that he was getting hit by balls on the playground...hard. He wouldn't tell us who, but we explained that playing ball shouldn't *hurt* - I don't care who you are playing with!

This was the last straw for us and this public school (several incidents last year that took a LOT of persistence on our part to get any resolution on). There's a Charter school less than a mile from us and I spent a few hours researching parent reviews, state reviews, etc and found it ranked "Excelling" consistently and was significantly smaller (160 students). The only "program" missing is band, but they do have an orchestra, which will serve my jazz-loving son if necessary. We visited on Friday, liked what we saw and after scrambling to outfit him with the appropriate "uniform" over the weekend, he started officially today.

Lo and behold he found students he had in class at the public school last year - he was very happy! The schoolwork is accelerated, so more homework for him (and us LOL) for awhile, but overall, I think it's a good move.

The other major happening involves another move. My dear grandfather has been moved to a Hospice home for 24x7 care. He (and my grandmother) are 90 and while she's just as sprite as ever, his constitution has deteriorated slowly over the last few years until he's too much for her to handle by herself. Again, lots of agonizing and research (primarily by my parents..I was the "sounding board") but in the long run, the best decision.

I'm still stitching away - I should have my Halloween Montage (Twisted Threads) done either tonight or tomorrow night. Still reading up a storm (see left). We saw "Wallace & Grommit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" over the weekend (loved it!) and had a very yummy dinner at PF Chang's (best chinese food anywhere).

I'll try to keep a little more current....at least with the stitching and reading bits ;)


Catchup #2

Musing on Movies
October 18th

Movie trailers: some love them, others loathe them. What do you think of them? Do you make it a point to arrive in time to see them, or do you try hard to walk into the theater after they're over? Do you ever watch/download them on the internet? There is even a television show that that only shows movie trailers. Do you watch that show, or would you if it was available in your area?

I love movie trailers. I always arrive at the theater in time to see them and if for some reason there aren't any, I'm disappointed! I occasionally watch them online for movies I'm particularly interested in (Harry Potter being the latest example) but don't go further than that.
I will add that I'm not all that thrilled with the increase in commercials at the theater. The slide show is fine, but car commercials are just annoying in the middle of a set of trailers.

October 25th

Halloween is fast approaching. Let's try another genre question. What are your favorite horror and/or suspense films? What horror/suspense films do you think are terrible? Do you tend to watch a lot of them, or do you avoid them completely? Do they give you nightmares and/or continue to "creep you out" for days, or are they gone as soon as you leave the theater?

I don't do horror movies. Years ago I saw "An American Werewolf in London" and it gave me nightmares for years. I have never seen the last 25 minutes of "The Exorcist" or "Silence of the Lambs" and refuse to watch "Poltergeist." I'm sure they are good but I'd rather watch something else thankyouverymuch. DH and DD love a good horror movie…they are welcome to them!
Now, suspense is a totally different category. I thought "The Sixth Sense" was fantastic (even though I figured out the twist early on). Any Alfred Hitchcock movie falls into that category as well. "Jaws" isn't bad (but I thought the book was more suspenseful than the movie).

November 1st

What upcomimg films are on your "must see" list? Why are they must see? Is there anything coming out soon that you have absolutely no interest in seeing? Why not?

"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" is at the very top. It's a tradition for Mom, DD and I to see it on Opening Day and that's the plan this year as well. I'll probably take DS not long after.
The only other November film is "Walk the Line" - I've been a fan of Johnny Cash for as long as I can remember. This probably won't be in the theater, though, as I'm the only one in the family who wants to see it. "Zathura" looks interesting - I love "Jumanji" but I'd hate this to simply be "Jumanji-in-space."
In December there are three that I'd love to see: "The Chronicles of Narnia", "Memoirs of a Geisha" and "Hoodwinked" (which I didn't even know existed until I clicked the link for December releases…). Narnia is a must-see for the theater but we'll see on the other two.