Sunday Brunch - Books

One of my *favorite* subjects :)

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." -Mark Twain

1) Do you use bookmarks?

Oh yes! I loooove bookmarks. I have paper ones and metal ones and stitched ones....and I can always use more. I've become somewhat of a bookmark collector....

2) What is your favorite book?

This changes quite often! The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop is #1 on my "recommend" list currently....

3) Who is your favorite author?

See above... right now I'd say Anne Bishop has the top spot

4) What is the movie you feel is the most authentic version of a book?

I read Tom Clancy's The Hunt for Red October right before the movie came out and was *very* impressed with how close the movie was to the primary storylines in the book. They couldn't do them all (a significantly longer movie would have resulted), but what they chose worked really well.

5) Is there a book you wish they would make into a movie and why?

Not a single book, but a series. I think Elizabeth Peters "Amelia Peabody" books would make excellent movies....

Now let's add a couple more along the same lines....

What is the last book you finished?

Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts. Not bad...first in the "Three Sisters Island" trilogy and I have #2 on the shelf ready to go.

What is the last book you started?

Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis. It's about competitive Scrabble and as a long-time "living room" player, it's very interesting to read about the strategy and techniques of the "professionals." Lots of memorization....words I have a hard time believing *are* words! And as you might suspect, they aren't interested in the meanings of such words as "RETSINA" (a Greek wine) or "SANTIR" (a Persian dulcimer) only that they are made from the most common letters in the game. You can see some of the Lists considered a "must" for competitive players here: Important Word Lists


Friday Forum - Weather

1) If you could choose any warm-weather or tropical destination for the *ultimate* winter getaway vacation, where would you choose and why? How would you spend your time while there? Do you have any winter vacation getaway plans this year?

Tropical....I hear Tahiti is nice this time of year. Australia would be another possibility.

No "getaway" plans for us, but tons of folks "getaway" here....

2) Would you prefer living in a place that had temperate weather all year round, or do you enjoy the change in seasons? What would be the perfect weather climate for you? Which season is your favorite?

I do live in a place that is temperate *most* of the year. Our seasons are: Warm, Hot, Really Hot, Muggy. I could do with a little less "Really Hot" and "Muggy" but overall the weather is pretty good ;)

Perfect weather - 70 degrees (F) all year round with 50s at night. Cool enough for a light jacket, warm enough for just sleeves during the day.

3) Are you interested in weather? Do you ever watch the 24-hour weather channels? Have you taken any weather and climate classes? Would you ever want to be a "storm chaser" or a meteorologist?

In grade school, I had the opportunity to spend a day with the local TV Meteorologist and found it very interesting. I wasn't interested in the "Being on TV" part but visiting the local Weather Service and seeing all the maps and charts was *very* intriguing. Sadly, that interest was overwritten with others as time went on....

4) Do you think that thunderstorms are cool or scary? Were you ever afraid of thunderstorms as a child? Have you ever gone out and played in the rain? Does rain make you feel down, or do you love the rain?

T-Storms are cool! Never afraid of storms that I can remember, but the odd "tornado watch/warning" was kinda scary growing up (SW Michigan). I do like to walk in the rain but it's not all that common here in the desert...

5) Have you ever been in a tornado, hurricane, earthquake, or other severe weather? What was it like?

A tornado passed over our house in Oklahoma. The only damage was to the satellite dish - just enough of a shift that the reception got pretty bad until they came out to reset it. It was at night, so we didn't actually *see* the tornade, just heard the wind. The next day, you could see where it had bounced around....treetops cut off, chicken house roofs gone and lots of broken branches and junk on the roads.

DD had a hurricane scare while we lived in OK as well. The aforementioned satellite brought our "network" channels from other areas and the ABC-affiliate was in Miami. Well, as you can imagine there was *lots* of coverage and "newsbreaks" during hurricane season and DD was just old enough to catch that there was a big storm on the way.....she swore we were going to be hit by a hurricane in Oklahoma! LOL



Ah...such memories of leisurely Sunday mornings going thru the paper and pouring over the comics page. Daily doses were good, but Sundays were for savoring with a cup of tea and piece of toast.

As mentioned in yesterday's entry, I think Calvin and Hobbes is one of the absolute *best* comics ever written. Calvin's view of the world is just twisted enough to be terribly entertaining....always bringing out that deep, evil-sounding chuckle when he pulls something that you just *wish* you could have done at that age....heck, at any age.

Favorite strips are any with snowpeople (there's a collage hanging on one of the cubes here at the office I pass daily) and the series where Calvin's Dad explained that yes, the entire world was black and white, not just the tv and movies....

A very close second Bloom County. I love Opus. I'm considering getting the Sunday paper delivered *just* so I can read Breathed's new Opus strip (I can't find it online....if you can, please let me know!). Did you see the strips at the end of the movie "Secondhand Lions"? I knew instantly they were drawn by Berke Breathed! LOL

Current favorite is by far FoxTrot. For some reason the parental interaction and the range of kids feels like home.... Maybe it's Jason's Calvin-like demeanor that attracts, eh?

Another one I try to keep up with is Luann. She reminds me of myself in high school and I can see bits of Daughter as well. Her agonizing over Aaron Hill.....oh my....so familiar!

B.C. gets special attention as well. Especially those entries from "Wiley's Dictionary" (like today 1/27).

Your favorites? Comics you don't miss? Do you read online or prefer to have the paper in front of you?


Heard at Home...

The ACRE company has been testing it's newest product "Do You Hear What I Hear?" in the Mesa, Arizona area and stumbled upon some interesting exchanges in one neighborhood....

**background noise: TV with voices of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks**

Daughter: What are you watching, Mom?
Mom: You've Got Mail
Daughter: Really? From who?
Daughter: Oh...that's the name of the movie....

**background noise: dishes, probably a spoon & bowl**

Mom: Darn, I've got a spot on my clean shirt! I'll have to change before I leave....
Dad: Nothing new...
Mom: Can I wear your white polo shirt?
Dad: Is it going to come home clean?
Mom: Of course! What do you mean?
Dad: You aren't going to eat or drink from 9am until you get home at 5pm?
Mom: (deadpan) No. It'll come home just *fine*

**background noise: sound of food wrapper**

Mom: What did you feed her? It's white!
Dad: Pep'o'mint Lifesavers
Mom: You're feeding a 3 month old puppy *Lifesavers*?!?
Dad: She likes them!

**background noise: kitchen/dinner prep noises**
(Note, daughter appears to be gone on weekends visiting her Dad)

Daughter: What's lint?
Mom: Lint? You mean like what's in the dryer?
Daughter: No, the church thing. We have to give up something for Lint.
Mom: That's LENT, L-E-N-T. You aren't Catholic, why are you doing this?
Daughter: I don't know. Dad says he's going to give up meat.
Mom: Meat? I thought that was only for Fridays....
Daughter: He says he'll be eating a lot of salads. I thought about giving up brussel sprouts, but that would be too hard.
Mom: It's supposed to be hard. The whole "giving up" concept. What about soda?
Daughter: Are you kidding? How could I survive without soda? I'm not giving up the important stuff like chocolate and soda!

**For the last exchange we were lucky enough to be testing the "Do You See What I See?" product as well and got a glimpse of the item being discussed! It's a white t-shirt with a large tiger on the front wearing a party hat and holding a balloon.**

Mom: Wow! I didn't remember you had that shirt. Where did you find it?
Daughter: In my drawer.
Mom: Ah...I see.
Daughter: Who is this on my shirt?
Mom: What?!?! You don't know who that *is*?
Daughter: No....a cartoon character?
Mom: It's HOBBES! Only from one of the best comic strips ever written! Calvin & Hobbes! Are you saying you don't remember Calvin & Hobbes?
Daughter: No....
Mom: **sound of sigh** I feel so old.

While the testing crew was happy with the results and snippets of conversations gathered, we at ACRE feel they must not have been recorded properly and further testing will be required along with some microphone redesign.

**muttering heard** "How can someone *not* know Calvin & Hobbes?!?!


Stitchers' Anonymous

Welcome, everyone, to today's meeting of Stitchers' Anonymous. We have a new member! Would you care to introduce yourself?

Hello, my name is Annette and I'm a Stitcher.

**Crowd response** Hello Annette!

Uhhh...Hi everyone.

Great! Before we start our regular meeting, we'd like to get to know you a little better. Will you answer a few questions?

Sure! I brought along some of my projects.....

No, no...save those for now. These are questions relating specifically to your Stitching Addiction.

Addiction?!? Who said I was addicted?!? Who is spreading such a nasty rumor? I am *not* addicted...really.... **stuffs yarn, bead containers and some shiny metallics back into bag**

I see. Still in denial. Well, that's ok, at least you came to today's meeting. Now...on to those questions. When did you start stitching?

I started cross-stitching in 1986. See, I needed a Christmas present for my Granny and so I visited a little shop in San Diego....

1986? Cross-stitching? Did you not get the "Definition" sheet when you came in?


Here, let me find one for you. **shuffles papers on table** Ok, this one isn't in too bad of shape. Please read that top sentence for the group.

**smoothing out crinkled sheet** Ok. "Stitching: Any activity using tools and fibers. Tools include, but are not limited to: needles (tapestry, sharp, chenille or knitting), hooks (rug or crochet) and bobbins (lace or floss). Fibers include all weights from sewing thread to chunky yarn, including fabric strips and macrame jute."

Well, based on that definition I've been stitching for as long as I can remember. My Granny taught me to crochet and I made her a crewel golf bag in 1978 for a birthday present.

A cruel golf bag? Did it have teeth? Or embroidered curses? Seems an odd gift....

No. Crewel...c-r-e-w-e-l.

Oh, of course. Sorry. Next question: How many types of stitching have you tried?

Crochet and crewelwork, as I already mentioned. I do a lot of cross stitch and have started knitting a little again. I've made a hooked rug and lots of beaded earrings. I made an amulet bag in peyote stitch for my mom a few years ago. I also have a needle-felting kit, but I haven't opened it yet.

No macrame? I have a note here that says you've done that as well....

Um, well, yes. But it was only once! And I actually finished the project!

Ok, we'll leave that off the main listing. But please, in the future, don't attempt to "hide" any of your craft dabbling. We *will* find out.

Yes, ma'am.

Can you estimate the number of unfinished stitching projects you currently have?

Uhhhh....well....I have approximately 30 cross-stitch projects with at least a few stitches in them....

I see. Please refer to the Definition sheet again. Read the entry for "unfinished projects" to the group.

"Unfinished Project: Any project begun during the course of a lifetime which *at one time* was intended to be finished."

Would you care to revise your answer?

I have 32 cross-stitch projects, three crocheted afghans and one knitted sweater. I think I have a couple doilies hanging around in my yarn basket, too. But I don't have the patterns for two of the afghans anymore or the sweater. Do I still have to count them?

Only for us here at SA. What you report to your family or anywhere else is none of our concern. Though *full disclosure* is imperative to beat your addition eventually. Remember that.

Now, let's move on to a more serious matter. Even with *all* of these projects, you still attended a recent Craft & Sewing Fair in Phoenix, yes?

Yes. It was a planned trip with my Mom and my friend, Margaret. You know, a "female bonding" kind of day. And the vendors were primarily for quilting supplies, which I don't count as a "current" hobby. Heck, I haven't done that since.....uhhh.....

"Current?" Did you fail to mention that earlier?

Yes, I did. The one quilt I did finish I no longer have. But I don't have any others started!

Well, ok, but again, we must insist on full disclosure if we are to help you. Now then, you attended this Fair on Saturday. What did you buy?

Some very tiny cross-stitch kits. Insignificant really. Heck, I'll be able to finish them on my lunch break at work! One I bought for my daughter!

I see. Corrupting the next generation already. What else did you buy?

Some yarn and knitting needles to make a fuzzy scarf, also for my daughter. I started and finished it on Saturday night! Wanna see? **reaches into bag for mauve colored fuzzy scarf**

Very nice. Soft....I'm afraid I'll have to pass that around for the other members to examine. And I see the directions there? I'll take those as evidence....**makes a few notes on her pad.... 10 stitches...knit only... size 17 needles** Anything else? I believe there were a few bead vendors....

Yes. I bought a book and kit for a knitted beaded purse. Tiny thing. Won't take long, I promise. And the other amulet bag kit...well, I have this thing for saguaro cactii and the colors are so bright....

But what have you bought *since the show* that is directly related to these purchases?

Some hanked sead beads on ebay to make more purses and more fuzzy yarn

I'm sorry, can you speak up please?

Some hanked sead beads on ebay to make more purses and more fuzzy yarn! But they will make wonderful gifts! The scarves only take a few hours and the new yarn makes them turn out much lacier! And I *had* to have hanked beads for the other two colors of variegated perle cotton I bought! It's from Spain and such great colors!

So, more projects. More types of stitching. And you *still* claim you are not an addict?

Well.....I guess if you put it like that.....

Good! We've had a breakthrough today! For tomorrow's meeting I'd like to look at that beadknitting book in more detail. We must be familiar with *all* the temptations out there! The better to ....uhh...guard against! Yeah! That's it!

That's all for today, members! Remember, same time tomorrow and don't forget your scissors!


Where did the weekend go?

I really *hate* when my weekends just fly by and when I come in Monday morning it feels like I never left....

First up today, Sunday Brunch:

1) What sitcom have you seen every episode of?

M*A*S*H, Bewitched, The Dick Van Dyke Show....

2) What sitcom makes you laugh until you cry?

Frasier had its moments...

3) What sitcom do you wish had not been cancelled?

I can't think of one that I thought should continue past its finale....

4) What sitcom do you wish they WOULD cancel?

I honestly don't watch them anymore, so they could cancel them all!

5) Who is your favorite sitcom character, either past or present?

Samantha Stevens. As a kid I practiced wiggling my nose to make things happen ;)


Friday Forum - Email

1) When you write an e-mail, do you usually use correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.? Or do you prefer to type a "stream of consciousness" message and not worry so much about the technical stuff? Do you spell-check your e-mails?

The style of writing depends on the message and the audience. If I'm writing to someone I do not know personally, or have a "serious" message to convey, I'll maintain a "professional" tone and structure. If it's a personal note, anything goes.

I don't default spell-check my emails. I'm pretty good at spelling and almost as good at typing ;)

2) Do you typically use emoticons/smilies and words like "LOL" or "TTYL" in your e-mail messages? What fonts/colors do you normally use, or do you use e-mail stationery? Do you use an e-mail signature?

I'll use smilies and the odd acronym in personal emails. Not in professional ones. Font is usually black Arial as it's clean and easy to read. Email stationery...never. It's essentially an attachment and very program dependant.

I use a signature only in work email. Full name, Department/Title and phone number in italicized text.

3) How many e-mail accounts do you have, and how often do you check them? About how many messages do you receive per day, and are you good about keeping up with e-mail correspondence? Would you call yourself an "e-mail junkie"?

Let's see....work, personal domain, ISP and Yahoo! accounts. I check the first two several times a day. The ISP account DH checks primarily and my Yahoo! account I check maybe once a week (to clear out the spam).

I'm probably pushing 100 emails a day between work and personal domain. I try *really* hard to keep up with email. Obviously, for work it's imperative so it's the personal that will sometimes get delayed.....

4) Do you subscribe to any e-mail lists, groups, message boards, forums, etc.? Why did you decide to join them? Have you made lots of close friends through these groups? Do you post regularly?

I've a handful of Yahoo! groups and only one is set to "mail" and not read online. I do visit the odd message board on Ezboard. 95% of them are related in some way to my stitching. My primary haunts are the TWBB, Rotation BB and The Wagon.

I have made some close friends thru these boards... People I would never have run across otherwise and I value each of them very highly.

5) Who is the most recent person you've e-mailed? What was the topic of your message? What is the most recent e-mail that you've received? What e-mail program do you use?

Most recent sent: Email to a manager at work asking about the process to post a new install file on the common install menu.
Most recent received: Notice of an email server outage scheduled for Sunday night.

Outlook for work and home....when I'm there, a web interface when I'm not.


If you had to change your name....

I'm sure many of us use the same username all over the web. What if you had to change it? Let's say some freak action-movie-worthy technological *blip* disassociated you (and everyone you knew) from your username so that you couldn't just "re-register" it, you had to literally come up with something new.

I've been "annette414" for so long, I don't know if I could type anything else or answer to anything else online.

I didn't start out with that name. I was justifiably concerned with keeping my name off the web so I went for a generic, yet still personalized, name online: AZULikeIt. (I was also single). AZ for Arizona, of course and the rest from Shakespeare's "As You Like It." That literary twist was enough to keep several would-be "friendlies" away as they just didn't get the reference and tended to add their own interpretation. A couple folks assumed an association with the local University, but I didn't count it against them.

Once DH and I found one another, I abandoned "AZU" and let "annette414" be my permanent name online.....AOL, Yahoo!, Ezboard and various other sites all know me by that handle.

But back to our action movie....

There are several possibilities on the "Got Milk?" theme: GotDMC, GotSilk, GotDragons
Other "annette" combinations: annette205, annette65, etc
An old association: VikingsLady (based on DH's original screen name)
Various "Role" based names: ZKMom, Momto2, AZMom, GeekStitcher

Any would work...it would just take a while to become "me"

I do have some suggestions for a friend, though:

SkywalkerMom - for my Expounding Friend ;)



No blog yesterday as I was enjoying a day at home with the family thanks to Mr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have to wonder, though, why we get a day off celebrating his work yet we have to work on President's Day in February....the day celebrating George Washington and Abraham Lincoln (the later being the ironic part...LOL)

Spent the day stitching (finished Dragon Dreams Mermaid Christmyth ornament - picture soon), doing laundry (fun), watching DVD's (Dick Van Dyke Show, LXG, M*A*S*H - a little bit of everything) and a bit of cooking (home-made macaroni & cheese, as usual a family favorite).

Oh, and working on a new WIP. Meet Greta:

She's a 3 month old black miniature schnauzer. We brought her home Friday night.

She's a sweetie and she's already breaking the established "dog rules" in the house: She's allowed on the couch (she doesn't shed), she sleeps in our bed (she sleeps thru the night which was a tremendous relief) and she's an "indoor" dog.

If the other two find their way home, she'll fit in just fine. Otherwise we'll find her a buddy in about three months or so....


Friday Forum - Awards

1) As "movie award season" approaches, do you watch any awards shows (such as the Oscars or the Golden Globes)? Which part of the shows do you enjoy the most: the "red carpet" part or the actual awards show?

I watch the Oscars only...and I skip the "red carpet" part.

2) Do you consider yourself a "movie insider"? Any guesses as to who will win the Academy Awards this year? Any personal favorites?

Heavens no, I'm not an "insider." No guesses...I didn't see enough movies this year.

3) "Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King" is up for 11 Academy Awards. What do you think about that? (Eleven Oscars also went to "Titanic" and "Ben Hur" - did you see those movies?) Have you seen all of the Best Picture-nominated films?

Hmmm...either last year's awards were a dream (and I need to place a few bets) or this is a rather stale question LOL.

Usually, if I've seen a film nominated for Best Picture it has a *very* slim chance of winning. I think I've seen two films that won the award *before* they won (RotK being the second).

4) Which actor/actress, in your opinion, should have earned an Oscar but so far hasn't? Is there an actor/actress who *has* received an Oscar but you feel shouldn't have gotten it or wasn't deserving?

Morgan Freeman comes to mind....he's been nominated a *bunch* and is just a consummate actor.

5) If you could create your own movie award and give it to someone, who would it be and in what category?

"Easiest on the Eyes" - to Mr. Johnny Depp LOL Doesn't matter what character he plays, I'll watch 'em all.


On the Nightstand

Yesterday, I mentioned I have a stack of books on my nightstand "in process" and a couple waiting patiently.

Interested in what they are? (If not, you probably can skip the rest of today's entry).

Currently Reading:

Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts. I love her "In Death" series (written as JD Robb) and I read the "Key" Trilogy so I was thrilled to receive this as part of a Christmas Book Exchange

The Doorbell Rang by Rex Stout. We are huge Nero Wolfe fans in our house and both DH and I are enjoying reading the original books after practically knowing the A&E DVD Set by heart.

Dragons of a Lost Star by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Slowly getting thru this lengthy Dragonlance Trilogy. My daughter is one book ahead of me, but she's reading them for school!

Good Morning, Irene by Carole Nelson Douglas. Second in the Irene Adler series, I love the concept of a supporting character from Sherlock Holmes having her own adventures. Another gift from a reading friend.

State of Fear by Michael Crichton. Technically, this isn't on my nightstand as it's in my Treo (Palm-device). But it's "in process" so it counts :)

Next to Start:

Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis. Another gift...but as I grew up playing Scrabble with my Granny, it's *very* appropriate!

Shadows in Bronze by Lindsey Davis. Some fellow mystery lovers introduced me to this series and I in turn suggested it to my husband. He's now ahead of me in the series....I'll catch up!

Waiting Patiently on the Bookshelf:

At least they are in another room, so I can't hear them whining to be read. And this is by no means a complete list...that would take days...

The Pillars of the World by Anne Bishop. Love her "Black Jewels Trilogy"!

Amelia Peabody Series by Elizabeth Peters. I have a good number of these and have read the first five already.

The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. Even though I've read the first seven, I need to read them again before moving on...

Anxiously Awaited from Amazon:

Hey...gift certificates and new releases mean new books to choose! These are a sample of what I'm waiting on:

Dreams Made Flesh by Anne Bishop. She's one of my very favorite authors and this brand new set of short stories is in my favorite "realm."

Powers of Detection: Stories of Mystery and Fantasy. My two favorite genres combined? Including another Anne Bishop story? How could I resist?

Knitting for Dummies by Pam Allen, et al. My newfound interest in knitting spurred this. Currently knitting patterns look like greek to me beyond "k1 p1"


A Little Bit of Chaos

I've come to the realization that I need a little bit of chaos in my life.

I'm not talking full-blown uncontrolled hysteria here, but a little mystery, a little freedom and plenty of opportunities for spontaneity.

I look around at my desk here at work and while it's basically "neat," if you aren't *me* you may not be able to find things quickly and easily. *I* know where everything is (including the various toys and stuffed animals) but it sure doesn't follow any published organizational technique.

At home, my nightstand is usually a riot of books, cards, a bits of notes next to my alarm clock. My jewelry armoire also holds a wide variety of important items and I know exactly where to put my fingers on something I need. I have at least three books going at one time and pick up each one as the mood strikes. I do finish them all eventually!

So with all this "comfortable" chaos around me, why am I forcing predictable structure on my stitching? Even my stash has a degree of chaos - I have several months of stash purchases still in one easy-to-see spot and they have not been put in the appropriate boxes and bins (granted, many are rather full already...but that's not the reason). Yet, for the most part I know what's in that pile and with little effort can find something specific.

With that in mind, let's revisit the Rotation Plans.

I will freely admit, that the initial plans for January (swapping three WIPs over the course of a week) have bombed rather dramatically. I have yet to touch a Chatelaine on Sunday or any other day, I did get the WBRR started, but happily put it down after three days, and WS did get a couple days of work.

Meanwhile, a new start (Dragon Dreams Summer's Magic [due out at Nashville - this is from last year's Myrtle Beach retreat]) is about 40% complete. It's also been claimed by DS for his room.

Time for some tweaking on the old Rotation Plans. Serious tweaking....as in, I'm tossing 'em out the window and inviting in some controlled chaos.

I've identified 10 of my current WIPs for finishing this year:

Wedding Sampler ~ Teresa Wentzler (wedding is at the end of April)
Summer's Magic ~ Dragon Dreams
Quilt Mystery (A&B) ~ Chatelaine
Santa's Midnight Ride ~ Dutch Treat
Honeybees Bead & Button ~ Mill Hill
Autumn Queen ~ Mirabilia
Stroke of Midnight ~ Teresa Wentzler
Neptune/Poseidon ~ Lynn Nicoletti
Heirloom Christmas Sampler ~ Victoria Sampler
Sampler of Unpublished Insertion Stitches ~ Martha Schmidt

**Mystery VIII ~ Chatelaine (not started yet, so not part of the original 10)

Nice selection, eh? This will leave me 18 WIPs left (I'm not counting RRs as they all finish during the year) and a "cushion" of 6 or 7 new starts to meet my goal of 25 projects at year end.

As there are only two that I have planned that might carry over to 2006 (Mirabilia Royal Holiday and TW's Illuminata [not released yet], that's a pretty realistic goal.

With that I'm officially announcing a new "Controlled Chaos" Rotation Style. I have a limited number of WIPs to work from and a goal of finishing each one this year. I'll work each of the 10 pieces (not necessarily in the above order and with breaks as needed for RRs or Ornaments) until they are stripped from my list.

First up: Summer's Magic
On deck: Wedding Sampler

I will say that part of my new focus on finishing is due to some comments from my supportive DH. While he is fully behind me on stash purchases and stitching, he wants stuff to hang on the walls ;)


The Search Continues....

On the way home from work yesterday I stopped at the County Animal Control Center on the chance that my two wayward pups had showed up.

They hadn't.

It was an emotional walk down the rows of kennels. A couple times I spotted a black curled-up lump in front of a gate and I felt my heart in my throat for just a moment that it might be Mella......but it wasn't. I saw a pup probably around 8 months old with the same coloring and body style as my silly George.

DH will be making future visits. I don't know if I can take another one.....all those dogs with families wondering over their loss. If they only feel half of what we are, it's too much sadness.....

The kids are doing well. DH, DD and I watched Alien last night (DD and I had never seen it....and we were *extremely* worried about the cat!) while DS raced on his PlayStation.

I love those stupid dogs. Why can't they just come home?


What a Difference a Day Makes


In and of itself, usually a good day. End of the work week, start of the weekend and usually an easy "unwind" day for me.

Not so last Friday. It was a roller coaster. Some really *good* news and some really *bad* news. Which do you want first?

The bad? Yeah, let's get it over with.....

Friday evening we usually drive DD over to her dad's and are gone just over an hour. This weekend we had the added stop of dinner at my Granny's (they are on the way now). We left significantly earlier than usual: 5:45. Got back home a little later than normal: 8:45.

Seems DD left one of the side gates open and our two dogs have decided to do a "walkabout." We spent almost two hours on Friday night driving the neighborhood, calling the police and animal control and searching for them. Saturday morning more driving, more calls (local vets and kennels) and putting out a bowl of their favorite bones. I left the front door open to hear/see if they found their way home. I submitted names/descriptions/pics to the local shelter online database and have been checking the "found" entries several times a day.

It's as though they've disappeared.....flyers will go up today as I managed to find decent pictures of them in my myriad of squirrelled away digipics.

DD found out Sunday evening after coming home from her dad's. I did *not* want to tell her over the phone and as expected, she was very upset. She's helping with flyers and will spread the word at school.

At this point, DH and I believe they've been taken in by someone. They are both obviously healthy and other than the missing collars, well taken care of. If/when they *do* come home, we'll find collars they can't remove.....

Ready for the Good News?

I was offered a new position here at my current company on Friday. It's a "lateral" move with the same title/pay, but the changes in responsibilities and hierarchy are the attractions. Roughly 70% of the new position is much like I'm doing now: supporting an enterprise-wide application including vendor management and end-user support. Documenting standards, arranging user-group meetings (internal and external), coordinating upgrades and releases and working closely with the "power users" of the application. It's the other 30% that's intriguing. Creating reports based on the data captured by the application, actually *training* the end-users hands-on and taking a more active role in the whole "process" mapping initiative that's been going on in IS and now the rest of the company.

Another boon: I *love* my new boss! I've worked with him before, but never "for" him and I'm excited about the opportunity. Also, it's a much smaller group and I've worked with most of them before. With one minor exception, they are all great to work with....and I've already acknowledged that one exception with the new boss and after some discussion I'm optimistic old arguments will not reappear.

Suggested move date is mid-February but I've not yet discussed with current boss to do any planning.

One day.....big differences......what a difference a day makes.....



Found at an Alternate Dementia

I appear to be Yoda...LOL

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

A Thursday Surprise and the Friday Forum

Last night I had *planned* to watch one of my Christmas DVDs with the kids after dinner (DH's school night). My dear brother gave me "Around the World in 80 Days" (original David Niven version) as a gift.

Finish dinner, kids finish homework, popcorn is ready, stitching at hand.....and I open the shrink-wrapped movie. It's the 2-disc "Special Edition."

No discs.

That's right. The box was empty and wrapped in plastic. So this weekend I'll be headed to the movie store to put on an innocent face and attempt to exchange it for one that *has* discs included. (Brother no longer has receipt....)

We ended up watching "Rocky & Bullwinkle" but it just wasn't the same.

The Friday Forum - first one of the new year!

1) What's one of the funniest things that you ever did as a kid?How old were you? Do you actually remember doing it? Do your parents/relatives still tell stories about it?

When I was six years old, we lived in an apartment complex in Louisville, KY. I had a lovely red tricycle. Evidently one evening after I was supposedly asleep, my mother was outside with a neighbor and the neighbor's child decided to take a spin on my tricycle. Somehow I heard this and came out and *ran* after this child who *dared* ride MY tricycle. (I don't have actual memory of this, only from repeated family tellings).

So out I go and across the brick common area in front of the apartments. And me being the super-graceful and athletic sort, tripped. (This I *DO* remember). I gashed my chin open and had to have stitches (the only "unplanned" ones I've ever had). The story goes on to the ER visit and not reacting as expected to the "green stuff" they gave me to drink ("This will put her out!" HA!), being taped down to the exam table for the stitches and kicking the doctor in places he probably preferred not to be kicked.......

And yes, the story is still told by my mother now and then.

2) How would you describe yourself as a child? Extroverted or introverted? Creative? Hyper? Quiet? Compare that with your personality today. Are you still that way, for the most part?

Quiet and introverted and not much self-confidence. Still fairly quiet and introverted....but I'm getting better on the self-confidence.

3) What were some of your favorite childhood toys? Do you still have any of them? What do you think of the toys that children are playing with nowadays?

I remember having a Spirograph that got a lot of use and a Velvet doll. I was a big puzzle fan, so I had lots of those. My favorite stuffed toy was a blue dog that served as pillow/compadre/playmate and I still have him. He's in a box in storage, but I still have him!

4) Do you feel that you get along well with children? Why/why not? Are you around them quite a bit? Are there any particular age groups that you get along especially well with?

Other than my own kids, I'm not around any other children regularly. I get along fine with kids of any age.

5) Did you like school when you were a kid? Were you involved with any sports, extracurricular activities, etc. as a child? Did you make pretty good grades, and did you like your teachers?

I *loved* school! I got very good grades and graduated as a Junior in high school. I participated in Drama and Speech in high school to offset all the acadamic classes (lots of math and science). The only elementary teacher I didn't like was in second grade....Mrs. Freeling! It was a mutual feeling.

That's all for today, enjoy your weekend!


It's All About.....the Words

(with apologies to Overstock.com)

In this box are all the words I know, he said. "Most of them you will never need, some you will use constantly, but with them you may ask all the questions which have never been answered and answer all the questions which have never been asked. All the great books of the past and all the ones yet to come are made with these words. With them there is no obstacle you cannot overcome. All you must learn to do is to use them well and in the right places." - The Phantom Tollbooth

For almost three months now, a co-worker, R, has been trying to match a snippet of lyrics he heard while browsing in a big-box electronic store to the proper song title and artist. He heard it just before I went to Hershey back in October and as of yesterday, he was *still* trying to figure it out. He visits my cubemates and me several times a week and asks us at least *once* each day.

So it's time to get serious on this and look for help here!

I've tried Googling the bit of lyrics and while we do get hits, they aren't the right song. There are four of us puzzling over this and for some reason the chorus is tantalizingly out of reach for all of us. We did add one more line yesterday and are pretty convinced it's an 80's "One-Hit-Wonder." I've been listening to my Sirius "All 80's" station hoping it'll be played....

Here's what we've got:

Is everything alright?
Is everything okay?
I just called you on the phone.....

And then a line or two later

...hearts embrace....

It's not Stevie Wonder. Male voice similar to Leo Sayer (but not Leo Sayer) according to R.

Anyone? Clue? More lyrics maybe?

Reading up a Storm

My family has been on a serious reading binge for the last few weeks.

K, my voracious reader of a daughter, finished The Amulet of Samarkand over the break and started Dragons of a Vanished Moon when school started again. It counts as an "Accelerated Reading" book for English - she's one of the few in the class that reads far above her grade level and her teacher allows her to read whatever she wants. She also got the first five Xanth books by Piers Anthony for Christmas. I remember reading these when they first came out.....soooo long ago!

Z, my new reader, also got books for Christmas. *His* favorites are his new I, Spy books but *I* like The Sign of the Seahorse by Graeme Base. His books are simply amazing....K has had The Eleventh Hour since she was Z's age.

A few weeks ago, I suggested to DH that he might like Lindsey Davis's Falco Series. I had read the first and enjoyed it and with his love of history and mystery it was a pretty sure bet he'd like them too. Well, he's finished the first two I bought and let me know I should get the rest. Thankfully, while they are "Out of Print" in the US, they are still available thru Amazon.UK. He's started on The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie for now....and he still has a Rex Stout book or two on the shelf he hasn't read until I get the rest of the Falcos!

As for me... I finished the last Dan Brown book recently: Digital Fortress. I'm 3/4 thru The High Lord by Trudi Canavan (last of a trilogy) and have The Doorbell Rang by Rex Stout going as well. As for the books yet to be read....well, more than I want to honestly admit! The tops of the piles: Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis, Pillars of the World by Anne Bishop and more Elizabeth George and Carole Nelson Dougles (Irene Adler series) and Robert Jordan and just more...more...more...

So many books....so little time....


Annette's Rules of Sport

Over the last few years, I've surprisingly become quite a sports fan. Baseball is tops on the list, football is creeping up, racing is falling (due to mishandling by NASCAR more than anything else), basketball is still waaaay down and there's that one on ice....well, it isn't on the list.

If I was the Commissioner of any of these, there would be a few changes, let me tell you! DH christened my ideas "Annette's Rules of Sport" and here are a few samples:

The National Anthem

If you are asked to sing the National Anthem, please sing it as written. No vocal gymnastics, no "extra" words/verses/notes and *please* know the words. Also, dress with some respect. Holey, dirty jeans and shirts that leave nothing to the imagination are *not* respectful.


Designated Hitter - No way. You can't have one player in one league and not in the other. All Pitchers should hit.

Instant Replay & Challenges - They seem to work in football, let's use them in baseball! A lost challenge costs a strike...or maybe an out. Hmmm..have to think on that one.

Fans as Players - If a foul ball is caught clean by a fan, it should be a strike. Should reduce the tendency of some hitters to hit endless fouls and slooooow down the game.

Umpire Punishment - With the use of the Qwest system (the one that tracks balls and strikes to see how accurate the ump is), Umpires that are less than 85% accurate should be outta there! I can name at least two that would fail!

No Aluminum Bats in College - Too many times a player that's looking great on his college team gets drafted and can't hit for beans....because he's never used a wooden bat!


First, rollback *every* stupid rule put in place during the 2004 season. No more futzing with the point standings at the end of year (I bet Jeffie is just *steaming* as he'd be the NASCAR champ if they hadn't played with the rules on this).

Remove the "Lucky Dog" pass and let the "Race back to the line Gentleman's Agreement" come back. It worked for how many years before NASCAR decided to mess it up? This is *racing* folks, if you want to increase safety change equipment, not rules.

Eliminate "optional Red Flag" Restarts - you know, where if there's a caution at the very end of the race they decide to use a Red flag and stop the race rather than finish under caution? Quit that....if you let 'em race back to the Yellow, you've got a good finish! Just because Jr. decides he's going to wait until the *last* lap to try and pass rather than just get it done does *not* mean you need to give him a chance to validate a losing strategy.

Eliminate "Green/White/Checker" rule. See above.


Extra Points - if your sorry kicker misses an extra point (not due to blocking), you should lose a point. This is a *fundamental* skill here!

Wasting the Clock by the Officials - If it takes longer than 3 seconds for the Officials to figure out where to put the stupid ball, add time back on the clock.


Free Throws - if a player misses, team loses a point. Same as with Extra Points above - these are fundamentals!


No more pros. In *any* sport.

This is why women aren't ever elected commissioners....we think "big picture" instead of short term and media money! LOL


Odds and Ends

Please note: a change over on the right there in my "Current WIP" and "Completed." Yup, I finished VS Autumn Garden Sampler on Sunday and if the sun ever appears again here in Arizona, I'll get a picture up for you to see....

Also finished Dan Brown's Digital Fortress yesterday during some forced downtime at work. Good, but Angels and Demons is still my favorite.

My laptop hit "critical meltdown" yesterday at work. Working fine until I applied the required "January Security Update" and then it just quit and refused to even come back up. It was done. Toast. Put a fork in it....

So I call the "Help" Desk (I use that term loosely). Open a Break/Fix Service Call. Urgent status. Two hours later (after a couple calls for status) I walk around to the hardware folks and see if there is actually anyone *home* that has gotten my ticket. Nope, the ever-insightful Help Desk has assigned it to the group responsible for the *updates* . One of the techs took pity on me, called the assignee, relayed the less-than-helpful error message and after a brief discussion decided the only fix was to start from scratch ("re-image" in tech-y terms). Thankfully I've learned long ago *not* to save important stuff on my C drive....just have to rebuild shortcuts, reinstall about a dozen applications and dig out passwords....

Oh, and I learned I'll be getting a new laptop in about six weeks.

On the way to work this morning, I saw the following bumper sticker:

"If you aren't appalled, you aren't paying attention."

Boy, isn't that true! However, I then wondered what the driver was appalled at...and if it was the same thing I was.

We've been having a "M*A*S*H-athon" at home for the last few weeks. Anyone remember the one in Season 4 where Frank applies for a Purple Heart for a "shell fragment in the eye" (it was an eggshell)? DD's comment: "Hey! He can run for President now!" Yes, folks, I'm raising me a good Conservative.....

Watching the Sugar Bowl last night (Yeah, Auburn! You were robbed, boys, you should be playing tonight), I came up with yet another "Annette's Rules of Sport" (that's what DH calls 'em). If you can have instant replay at the professional level, you should have it in *all* the college conferences and in *all* the games. Why make exceptions? There were definitely a couple plays last night that should've had some review.

And as for the BCS....computers are only as good as the people that programmed them. I say it's time for Playoffs to determine the National Champion!

Better quit now...I'll fill a post with "Annette's Rules of Sport" soon....


January Goals

Time to document the monthly goals and rotation plan:

Monthly Goals

Stitch WBRR bug (only 1 left after this!)
Start Mystery VIII
Start Mele Kalikimaka ornament (palm trees in JCS2004)
Third batch of DD Christmyth Ornament RR
More Wedding Sampler

Rotation Plan

Sunday: Chatelaine Day (MVIII or Quilt A&B)
Mon-Wed: RR's if I have any or one of the "Top 10" (From my 2005 Goals)
Thurs - Sat: TW's Wedding Sampler (this is when I have the biggest chunk of stitching time during the week)

December Goal Review

Another WBRR bug (only 2 rounds left....) - got it in the mail late. I do know what I'm going to stitch, though
First round of new Ornament RR - Done!
Second batch of DD Chrismyth RR - Done!
More progress on Wedding Sampler - Uh...yeah. Not as much as I should have, though.


Goals for 2005

Happy New Year everyone!

The New Year started quietly here. I was stitching away on Victoria Sampler's Autumn Garden Sampler (a Christmas gift from DH...must encourage this so I thought I'd take a small break from the other WIPs and stitch it up....LOL), DH was beside me on the couch and DD and a friend were also up with us. We eschewed the usual "New Years" TV and were watching M*A*S*H Season 2 on DVD when the clock struck 12.....such an exciting life we lead, eh?

But on to business....time to document the goals for 2005!

Stitching Goals

1 - Continue StRIPping my WIPs and end 2005 with *25* total (including any RRs). I'm keeping track here if you'd like to see the current list and those WIPs I've targeted for StRIPping.

2 - Focus on the "Top 10." In that spreadsheet, you'll see I've identified 10 WIPs that will get the most attention this year. As I finish one, I'll add another from the remaining pile (or start something new, but *not* every time!). Wedding Sampler is the first focus as the wedding is at the end of April ;)

3 - Expand the StRIP Club to my stash. Two ways to do this - sell/trade or start. Yes, I want to stitch primarily from my stash this year. While I'm not saying I'll severely limit new purchases, I do want to reduce what I already have.

4 - Do more than cross-stitch. I crocheted three blankets last year and appreciate the difference between working with yarn vs. floss. I've also got more beads than I possible use now, so I'm hoping to add in some bead crochet and bead knitting projects. Regular knitting is also getting attention (and I finished my first project already! Knitted Dishcloth)

That's enough Stitching Goals....on to...

General Goals

1 - Incorporate more healthy habits. Drinking more water, use the treadmill for more than a box holder, and feed the family more fruits and vegetables and "unprocessed" foods. This will help the whole family, but as the primary "cook & shopper" I know it has to start with me.

2 - Nurture friendshps. Take care of those I have and gently nurture a few more.

3 - Work smarter. I have lots of opportunity for improvement at work and I need to focus on astonishing my customers and coworkers. I'm not as busy as I could be!

4 - Focus on "Quality" online, not "Quantity" - Last year I reduced the BBs I frequent online. I need to do that again and keep it limited.

I think that's plenty for 2005!