Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Where's The Party?

Yes, that's what I asked when I got up this morning :o( After sleeping 18.5 hours the previous night (I hate to say it but it's true), I woke up feeling like I was partying all night but didn't remember the actual "fun" portion of the party. Do you remember in my post Mr. Sandman Bring Me... I stated that something was going to give soon and it wasn't going to be pretty? Well I officially hit the wall. At least I got to enjoy a bit of Christmas before doing so.

As you may have noticed, I have not been around to update my Blog. Do I have the flu? I wish! Is it my Fibromyalgia? I could tolerate that. No, the reason I have not been around is that I have been hit with a severe attack of vertigo :o( For anyone who hasn't had a vertigo attack, this is what it feels like. Imagine yourself drunk but not having the benefit of actually drinking any alcohol. The world feels like it's spinning around you. I can't eat, watch television, read a book, stitch, work on the computer, let alone drive. I have a tremendous pressure in my head with a constant (and loud!) ringing in my ears. One minute I'm famished and the next I can't even think about food. One minute I'm so hot I have sweat dripping and the next I'm so cold that I can't feel my fingers and toes. I sleep a lot and I sleep hard. Sometimes I wake up and I think I'm coherent but I can't feel certain parts of my body (maybe they are still asleep!). The dreams are awful and plentiful. I wake up wondering if some of them actually happened or not. Sounds like fun, huh? ;o)

It all started about a year and a half ago when I got my first attack. At the time I thought it was the flu but then it happened for three or four months in a row. Somehow and for some reason it went away and then about nine months later it was back and worse than before. I was popping Gravol like they were candy but it didn't do much good. Finally, after one of the more severe attacks that lasted seven days, I had had enough. The hospital wouldn't take me and the after hours clinic was useless. I saw my family doctor and asked if I could try Serc. I had read about it on the internet and heard through people that it helped with vertigo.

Serc definitely has helped. It has taken an agonizing weeklong torture down to about a day and even sometimes that day is so mild that I have a hard time knowing that it is an attack. What happened this time? I have no idea. I don't know if my body just couldn't handle any more or if the generic Serc I am taking is just not as effective. I'm thinking it's the former. I talked to my pharmacist and he states there should not be any difference between the Serc and its generic drug. I have a feeling that the circus I have been attending with work and LTD, along with the holiday season, just wore me out and made my body vulnerable.

In a few weeks I have an ENG (electronystagmography) test at the hospital. Supposedly it will determine if my problem is in the inner ear or with the central nervous system. Neither sounds appealing to me but if they can find a cause, I will be happy just to know.

Monday, December 25, 2006

We Wish You A...


It seemed that Santa arrived again while we were sleeping. I guess that must have meant that I was a really good girl this year ;o) DH, in an attempt to make my Christmas perfect, had stuffed my stocking full of goodies, placed a card on the tree and prepared a scrumptious breakfast by candlelight. I was so touched that he did this considering we had agreed no to do anything for each other this year but then again, we never listen to each other ;o) My sweetie got me all of my favorite things - a box of chocolate covered cherries (Lowney's of course), four delectable truffles by Godiva, a pack of Scratch & Win tickets (in which I won $10 from!), a CD (Matt Dusk ~ swoon!), fuzzy socks (to match my pajamas) and a book (Nobody's Mother, Life Without Kids by Lynne Van Luven). Am I spoiled or what! :o) The "kids" each got their own gift. Pickles got a package of Carrot Slims and unbelievably he loves them! Do you know how hard it is to buy for a rabbit???? Brie got a stuffed toy with TWO squeakers in it and Duncan got a nice big doggy bone :o)

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After breakfast we packed up the car, with both dogs in tow, and headed down to the ocean to spend Christmas with DH's family. It was a beautiful day, with no snow in sight, and we could have swore it was early fall. Once everyone arrived and we were somewhat settled in, the gift opening began! With eight adults, one baby and SIX dogs, you can just imagine what kind of madhouse we had going :o) All the gifts were wonderful and well thought out. My MIL loved the Flower Lady that I stitched for her -

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Our nephew, and his parents, was pleasantly surprised by his new Dory Rocker that my FIL made -

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I was very touched by the lovely cabinet that I received from my in-laws :o) DH put it up in the living room for me and it now holds a few of my special horse models -

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In all the giving and receiving, the dogs were not forgotten in the least! While we had hors d'oeuvres, the dogs got biscuits and dip (I kid you not!). Each dog received a bag of handmade cookies by my MIL, a special Christmas hanky from my SIL/SO, and a toy from my other SIL/BIL. Brie decided to pose with her hanky on but the way DH took the picture, it looks like she is sporting a pair of bunny ears :o)

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We "attempted" to take a picture of all the dogs together but this was the best we could do -

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From left to right we have Misha (Burmese Mountain Dog), Duncan (Australian Cattle Dog), Samson (a mix of Jack Russell and Lhasa Apso), Brie (Miniature Dachshund), Briar (Boxer) and Buddy (a Terrier mix). You try to arrange a picture with six unruly dogs and see how easy it is ;o)

My MIL put on a wonderful Christmas dinner as always. Everything was delicious and again, I behaved myself :o) While we waited for dessert and for our supper to settle, we decided to put on a fire...OUTSIDE! Yes, it was THAT nice that the boys went out and built a small campfire overlooking the ocean. I can't tell you how peaceful and tranquil it is down there. My MIL figures this should be our new Christmas tradition and I for one agree, just as long as we have the same nice weather year after year ;o) Instead of marshmallows, we snacked on a Chocolate Explosion Lava Cake for dessert and was it ever yummy! I will see about getting the recipe from my MIL if anyone is interested.

For our evening finale, we all participated in a rip roaring IQ game :o) I have come through it knowing that I am just as smart, or dumb, as those around me. LOL! It really is a neat game though so I will leave you with another brainteaser -

How many times does the digit 3 show up between the number 1 and 50?
For the one person that guessed and guessed correctly, 15 it is!

If you think you know the answer, post it in the comment section :o)

I hope everyone had as wonderful a Christmas as I had!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

For a number of years now, DH and I have alternatively switched Christmas Eve and Christmas Day between the two families. We used to try and do it all on the same day but it just got to be too much. Two turkey dinners in one day proves to be a very bad idea! LOL! Plus, with my parents now living 45 minutes away and DH's parents living about an hour and a half away, it's just not humanly possible. This year, it was Mom and Dad's turn to have us on Christmas Eve and it worked out very well seeing that it landed on a Sunday.

DH, Brie and I arrived at the lake shortly after lunch. I was quite impressed with Dad's tree, for a second year in a row, as he managed to part with another $20 and buy one from a tree farm again instead of venturing into the woods and coming back with his typical Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Now you may be chuckling at this but I'm very serious. To be truly honest, I think Charlie Brown's tree was actually fuller than some of those that Dad managed to bring home. Let me put it this way, even Brie would have hit a branch if she was thrown through Dad's tree this year ;o)

As predicted, the living room was full of presents. Brie be-lined for them right away and managed to find Duncan's gift but not hers. I think Mom was sneaky this year and put it up where she couldn't find it. Last year Brie was able to pick out her own gift and it was a dog leash, not food! I guess I taught her well as nothing surprises me much anymore. I'm quite good at my PGTs (Present Guessing Techniques) ;o)

Mom put together a scrumptious but elegant Christmas meal. I even ate some of her squish (squash)! I was good and took a little bit of everything, trying not to overload on one thing more than another. DH's plate needed sideboards but the boy can take all that food and not have to face the consequences afterwards :o) The meal was topped off with our traditional family dessert, Jell-O Squares. It's nice and light and the perfect ending to a huge meal. We've had this in our family for as long as I can remember and it wouldn't be a Christmas meal without it :o) If anyone is interested, here is the recipe -

Jell-O Squares

1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
2 1/2 cups graham wafer crumbs
1 1/4 cups boiling water
3 oz (85 g) package of Strawberry Jell-O
pinch of salt
250 ml whipping cream
1 cup icing sugar

Add melted butter to graham wafer crumbs and mix well. Keep aside about 1 cup for topping and press the remaining mixture into a 9 x 11 pan.

Add salt to the package of Jell-O and pour in the boiling water, mixing well. Place in fridge too cool to an egg white consistency.

Mix whipping cream and icing sugar until cream is whipped. Add it to the Jell-O mixture and mix well. Pour onto wafer crumb base and sprinkle on wafer crumb topping. Place in fridge to set, about three hours. Keep refrigerated.

If you have any questions, I might be able to answer them :o)

After dinner it was present time! Woohoo! And believe me, I wasn't the only kid there ;o) Between Mom and Brie, there was a huge tie, lol! As usual, DH and I were spoiled but everything will be put to good use. The neatest thing I got was a 1GB Verbatim U3 Smart Drive from Dad. What a cool gadget! It's got this neat picture software on it and it will definitely come in handy when sorting and storing my many pictures. It's also got an email program but I'll need to spend more time with that before I get brave enough to try it :o) I couldn't believe it but I also got some stash this year! I got two sets of DMC floss (66 skeins in total) and a 2-meter piece of moss green Monk's Cloth for my next Swedish Weaving project. Again, very spoiled indeed!

Mom was very touched by the pillow I stitched up by Pine Mountain Designs -

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Dad was pretty pleased with his new John Deere tractor that I stitched as well -

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More than likely, it will go down in their bedroom along with the antique John Deere tractor seat that we got him last year :o)

Brie was like a mad dog, helping DH and I open our gifts, and it didn't stop until she got her own gift. It goes to show you just how smart she really is :o)

DH, Brie and I left Mom and Dad's at a reasonable time and when we got home, I was pretty much ready for bed but..."apparently" Santa arrived while we were out and there was a box waiting for me under the tree. Now this was a definite no-no as DH and I agreed not to do anything for each other this year. I quickly unwrapped it and inside the box was a beautiful, soft pair of penguin fleece pajamas! The funny part was...I quickly explained to DH that I had bought "him" something and that it was hiding under the couch so I had easy access to it on Christmas morning. His answer..."I know." You see, DH thought it was a great idea to hide "my" gift under the couch as well (for easy access) and came across the wrapped gift that I had hidden there :o) Can you see how much we think alike???? Scary! LOL!

Since I was wide-awake by this point, I thought I might as well open the rest of the gifts under the tree :o) I have some wonderful friends and each gift they send me is special. I was tickled pink with one in particular though. It came from my good friend in British Columbia -

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It's a little Norwegian Fjord pin and I just adore it! It reminds me so much of the Fjord ponies that we used to have, Princess in particular. This is one item I will treasure dearly :o)

A big THANK YOU to all!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Mr. Sandman Bring Me...

SOME SLEEP! Please! I'm working off of very little this week and I'm desperate for a good night's sleep. Every inch of my body is screaming :o( I've tried television induced (do you know how many things are wrong with Lake Placid?), literature induced (I've finished my most recent book), food induced (put it this way, my "lifestyle change" has been thrown out the window) and drug induced (prescription people!) sleep but nothing is working. Maybe my next step is to ask DH to hit me over the head with the good ol' rubber mallet ;o) I think that would be too tempting for him though, lol! I have no idea if it's a FM High or that I just can't turn my brain off but something is going to give pretty soon and it probably won't be pretty. Knowing my luck I'll sleep right through Christmas!

The good thing is, I have gotten back to my stitching :o) Gathering Eggs is still on hold but only for the time being. There are a couple of projects that I want to complete over the holidays and then it will be back to her. I finally finished up my PIF gift and it's on the way to the UK as I type! I'm not going to post pictures yet because I know Karen comes by my Blog on a regular basis and I don't want to ruin the surprise for her. I still have three slots available to PIF so feel free to sign up if you are up to the challenge ;o)

I also dug out my Snowmen WIP and completed him -

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I stitched him on the 25 count Moss Green Lugana that was called for but he was done over two and not over one. I still value my 20/20 vision! LOL! I was really unsure of the colors in the variegated silk (Belvedere Gardens) so that is why I didn't finish him up before this. I'm still not sure of it but I have to say that it's growing on me :o) Right now I'm working on his mate, Be Merry. I doubt they will be turned into ornaments as they will be too big but I might attempt to make them into cubes. We'll see!

Last night, DH came home with my two pieces that were taken to the framers earlier in the week and all I can say is...they look FANTASTIC! I'm so pleased! I can't post pictures yet but look for them after Christmas ;o)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I'm Too Sexy For...

My new sweater!!!!

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LOL! So what do you think? Since Brie has been acting like such a brat lately, I was able to get some revenge last night when DH brought home her new sweater :o) A friend of ours makes them and I had brought Brie over to her house to have it custom fit. The problem with having a l-o-n-g dog is that most of the "outfits" out there are way too short. Dachshunds have a very deep chest that narrows quite abruptly at the waist so they are not (or should not be) the same thickness all over. This sweater was long enough but she brought it in at the waist and lengthened it underneath so that it covers most of her hairless tummy. Since Brie is a "girl" doggy, we don't have to worry about the trap door ;o)

Brie is usually quite a ham in front of the camera but she was in no mood last night to be bothered. DH and I worked together to get this shot -

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I still have to get a picture of her in her John Deere outfit but I'll wait to torture her another day ;o)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Here Comes Santa Claus

Yes, only one more week until Christmas Eve. It's hard to believe that Christmas is right around the corner! Literally! Are you ready? I'm getting there. There are a few items that I am quite worried about even though it was said that they would be guaranteed for December 25. Basically it's out of my hands at this point. Maybe Santa is going to drop them down the chimney ;o) I have one more thing left to do on my list and that should be easy to complete this week. Maybe I should just bite my words now... At least the Christmas cards were completed and mailed out on Friday! Whew!

On Friday night, my parents along with my Gram, arrived for supper and a good old fashion slide show :o) DH did a wonderful job with the Shepherd's Pie. It has now become one of my favorite dishes after cooking a roast. Supper was topped off with a yummy lemon meringue pie from Mom :o) Afterwards, we all settled in to watch some slides. Talk about being taken back in time! Whoa! It was quite amusing to see all the old cars and clothing of the early seventies but it was my baby pictures that were quite a hit with DH. I didn't know I had so many bad facial expressions! LOL! One important note - the invention of Huggies should be on the top 10 list of best inventions!!!!

Brie has been a total brat this past week! I have no doubt that she knows Santa is coming. The dog is just too smart. I keep telling her Santa will not come if her behavior continues but my warnings have been falling on deaf ears. She put on a good show for Mom, Dad and Gram. She just LOVES her grandparents and great grandparent but this is the perfect time to act up. I had better not tell her that she's spending Christmas with all her cousins because we'd never get her to settle down then!

The rest of the weekend was spent watching Christmas shows and finishing up gifts :o) I finally got to see It's A Wonderful Life! DH and I stayed up late Saturday night so we could watch it. Yes, I am paying for it now but it was such a good movie that I had to see how it ended! No wonder it's so popular. I just can't figure out why I never saw it before now. Today DH and I watched Christmas Vacation, Mickey's Christmas Carol and The Small One. If you have never seen The Small One I highly recommend it. It's such a wonderful story. Just ask Katie ;o)

On Saturday night DH and I also went through our DVD collection. It's insane! We narrowed down the ones we wanted to keep and even that is a HUGE pile. We took the ones we didn't want into Blockbuster Video and they gave us a $115 credit! Woohoo! Now we have some new movies to watch. I got Over The Hedge, An Unfinished Life, March Of The Penguins and Flight Plan. DH picked up Beowulf & Grendel.

Gathering Eggs has been gathering dust. My stitching was put on hold this past week and I really miss it :o( I laced up two projects this weekend but I find it so hard on my back. Thankfully there are no more in the near future. These two projects will be dropped off at the framers tomorrow. I also made one of my Blankets In A Bag -

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This is going to my aunt from my parents this year :o)

DH was also busy today and surprised me with Mr. Cedar Snowman -

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Isn't he cute???? We saw these a few weekends ago when we were down at the ocean visiting DH's parents. They were on some of the shops in St. George but we couldn't find out where they were being sold. DH had brought home some cedar clippings from a tree that had blown over so he tried his hand at making one of our own. I think he did a fantastic job! I'm so happy with my snowman :o)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Happy Birthday To...

My MIL! Luckily she has been having one of those extended celebrations as it has been spanning out for almost a couple of weeks now :o) I imagine she is probably out again today as well!

DH and I went down to the ocean this past Saturday to have our own birthday party for her and we had a wonderful visit. It was nice and relaxing with lots of yummy food and DH even made creme brule instead of a traditional birthday cake. I think it went over rather well ;o) Brie got to play with Cousin Buddy and Cousin Samson. We were a little appalled at her "flirty" behavior though :-o

I was finally able to give my MIL her gift that has been done for a few months now! The pattern is called Spring Garden and it's by Hob Nobb Designs -

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I tried a few new camera angles and I love the way it picks up the details of the stitching -

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During our visit, my MIL got out a new IQ game that they had bought for Christmas. I can't remember the name of it but it had a number of cards and as the difficulty of each IQ puzzle got harder, the higher the points. We went through a few of them just for fun and it really is an interesting game. One question I remember was for 12 points, I think, so it was one of the harder problems. Here's what it said -

A man gets into a waiting taxi. He tells the driver the address of where he wants to go. The two exchange no other conversation and have never met before. Along the way, the taxi driver stops and is able to lure the man out of the car and kills him. The taxi driver has never done anything like this before and it's completely out of his character. What made him kill the other man?

If you think you know the answer, let me know :o)

Boy, I'm a little disappointed in you guys! I only got one guess :o( The answer to the above problem is - the taxi driver had found out that his wife was having an affair but he had no idea who the man was. When the man got into his taxi and gave the destination address as the taxi driver's home, the driver knew it was the man his wife was having an affair with so he killed him.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Girl's Night Out!

YES! After about a month of planning, I finally got a night out with the girls :o) I can't even remember the last time I went out with "people" besides DH. It was almost too weird! LOL! To be brutally honest, I don't get out much at all so this was a wonderful and much needed treat. DH was a little jealous I think but in reality I don't think he wanted to stay home with Stinky Brie ;o)

Since a wonderful friend of ours could not join us, we devised a replacement for the evening and thus the birth of Flat Shannon -

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Hey, we didn't want her to miss out on all the fun! Plus, Katie and Faith Ann were traveling together so it was only fair that Flat Shannon travel with me :o)

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We began the evening by dinning out at an awesome restaurant called Seasons that specializes in Mandarin cuisine. As always, I was not disappointed and I wish I could go back for more right now! We each ordered an appetizer before the main meal and we were all surprised at Flat Shannon's appetite.

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She sure didn't have to worry about over eating with that slim figure of hers ;o) We tried to get Flat Shannon to pay our bills but it was a no go as she didn't bring her wallet. Typical!

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After reading our fortune cookies, we headed over to Stitch Night.

The stitching group welcomed Flat Shannon with open arms. They were all curious about the newcomer to the group ;o) Katie unloaded a pile of Christmas ornaments that she just happened to "whip" up. I swear that girl has too much energy! Faith Ann brought her Christmas Village by Victoria Sampler and I can't wait to see her progress with this project. The fabric she chose is GORGEOUS! I'm so in love but I've got too much on my plate to even contemplate that but usually those are the famous last words. LOL! Flat Shannon put a few stitches in but she didn't get too far with her project.

Shortly after 9pm (did I mention we were going to the late, late show?) we headed up the hill to the movie theaters. Flat Shannon finally got her Starbucks while we shopped around Chapters, waiting for the movie to start.

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Somehow, Flat Shannon was able to get in for free. Maybe they mistook her for a child because of her size ;o)

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We then loaded up with popcorn and I was able to get my Coke slushie fix. Ahhhhh! Goooood slushie!

Okay, I have to ask this...when did Jude Law get so scrumptious???? Holy Moly! I wish someone would have put a warning label on The Holiday because WOW! That's right, WOW! What a wonderfully romantic movie and I really want to see it again. I'm SO in love with the little English cottage and town. I wish there were places like that here. They look to be so quaint and quiet.

The movie got out at 12:15am and it was a foggy drive home. Luckily I had my co-pilot and Sarah's Sweet Delights to keep me awake :o)

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Myself, Flat Shannon, Katie & Faith Ann

We hope you had a great night Shannon!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

C Is For Cookie

Since I had a request for the Chocolate Dipped Cinnamon Thins, I thought I would post the recipe here for everyone :o) This recipe comes out of the Treasury Of Desserts book and it was the first time that we have tried it. The cookies are pretty good, even without the chocolate!

Chocolate Dipped Cinnamon Thins

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces broken bittersweet chocolate

Place flour and cinnamon in small bowl; stir to combine.

Beat butter in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add sugar; beat well. Add egg, vanilla and salt; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture. Beat at low speed until well blended.

Place dough on sheet of waxed paper and roll back and forth to form a log about 12 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide. Securely wrap log in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or until firm. Log may be frozen up to 3 months; thaw in refrigerator before baking.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut dough with a long, sharp knife into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until set.

Melt chocolate. Dip each cookie into chocolate, coating 1/4 of cookie. Let chocolate set before storing cookies between sheets of waxed paper. Cookies can be stored at cool room temperature or in refrigerator. They do not freeze well.

Makes about 2 dozen.

Shannon was also looking for a chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe and this one just may suit her needs. It's an old family recipe that's been made over and over and over again :o)

Grandma's Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Mix shortening and egg together. Add both sugars and vanilla, making sure they are well combined. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients. Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Add chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spoon on ungreased pan and flatten with floured fork. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Makes about 1-2 dozen cookies. We usually double the recipe :o)

If anyone has any question about these recipes, please feel free to email me. I hope you will try them out and if you want, leave your feedback and let me know what you think. Please note - I am not responsible for weight gain ;o) Enjoy!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree


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Voila! There you have it! No fuss, no mess and no swearing! Well, the air was blue in the kitchen for awhile but that's to do with another matter ;o)

By the time I woke up this morning, the tree was already in the stand and waiting in the kitchen. I was quite surprised that a) it was standing and b) DH was able to get it standing straight without my help. In the past, this has always been a two-person job and even with the two of us we always managed to get into some kind of trouble. Oh the tales I could tell but I have given my solemn oath to DH that I will not publicly share them ;o) I have to admit that having a smaller tree does help and the tree stand that DH bought is working just fine. In a way it almost seemed TOO easy!

While DH was busy baking in the kitchen, I was in charge of decorating the tree once it was brought in to the living room. I decided that if we were to have a tree this year, it was going to be simply decorated. I didn't really relish the idea of bringing up all those boxes from the basement, or should I say crawl space. So for the second year in a row, our tree consists of only ornaments that DH and I have given each other every year, over the past fourteen years. This is the ornament that I got for DH this year -

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You might be wondering what DH was baking today :o) Well, he managed to get a loaf of banana bread and lemon bread done. I hate to say it but his lemon bread definitely surpasses mine but at least I still hold the title for best banana bread ;o) He also made a pan of my favorite squares. They are called Choco Squares and the recipe was featured in the Winter 2001 issue of Saltscapes magazine. It's been awhile since I've had them but I sure do remember how they taste! DH also baked the batch of Chocolate Dipped Cinnamon Thins that were waiting in the refrigerator, only minus the chocolate. Poor DH was having issues with melting chocolate this weekend and I have no idea why it gave him such a hard time. Hence the blue air in the kitchen :o)

This evening, DH and I made ourselves a little picnic and put our feet up while admiring our Christmas tree :o) There is nothing that I love more than to just sit back and take in its beauty. The best nights are the ones where I turn out all the lights, except those on the tree. I grab my nice heavy quilt that was made by my mother, because it's snowing outside, and I curl up on the couch. I lie there and just take in the smell of the tree and watch how the lights dance on the ceiling. Ah! Pure, simple bliss...

Friday, December 08, 2006

Santa's Little Helper

Look what arrived in our mailbox this week :o)

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Isn't that just the cutest little thing you've ever seen???? This is our newest nephew and I can say without a doubt that he's not only cute but he's got a wonderful temperament as well. If someone could guarantee me that my child would turn out like that, I would have ten of them! Okay, maybe not ten but I'm sure motherhood would be much more appealing ;o)

DH and I both had the afternoon off so we hooked up and decided to get a few errands done. We met at the framer's where I'm getting some pieces framed for Christmas presents :o) DH brought Brie in with him and she was sporting her new red coat. I promise to take some pictures of her this weekend :o) We then went next door so I could get our Mango Lime Salsa by Stonewall Kitchen and I also picked up their Raspberry Salsa. It looked intriguing so it will be interesting to see if it's as good as the Mango. It was on to the toy store where we picked up a gift for our nephew. If it wasn't so crowded, I'm sure DH and I could have played all day in there! LOL! We had one more stop downtown and that was at the German bakery where we picked up some bread and cinnamon buns. Yummy! Boy was it cold though! DH and I weren't thinking clearly and neither of us had any change for parking so we ended up far away, on one of the side streets. I don't think the $10 parking ticket was worth the frozen ears though :o(

Before we headed for home, we made the most important stop...the Christmas tree. Yes, we now have our tree and what a nice tree it is :o) We went to the same guy that we did last year and although it's not a big tree, it's full and nicely shaped. It was the first one I looked at and I've learned, the hard way, to always go with my first instinct. I have to say that just picking up the tree has started to put me in the holiday mood. We are thinking about putting it up on Sunday. That seems to be good timing as Christmas Vacation will be on television :o) That has become a classic in our household now including The Christmas Story. I have yet to see It's A Wonderful Life but it's my goal to watch it this year. What's your favorite Christmas movie?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Bah Humbug! Part III - The Return Of The Christmas Tree Stand

Seeing that his initial plan wasn't working, the evil Scrooge
decides to attack from the inside. He sends his
Scrooge Troopers in with the last available weapon...
the Christmas tree stand. Again, Young DH
gets wind of the evil plan but will he be
able to save Christmas for
Princess Pumpkin...

Yes, tree stands are another issue in our household. I have no idea why. When I was growing up, we always had the same stand year after year. It was metal, painted white with red and green stars on it. From what I can remember, Dad never had a problem getting the tree to stand straight but then again, we're talking about my Dad ;o) Right from the beginning, DH and I have had problems with tree stands AND trees. We've tried different stands over the years ~ metal ones and plastic ones. I can't say that I have been impressed with any of them.

I've been desperately trying to convince DH to invest in this super cool new tree stand from Canadian Tire that enables you to straighten the tree without fuss. It was like it was invented just for us! No fuss, no mess, no swearing! You get the picture ;o) And plus, with his $60 "savings" we'd be breaking even! I doubt DH appreciates my skewed reasoning, LOL!

At least DH is trying and he was pretty proud the other night when he came home with our new tree stand that only cost him $6.15 after he cashed in his Canadian Tire money :o) Since we are "supposed" to have a small tree this year (small to us usually means at least 6'), it should work well. To reinforce it, DH is going to mount it to a piece of wood. My thoughts ~ yes it should technically work but I've had enough Christmas tree disasters to know the real truth ;o) I'm going in with my eyes wide open! DH might be avoiding the tippy tree but there's still the leveling to contend with. We've tried this stand before and where did it end up? It was pitched out the door, still attached to the tree! Will this be the fate of our new Christmas tree stand? Only time will tell...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Bah Humbug! Part II - The Christmas Lights Strike Back

Having heard that the Scrooge Troopers are in full force,
Young DH decides to head them off on a different path.
The evil Scrooge is determined to ruin Christmas
for the Princess Pumpkin this year and
Young DH refuses to let that happen.
In his gallant attempt, Young DH
will try anything but
will that be enough to stop
the evil Scrooge...

I really appreciate DH's attempts at trying to make this a good Christmas for me but I have a feeling it's just not in the cards this year. A few nights ago, he dug out the outdoor icicle lights, determined to decorate the house for the holidays. For once he actually decided to listen to me and agreed to check the lights "before" they were put up. Last year he failed to do this and half the lights were out so the lights remained up but they were never turned on. So, last night I decided to offer my help in checking the lights, thinking that it would start to put me in the Christmas mood. Out of the nine strands of icicle lights, only three worked, thus began the task of checking e-v-e-r-y light bulb. After about an hour or so, I only managed to get half a strand working therefore still leaving SEVEN strands still not working. I finally decided to throw in the towel since my right index finger and thumb were throbbing with pain :o( Yes, that's right, my "stitch-ing" finger! Nothing is worth sacrificing the stitching finger ;o)

Gathering Eggs only received a bit of attention yesterday but I did make it through one of those awful pink flower/tree thingies. She has definitely been working up faster than I expected but those thingies have been slowing me down. I'm not sure how much stitching I'll get done tonight as we are heading to Mom and Dad's for supper.

Not too long ago, DH showed up and poked his head in the window where I sit at work. He had just come from Canadian Tire where he spent $60 on three strands of LED lights! Ouch! And these were not the icicle LED lights either. I really think LED lights are the way to go. There is no way on this earth that I want to fight with mini icicle lights each year! I guess the reason why they are so cheap is that they come with so much "frustration" :o) Thankfully, reason took over and DH decided to return the $60 lights but now he figures that he has "saved" $60 and that warrants a nice bottle of whiskey. As skewed as his reasoning is sometimes, I still love him ;o)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Bah Humbug!

Wow, I can't believe that it's been almost a week since I last posted! I have no idea where the days went to, let alone the end of November. As I write this, I am looking out my window at the beautiful snow that is steadily falling and it truly is a wonderful sight. What do you think?

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Now ask me tomorrow what I think of this horrible "white stuff" and I guarantee it will be a different story ;o)

With the arrival of this snow, along with the month of December, it means we are all the more closer to the big day. To be honest, I can't seem to get into the holiday spirit. My Christmas cards remain in their box, our annual letter has not been written and the Christmas lights are not up. I don't even want to get into what I think about getting a tree this year :o( I am happy that our ornaments have been bought though. Since our very first Christmas together, DH and I have exchanged ornaments :o) DH receives a pewter ornament with a note engraved while I get a handmade ornament from the same lady that comes to the Christmas Craft Fair on the first weekend of December. This is my ornament for this year :o)

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I really hate the fact that I sound like Mrs. Scrooge but it's been hard seeing family traditions go by the wayside each year :o( DH and I used to host a Christmas party for friends and family and it was something that I really enjoyed doing. Once my energy hit the zero level, we had to give it up. Brie missed her Santa visit this year and I was quite upset about that. Maybe I would be in a better frame of mind if it weren't so consumed with LTD and work at the moment. Sigh!

On the stitching front, I have been making great progress on Gathering Eggs!

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Notice the big difference from the last picture I posted :o) As with all my bigger projects, I usually end up with a love/hate relationship. There are days when I really love her and I find the colors so bright and uplifting. Then there are other days when I'm disliking her and thinking that the colors are so garish and awful. I'm doing quite well at avoiding the urge to start something new but there are days when I'd love nothing better :o) Lately, I have been working away at my 2007 Stitching Goal List and it should be interesting to see how well I do next year. I would have to say that making a list for 2006 was somewhat of a success. I managed to finish six out of the planned eleven, two of which were big projects. There's still time left but I doubt I will squeeze in any more from the list before the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve ;o)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Wow! WoW! WOW! What an AWESOME mail day!!!! Someone out there must have known that I needed some cheering up because a real life stash 'explosion' has gone off here :o) Do you remember back in my November 6 post, ACK! SNOW!, I mentioned that I had won the Pink Grand Prize from Stitches N Things? Well, I got to pick up that parcel at the post office today, along with a parcel of fabric from a wonderful friend of mine! A HUGE thank you Shirley :o)

My initial order with Stitches N Things was for the gorgeous Pink Afghan pattern by Dutch Treat Designs :o) I would like to tackle this next winter after I've gathered all the needed materials. It will be a very treasured piece. I also added the Winter 2006 issue of Sampler & Antique Needlework quarterly (I wish we could get that here!), two small surprise packages and one large surprise package. As you will see below, these packages were WELL stocked! I also received two skeins of Watercolors (pink but I'm going to have to find out the exact color) for making donations to the fundraiser :o)

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One small surprise package contained ALL of those ceramic buttons you see. There are 36 buttons in total and the cost was only $2! The second small package included three heart beads, a skein of DMC rayon floss (30368), a skein of DMC wool (8408), a skein of Gloriana Silk Thread (Cottage Woods and GORGEOUS!), a spool of Au Ver A Soie (325) and two ceramic buttons by Debbie Mumm. The large surprise package contained God's Lighthouse by Crossed Expressions, October Cat Scissor Fob by The Needle's Content, Easter and Berry Sweet by Trail Creek Farm, Slice Of America Pie Kit by Erica Michaels, a piece of 16 count antique white Betsy Ross and the August pattern AND frame by Mount Forest Frame Works.

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Now to reveal my Pink Grand Prize from Stitches N Things breast cancer fundraiser day...

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Okay, you can close your mouth now ;o) That's a lot of stash isn't it! I'll try my best to list it all. Patterns consisted of I Am So Thankfull and Sweet Dreams Sweetie by Trail Creek Farm, The McIntosh Apple (with fabric and thread) by Eventide Designs, Kensington Rose Sampler Kit by The Sweetheart Tree, Seasons Of The Heart (February) by Heartstrings, Shades Of Pink Heart and The Key To Christmas by Mosey 'n Me, Find Your Song by My Mark, Smile (with fabric and thread) by La-D-Da, Embrace (with frame!) by Sam Sarah Design Studio, Haunting Favors by The Cricket Collection, You're A Star by Waxing Moon Designs, Rejoice by Bizzi Creations and a book called A Celebration Of Stitching which includes a small pattern by our very own Dragon Dreams!!!! I'm not done yet ;o) Fabrics included two baby bibs (one small and one large), a half a yard of 28 count gold and navy stitch band, a half a yard of 16 count lavender and white stitch band, a yard of band (linen) that would be ideal for a chatelaine, a piece of 32 count dyed linen, a block of Ann Cloth in rust and beige that would be perfect for a pillow and a half a yard of 22 count Christmas Red Softana. Wait, there's more! There is a lovely set of note cards by La-D-Da, a Tuckable Needle Book by Olde Colonial Designs, a Christmas Linen Scents Holly Kit by Cross My Heart, a spool of Kreinik cord AND a Plumpers Kit (Santa With Heart) by Trail Creek Farm that includes THE PILLOW! ALL of this was jammed into that lovely Gentle Arts canvas bag that you see in the picture :o)

I'd say this high is going to last for the rest of the day ;o) How many of you bet I'll still be rolling around in my stash when DH gets home? LOL!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Prison Break Withdrawals

Yup! It's only been fifteen minutes and I can already feel the effects. This is not good! In case you didn't realize, the final fall episode of Prison Break was tonight. Do you know what that means???? It means that they won't be playing any new shows until after the new year :o( I don't even have any reruns that I can watch in the meantime! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO???? It shouldn't be legal to leave a person hanging like this! What's Prison Break you ask? It's only THE BEST show on television right now! This is their second season and I have been addicted since it was first born a year and a half ago. DH thinks the show is outrageous but the truth is he's just jealous that women find the main character, Michael, hot ;o)

I have to admit...I'm a slave to television. There are only two nights out of the week that I can't find something to watch. Maybe that's a sign that I should take that time to relax my eyes and mind or maybe do something productive ;o) Starting on Sunday, I have Cold Case and Desperate Housewives. Although I have been watching Desperate Housewives from the very first, it cannot compare to my main love, Prison Break ;o) Speaking of Prison Break, it's part of the Monday night line up along with CSI Miami. Now, to be 100% honest, I really don't care for CSI Miami and their beloved Horatio. He's got to be the worst actor ever born but I think I'm drawn to his over-the-top cheese factor. LOL! Tuesday night was a bit lonely with just House on but now I have added 3 lbs. to the mix. It's a good show and besides, I love any opportunity to say the name Stanley Tucci. Stanley Tucci :o) Wednesday is a busy night for me because America's Next Top Model, CSI NY, Criminal Minds AND Bones are on. You should see me trying to coordinate the taping of all of these shows! Good thing there are four time zones to choose from on the dish ;o) Finally, on Thursday night there is Grey's Anatomy, CSI and Six Degrees (although this has recently disappeared). Stanley Tucci!

Over the years there have been many favorite shows but I think this season takes the cake for most shows watched :o) Television seems to go in spurts. Some years it feels like there is nothing on to watch, while others are just bogged down with awesome new shows. The worst moment for a television addict is when they cancel a show :o( This can leave a dedicated watcher very sad and lost. The fall of the X-Files is a perfect example. To think of Mulder and Scully is just too much to bare :o( My hopes is that Bones will fill this void as there is real chemistry between her and Booth. Could their attraction really rival that of Mulder and Scully?

I'll step off of my soapbox now and retire to bed...

Stanley Tucci!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

They Say Bad News Comes In Threes

I have no idea where this saying comes from but at times it does seem to ring true. My poor mother was the unfortunately person to deliver all three pieces of bad news this time :o( I told DH that I wasn't sure I wanted to talk to Mom if she called again because it was just too depressing! Three people that I have known have died in a period of just a few days. One I had met maybe once or twice when I was younger and he was well known in the community where I grew up. The second was actually an old boss of my mother's. He was a big burly man that loved to smoke cigars. He was always very nice and generous and he was a good man. The third person I never met face to face but she has been the one that has created the biggest impact of sadness in me.

Her name was Kim Hiltz and she was just 33 years old. Young wasn't she? She died after a heroic fight with breast cancer, the evil nemesis of any woman. Even though Kim was only two years younger, she was diagnosed the same year that I was. I guess that was the big hurrah into the new millennium for both of us. I never found out about Kim until a few years ago though. DH and I were at a Christmas craft fair buying a holiday bandana for Brie when I met Rosalie, a neighbor of Kim's. The money raised from the bandanas was being donated to breast cancer research so of course the subject came up and I shared my story. A few weeks later Rosalie surprised me by mailing another dog bandana. As a thank you, I stitched up a breast cancer ornament and dropped it off at her house. Shortly after, Rosalie called and asked me to make another ornament for a special friend of hers that was going through the same fight I did. Unknown to me but this special friend was Kim :o)

A year later is when I finally made the connection. It hit with a force of a thousand bricks, all the separate pieces falling into place and completing the puzzle. It made me feel good that my special ornament made it into the hands of a very special woman. Kim's story was told to me by Rosalie and it was even in the newspaper like mine had been a few years before that :o) Unfortunately Kim's cancer was more aggressive than mine and they were raising money to send her down to Texas for a stem-cell transplant. I was more than happy to donate money to their successful fundraising. A website was put up that told of her story and she and her husband even adopted a Golden Retriever puppy named Hope.

Upon her return home, I made plans in my head that I wanted to meet this fellow survivor. To me Kim was special and I knew that we could relate better to each other because of our ages. We were both in our early 30s with our whole lives and family planning still ahead of us. It might not appear apparent but there are many different issues that younger cancer survivors face. There are also limited help resources as well. As I stated in the beginning of my story, I never did meet Kim. Like I said, I had every intention to and I made plans to many, many, many times but I just never went through with them. Why? It's simple...I had no words of encouragement. I had nothing positive to say to her. I didn't want to sit face to face with her and try to figure out why one of us got to live and the other did not.

They say I'm "one of the lucky ones". The doctors say that if I never went in for the breast reduction, I'd probably be where Kim is now. So what made me listen to my husband and go for that operation? What made the doctor not take Kim's lump more seriously? Why does one woman get to live but the other die? How come my husband still has his wife but another becomes a widower? It's hard to keep that happy face and positive attitude. Every day I have to get up and look in the mirror and be reminded of what I went through. I look at my body and see what has been taken away from me but I'm expected to be proud of these battle scars. I'm told I should be happy that I'm alive. And I am...most days. But then I wonder which is the worst sentence - to die early or to live each day fearing it's your last.

I know Kim has gone to a better place, one that is free of pain and worry. I'm happy to hear that she was at peace with dying because there is nothing to be afraid of. I've seen someone die before me and while it may look frightening, it truly is peaceful. It's possible to know when that time comes and when you're ready, I expect it's even better. The unfortunate part is that Kim has left behind a husband, a family and lots of friends but she did not leave this world without touching the lives of others. She fought and lost an awful battle but she remains an inspiration :o)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Jack Frost

That's who came to visit last night and boy did he ever leave his mark! I woke up this morning to a landscape covered in heavy frost and it was such a beautiful sight that I ran outside in my shorts and took some pictures :o) Good thing the neighbors couldn't see me, lol!

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I love mornings like this but I'm rarely up early enough to appreciate them. If you get close to any frost covered object, it's amazing to see all the crystals it takes to create that white coating :o) Mother Nature is truly incredible.

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I want to wish all my US friends a very Happy Thanksgiving today! I hope you are all enjoying yummy turkey dinners :o) I know why the US Christmas shopping seasons starts the day after their Thanksgiving...they need all that food to give them the extra energy to get up in the wee hours of the morning and face the mobs of people that will be filling the stores! Honestly, I don't envy those that are brave enough to venture out into the shopping malls tomorrow. I thought it was bad enough trying to enter our Wal-Mart!

After talking about the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with Shannon this past week, I finally decided that I should find it on television and watch it myself. I can't recall if I have ever seen it. At 10:30 am, I was quite surprised to see that it had already started! How early does this thing begin anyway???? I managed to catch about 3/4 of it and I hope you have too Shannon since you took the day off to see it :o) I was REALLY excited to see the great big Energizer Bunny but was even MORE AMAZED when the HUGE Mr. Potato Head came floating by! WOW! To add him to my Mr. Potato collection would be divine! Can you imagine having that floating over our house 365 days of the year? I can hear DH's agonizing cries now ;o)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I'm Going To Have A BF!

Yes, that's right! A Bitch Fit! I'm at the end of my rope with LTD and work and it's about time that I had one. I've been nice AND patient enough! I can't believe how many incompetent people are out there, doing jobs that they are not even qualified for. Okay, maybe some of them are qualified but it doesn't mean that they can do their job 'well'. It's a good thing that I have a good head of hair because if not, I would be bald by now ;o) I would LOVE to rant and rave about what is going on but I had better not just in case there are little spies out there. No sense spoiling the fun and giving away any surprises from this camp...

On the stitching front, I've been smokin'! On the weekend I started and finished my first PIF work of art :o) Renee if you are reading this, STOP! What you are about to see is your surprise ;o)

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As I was flipping through magazines, I came across this simple mitten pattern and the idea formed in my head to make a pair into an ornament! The pattern can be found in the Leisure Arts The Magazine, October 1991 issue. I have changed the colors and a bit of the design and I'm so pleased with the outcome. I might have to squeeze in some time to make a pair for myself ;o) Now it will be onto the next PIF project!

Gathering Eggs got her share of the attention as well :o)

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I love the colors that are in this piece. Nora somehow manages to put together the most garish colors and the results are so beautiful. The colors are happy colors. I'm really enjoying stitching her, seeing that stitching is the only thing keeping me sane lately. And yes, that is a good thing ;o)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Dusk VS Timberlake

What an awesome night! What a delicious supper! What a fantastic show! If you can't already tell, my date night was a huge success :o)

For some reason, Saturday flew by and I don't recall getting much done. I know I slept most of the afternoon, preparing myself for a late night. DH and I usually go to bed around 9 or 10 pm so anything over that is considered past our bedtime. LOL! I did start on my PIF project and got halfway done :o) It seems I only have one taker so far because no one else has signed up yet :o( Maybe you are all scared about my artistic ability ;o) Trust me, you'll like what I create and plus, you get to put a smile on the face of five other people!

I don't have many nice clothes to wear out but luckily I can still squeeze into my black dress pants! Whew! I topped it off with a black turtleneck sweater and my lovely pashmina that I got at TJ Maxx. DH wore a dress shirt and tie and was handsome as always :o) Shortly after 6 pm, DH and I headed into town and decided to try Brewbakers for supper. Boy, was it ever busy but luckily they were able to get us a table for two. It's been awhile since we've seen it that busy. All the quaint little nooks and crannies were full! We started our meal with fresh warm bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Yum! There is nothing simpler and nothing finer! For the appetizer, we both ordered the Mixed Green Salad. I went with the raspberry vinaigrette while DH decided on the sun dried tomato vinaigrette. For our main course, we decided to split one of their Shitake Mushroom and Brie brick oven pizzas. We weren't really too hungry so this was a perfect compromise and we were not disappointed either! I think I have found my new favorite dish :o) Because we were getting short on time, we had to skip dessert. That was okay because I don't think I could get much else to fit into those pants!

We had a nice brisk walk over to The Playhouse and arrived with about 10 minutes to spare. We quickly found our seats and settled in. DH got our seats at the back of the middle section and it was perfect viewing. The band of five (saxophone, guitar, piano, drums and bass) came out first and Matt Dusk soon followed. Now...I have to say that I was caught a little off guard. Okay, I was caught A LOT off guard. The Matt Dusk I pictured in my mind was not anywhere near what appeared on stage. He's a tiny guy! Handsome yes, but very slight. He had on quite a jazzy pinstriped suit, highlighted with purple and to everyone's amusement, bright blue socks! His explanation - they've been on the road a lot and he was he was at the end of his washing cycle ;o)

The band went right into the show and it was one song right after the other - A Million Kisses Late, Two Shots Of Happy And One Shot Of Sad, The Theme From Loaded Gun and a combo April Moon/Five. He belted out oldies from Frank Sinatra and Harry Connick Jr. His song Get Me To The Church On Time got new lyrics of "Get me to the bathroom on time" when one woman ran up the isle during the song :o) His attempt to convert modern music like Justin Timberlake's Sexyback into Swing was a comical attempt and I have to say that I much prefer the voice of Matt Dusk to that of Timberlake. I hate to compare Matt Dusk to those before him but he does have that smooth, buttery voice that can make any girl swoon.

The music was spectacular but so was the entertainment. Matt Dusk successfully combined his songs with humor and interaction with the audience. His band was amazing! They kept right up with the level of energy and talent. Luckily there was no underwear flying but two crazy ladies got up and danced with Matt on stage. If that were me, I would be flung right into the drums! Did I ever mention that I-cannot-dance? My one regret is that I did not bring a camera. I LOATH cell phones but that would have been the time to have one. Instead of candles or lighters being waved, there were dozen of cell phones being held up in the air, taking pictures. A brilliant invention but I still say it has its place. Before the encore, Matt ended the evening with his hit song All About Me :o) I just love that song!

DH and I were a little disappointed that it was not a sell out performance. If you ever get the chance to see Matt Dusk, we highly recommend it! It was well worth the money. We will definitely be keeping our eyes open for his return in the future. So, all in all, it was a fantastic evening and one DH and I hope to repeat again :o)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Laughter Really IS The Best Medicine

I finally made it to Stitch Night! Lately I haven't been going because I've either been too tired, too stressed or too sore :o( Well, after having such a frustrating and eye gouging out day with work and LTD, I decided that it was time to do something for me and it was exactly the thing I needed! It never fails that when I need cheering up, the girls are the ones to do it. Don't get me wrong, DH does the best job but when you're in a situation together it's sometimes good to get outside help :o)

Every third Wednesday of the month our group meets in the upstairs room in the Sobey's grocery store. I know, it sounds like a weird place to meet but it's perfect for us. They have a kitchen in the room so when we do our potluck Saturdays, we have everything there that we need, including a stove to warm things up in ;o) I can't even remember how many years this group has been meeting but it's been a long time. I think I started going back around 2000 but I know the group was together before that. Ladies come and go but there are a number of us that are regulars and we've really become good friends :o)

Last night there were thirteen of us. I brought my 12 Blessings of Christmas and my Flower Lady to show off :o) I finally go to see Katie's Voice of the Shepherd and Faith Ann's Bear Dragging Tree (his official name is Winter Wonder but he's earned this nickname). Those gals do a lovely job! There were also other projects on the Show and Tell table but stupid me did not bring a camera. I'm going to have to learn to bring the digital. Katie and Faith Ann also got to see the new project that I started...Gathering Eggs by Mirabilia :o) I don't have much done. After humming and hawing about whether I wanted to use hand dyed fabric, I settled on Natural Pearl Linen as my choice and I love it! Here is my progress so far -

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We had some wonderful news last night although it took the three of us a lot longer than normal to clue in ;o) A friend of ours from group is pregnant with her first baby! She even had the ultra sound pictures but to me it looked like a peanut. She's not that far along so that probably explains it :o) I brought my pictures from retreat so those that didn't go got to see what was there. Katie and I are thinking about taking our performance on the road so if you want to see the TaTa Tassel Twins in person, you'd better book early ;o)

Several years ago our group was appropriately named Friends That Count. And to be honest, that's what it all comes down to. These girls are so unique in personality but they all share the ability to make one laugh when it's needed the most, to surprise you when you least expect it and to open a warm heart and embrace you with a much needed hug. Friendship happens when you least expect it and I truly value the friendship I have with Faith Ann and Katie. Not to worry, you're in there too Shannon! You guys are THE BEST! :o)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Going Once, Going Twice...

Here's your chance to get a legendary, one of a kind, work of art by Pumpkin for the very low price of...nothing? That's right! This is my PIF post! Be one of the first five people to sign the comment section below and I, Pumpkin, will mail you one of my masterpieces in the next three months :o) What's the catch you ask? Well, you just have to PIF to five more people :o) Simple as that!

Now I can't tell you what you'll be getting because that would ruin the surprise but I can tell you that it will be hand made by me. This event will not repeat itself! Sign up now because when they're gone, they're gone!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Rain, Rain...

GO AWAY! How much of the wet stuff do we have to take? I thought we lived in New Brunswick and not Vancouver, British Columbia. If you can't tell, it's another dreary day, downpour after downpour :o( I know I mentioned the fact that I preferred the dull grey landscape to snow but at this point I'm 'almost' wishing for the white stuff. The one thing I can't complain about is the temperature. It's unseasonably high for this time of year and that I love. The dampness plays havoc with my Fibro though so it's a catch 22 :o(

Over the years I have noticed big changes in the seasons. Our winters are nothing like they used to be when I was a kid. I remember the snow banks being so high that we were able to dig tunnels through them and create our very own forts :o) My parents had built the house I grew up in on a double lot. To the left of the house we had a nice sloping lawn that converted into a wonderful place to use our toboggans in the winter. At the back of the house, the driveway curved down to the lower garage. Dad had planted fir trees to line this driveway. When I was old enough to use my toboggan on this hill of hills, these trees were not very big so Dad always gave strict instructions to stay clear of them. Well, one day my friend and I cruised down that hill on my mile long wooden toboggan and take a guess where it headed... Yes, it headed straight, dead on towards the very last tree that lined the driveway and...snap! We managed to take the top of that tree clear off! Believe it or not, but that tree never grew. It always stayed the stumpy, short, squat tree at the end of the line :o)

The dreary day might also signify the sad news that our Pappy's Pizza is no more :o( After a few failed attempts to order pizza over the past week and a half, we finally found out that Pappy's is now closed and probably won't be re-opening. NOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooo! The news was not taken very well, especially by me. Since we are outside the city, about a good 15-20 minutes, finding good take out at the last minute is a hard thing to do. Sure we could drive into town but then we'd have to drag ourselves off of the couch. What's the point in that? We could also pick something up on our way home from work but by the time it arrives here, it's cold :o( So Pappy's became our crutch during desperate times. I guess that means we will save money but what's the fun in that! LOL!

I will now take a moment of silence for the fall of Pappy's Pizza.


Monday, November 13, 2006

I Can Dance, I Can Dance,

Everyone look at my...FINISH!!!! LOL! Yes, I am excited to say that I have another big finish out of the way and scratched off my list :o) Flowers is officially completed as of this evening! Whew! It took longer than I expected but work got in the way and there was nothing I could do about that. Bad work! Bad! Flowers has been finished with a few of my own changes and I am quite happy with them. I converted all the buttons to ones made by JABC. I refused to stitch that gremlin looking creature that was crawling out of one of the flowerpots and replaced him with an inchworm button. There was a heart on the leg of her overalls that I replaced with the breast cancer heart button. A bee took the place of beads up in the saying and I left out some backstitched words that were on some of the items. She will soon be off to the framers as soon as I decide what frame will go nicely with her :o)

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So what's next on my agenda? Well, I 'really' should complete The Quilt Time Sampler by LHN but my newly acquired Gathering Eggs by Mirabilia is calling out my name ;o) I guess you'll just have to wait and see who wins...

On my way home from work this afternoon, I stopped by a fibers sale that was being held. Most of the stuff being sold was geared towards quilters and rug hookers but one of the booths had a beautiful selection of fibers that were perfect for any stitcher :o) They had pearl cottons and silks in every variegated color under the rainbow! They were just gorgeous! I picked up two skeins of fine pearl (which would be very comparable to Caron's Wildflowers). They are made by Stef Francis from England but a shop called The Cotton Mill Threadworks in Toronto, Ontario, carries them.

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When I finally arrived home, DH had the house looking quite nice. He had finished all the laundry, changed the bed and made some chocolate tapioca pudding for after supper :o) To top that, he even prepared supper! We had turkey, mashed potatoes, carrots and squash. Now normally I hate squash and have always refused to eat it because I never liked the taste. I have NO idea what DH did to this batch of squash but it was de-li-cious! I'm not kidding! I think I have finally grown fond of the vegetable that I shunned for all these years. Don't get me wrong, I'm always up for trying anything new but for some reason squash never really did anything for me. It wasn't pushed back as far as pea soup (that's a completely different story!) but it was a good football field's length away ;o) I do have a friend whose name I will not mention, Katie (cough!), that dislikes any vegetable that starts with C. Yes, you heard it right. Why that is, I have no idea and I've been desperately trying to figure it out. What vegetable(s) do you dislike? Is there anyone out there that can top Katie's phobia?

Friday, November 10, 2006

I'm Going On A Date!

I had a wonderful surprise when DH came to visit me at work today :o) I thought he was just coming over to pick up his money and the phone bill so I was taken completely off guard when he asked me if I wanted to go on a date. He then produced an envelope for The Playhouse and there inside were two tickets to see Matt Dusk on November 18! Wow! Not only do I get a night of great music and great company but I also get some good eye candy as well! (Btw sweetie, I know you are going to read this ;o) ) For those of you not familiar with this artist, check out his website.

DH and I have been married for 11 years now. If you asked us, we'd both tell you that it feels more like 40 years ;o) If there is such a thing as a soul mate, he is mine. DH is my best friend and has been since day one. During the second month that we were going out, he told me that he was going to marry me. I doubt very much he knew what he was really getting himself into when he made that promise. LOL! When we got married, he promised me 70 years and then we could go our separate ways if we wanted to. That was fine with me. I still have 59 years ;o)

After being married this long, there are times when it's hard to come up with new things to keep the relationship hopping and us on our toes. Surprises are always good but I think Date Nights are even better :o) It's a chance to get away from the house and 'the kids'. We are so used to just sitting down in front of a television or computer but with a date night, it's just the two of us doing something together. This is a fairly new idea that we have started and I love it. It brings back some of that romance :o)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Flying High

WOOHOO! I can't believe it but I actually have a big finish to share :o) Retreat got me started back on my 12 Blessings of Christmas and last night I completed it!!!!

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What a good feeling to be able to take that off my WIP list. I am SO pleased with it. When it will get framed, I have no idea but that's okay. As you can see, I stitched mine all in one with the freebie border from Lizzie Kate. The thought of doing them all separately did not sit well with me and this was the perfect compromise :o) My piece was stitched on the 32 count Mushroom Lugana that the patterns called for.

I also added my bat buttons to Boo so check out his new picture under the Boo! Who? entry back in October.

Now it's back to Flowers and I expect to finish her by the end of the weekend at the very latest. The backstitching is going quite quickly. It will be a HUGE relief to get two big projects out of the way :o)

On Monday, my doctor had prescribed a new medication called Lyrica for my Fibromyalgia. I wasn't going to start it until the weekend but decided to try it last night as the Fibromyalgia pain was just being masked by the Tylenol 3. I'm not familiar with this new drug and need to do a bit more research on it. I'm have no idea if it was the fatigue catching up with me or the Lyrica that I took last night, but I couldn't even stay awake. When I did go to bed, I slept like a rock until 10 am this morning. I think I'll just stick with one pill at night until the weekend. I don't think it would be good if I was caught sleeping on my computer at work ;o)

Monday, November 06, 2006


What a way to wake up on a Monday morning :o( I know, I know! The first snowfall is supposed to be pretty but pretty does not describe the mess that I faced when I went in to work. There is something about a first snowfall and idiots that go hand in hand. Luckily my trip in town was uneventful and quicker than some of the earlier commuters. Thankfully this light layer of snow will not last long. Give me snow on Christmas but the rest of the winter months; I prefer the dull grey landscape.

Going to work took a bit of an effort today but I did it. To be honest, I hardly got any work done due to meetings. I met with the rehab specialist from LTD and any rest and relaxation that I got over the weekend quickly flew out the door. It got even uglier when I phoned my LTD caseworker. As a friend coins it, Long Term Disappointment... Sigh!

It was a long day and a rushed one at that. I had a doctor's appointment after work and he prescribed a new medication for my Fibromyalgia. I hope it will give me some relief but I don't want to start it until the weekend just in case there are some undesirable side effects.

The best part of my day happened when I opened up my email this morning! On October 28, I put in an order with Stitches N Things. Yes, I bought some stash but Shannon has declared it falls under the Gifts & Donations clause ;o) It is legitimate too because when I placed my order I also made a donation to their breast cancer fundraiser as well. Anyway, I found out that I am the winner of the Pink Grand Prize! I have no idea what it is but I sure am curious :o) Keep coming back to see what I have won because I'll post a picture the day it arrives.

Well, another day has been put in and it's time for this TaTa Tassel Twin to hit the hay ;o)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I'm Baaaaaaaaack!


Due to some extreme silliness and odd behavior, viewer discretion is advised. Please refrain from eating or drinking while reading the following blog entry.

What-a-weekend! I would have to say that this was one of the best stitching retreats to date. Not only did we catch up with old friends, stitch, shop and eat but we had tons of laughter and we all know that laughter is the best medicine :o) I knew it was going to be an interesting getaway once the tata tassels were found but more on that later ;o)

As expected, I was too excited to stay in bed so I was up bright and early on Friday morning. Most of the car was already packed the day before so after my shower I quickly packed my clothes and I was off to pick up Katie. Luckily my co-pilot was just as excited and had all her bags packed as well, LOL! It was close to 9 am when we left the city and all our worries behind.

We arrived in Moncton shortly after 10:30 am and our first stop was the LNS, Because You Count :o) I admit, I was 'really' good even with my one month stash starve having just been lifted. I picked up a couple of patterns that I really wanted; Birdhouse Row and Snowmen Gathering (both by Imaginating Inc.), a skein of WDW (Cocoa), two bat buttons (by JABC), a piece of 14 count perforated paper and two fabric cuts. Our next stop was Michaels for some floss and I also got a great deal on a ready made 8 x 10 forest green velvet mat with a gold mat underneath. Before heading to lunch, we made a quick stop at Old Navy and Roots. Katie and I quickly agreed on Lonestar as our restaurant of choice and we had plenty of fresh nacho chips with yummy salsa to devour. Of course Katie got to indulge in a margarita or two ;o)

The last stop was Champlain Place. The Disney Store was a big disappointment but Laura Secord sure wasn't! Dark chocolate is good for you, right? At the very last minute I wanted to check out La Senza for some pajamas. The brightly colored red nosed reindeer set must have been calling our names because both of us ended up buying a pair :o) What we failed to see before plunking down our money was the new 'naughty' section of La Senza where there was plenty of lace, tata tassels and even a whip! Of course I KNEW that after seeing these it was going to set the tone for the rest of the weekend, lol! Since we were so organized this trip, we made it to camp around 4:30 pm and before dark set in. It's always a dash to claim your sleeping quarters and we soon found the cabin that would be ours for the weekend. Next it was to set up our stitch zone and...relax. Whew!

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The ladies trickled in and soon the lodge was packed with chairs, tables, lamps and stitching. I estimate there were about 60 ladies. There were a lot of regulars that were missing this time. The Show & Tell table quickly filled up with beautiful pieces of work. I brought my Walking In A Winter Snapperland, A Bee C pillow and First Aid Bear kit for the table. My exchange ornament was placed on the tree and then I settled in for a good night of stitching. I pulled Flowers out of my tote and continued on with the backstitching.

On Saturday, I somehow managed to crawl out of bed and shower in time for breakfast. You definitely do not starve at these retreats! If their goal was to put meat on my already plump bones, they succeeded. LOL! Did I mention we also have a mini NS at these retreats???? You bet! I went over and browsed quite a few times and again, I behaved myself :o) I did pick up a few more patterns though - Bucky The Snowman (The Trilogy), Christmas Motif Sampler II (JBW Designs) and the Mirabilia kit for her Easter Fairy. Would you believe the kit was half price! I'm still patting myself on the back over that deal ;o)

I dedicated half the day on Saturday to backstitching Flowers and I made great progress. Later in the afternoon I pulled out the 12 Blessings Of Christmas and started on Caring. Shortly after supper, Katie and I pulled on our new reindeer attire, along with our homemade tata tassels. Thus the birth of The TaTa Tassel Twins! I must say we were quite a hit and with all the camera flashes going off, you would swear that the paparazzi were there. I'm afraid to know just how many pictures will be floating around ;o) No wonder our husbands shake their heads when we tell them our tales from retreat, lol!

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So what do you think? Do we make a great fashion statement or what...

Sunday arrived much too quickly :o( I finished Caring and started another block called Faith. Back in October when we were sent our retreat invitation, we were asked to bring in a pink item that would be placed in a gift basket and raffled off to raise money for breast cancer.

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Well, there were enough pink items to fill FIVE big baskets and a reserve bag that will be used at the spring retreat. These breast cancer baskets were raffled off and as a group, we raised $555.75 that will be donated to The Run For The Cure. WOW! How awesome is that! The ornament exchange took place after lunch and I said goodbye to my bear and a big hello to a lovely piece called Moonlit Joy Ride (Full Circle Designs) that was in this year's JCS Ornament Issue.

Finally the weekend came to a close and we all packed up. There were lots of hugs, best wishes and hopes to see each other at next retreat. The drive home was uneventful and a little depressing but Katie and I have even more good memories to keep. I wonder how many more years we'll do this. The camp now has a new wheelchair ramp so I guess that even when we're 80 or 90 with lots of grey hair and walking with the assistance of a cane, we have no excuse not to be there ;o)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Camp Wildwood Here We Come!

By this time tomorrow, Katie and I should be good and tired from shopping, with a belly full of food, finally pointing the car north towards Camp Wildwood :o) WOO HOO!!!! Once there we'll claim our sleeping quarters, set up our stitching spot and plunk down for the remainder of the two days. If I can get myself to relax, it will be pure bliss and a much needed getaway with friends.

The car is pretty much packed and is topped up with gas. I just have a few last minute things to put together, like my clothes and the last of my stitching stuff, and I'm set to go! Again I have tried to integrate and narrow things down but I still feel like I'm going for a week. Well, maybe a month ;o) I always feel like I'm leaving or forgetting something behind. I don't know why. If I do, I either won't miss it, won't need it, or someone will have it. That's the best part of having 60-80 other ladies there. Someone is bound to have what you need. Oh, did I mention the mini NS store that is set up there as well :o)

So, I'm off! I won't be posting again until after the weekend. Don't worry though, I will have 'lots' of tails and stories to tell come next week. That is after I have recuperated ;o)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ten, Nine, Eight...

Yes, the countdown is on! Two more days and then Katie and I are off to retreat :o) WOO HOO!!!! I started packing last weekend. Every year I say I'm going to reduce the amount of stuff that I bring, and I have somewhat, but there is still a carload that ends up going. DH just keeps shaking his head. I think all the husbands do and rightfully so because you'd think we were going for a whole week! It adds up though. The necessities are a sleeping bag, pillow, chair, table, lamp, and a suitcase full of clothes. That might not seem like a lot to some but you try to reduce that even further ;o)

Then you have your stitching, which is your number one concern ;o) That gets packed and unpacked so many times that in the end, I have no idea what projects I am taking with me! I never learn either. In my head I have this great plan that I'm going to finish X number of things while I'm away but really, it's only two days of stitching and even Wonder Woman couldn't perform a miracle. But not two solid days because you have to factor in sleeping (which doesn't amount to a lot), eating (which keeps you hopping with all the food that comes out of that kitchen) and talking (which never stops). LOL! Do you see the dilemma? I have finally narrowed things down and I will be taking Flowers, a new Little House Needleworks project, a WIP LHN project, two ornaments and a new Abbey Lane Designs project. Now realistically, how many of those do you think I'm going to start, let alone finish!

I did complete a small project last night. Since I have fallen in love with my Snow Lady ornament, I have decided to keep her. Because of this, I had to come up with another ornament for the exchange so I stitched up another Needle Magic kit called Bear. I think he's pretty cute as well :o)

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Last night was pretty uneventful. We never get any trick or treaters here because we are outside the city. In a way I miss it but in a way I don't ;o) We did have two surprises though. Our nephew dressed up for his first Halloween and I have to say that he is just the cutest!!!!

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Brie also surprised us and made an outfit of her own ;o)

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

To All Ghosts, Ghouls & Goblins


I was quite disappointed on my drive in to town today. Has Halloween lost its appeal? It wasn't until I got to work that I saw someone dressed up and even there they were few and far between on our floor :o( I was hoping to see some really original costumes. I did happen to get a glance at one of those new inflatable costumes and I have to say that they are hilarious! I have no idea how you get through a door in one, let alone sit at a desk, LOL!

Another Halloween and DH and I have once again failed to carve out a pumpkin. We used to do it every year when we first met and then for some reason we stopped. So here is my decorated pumpkin for this year :o)

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I made this little guy into a pin a few years ago. It's from the pattern Witch and Friends by Jacqueline Fox. You can find this pattern in the October 1993 issue of Leisure Arts The Magazine.

Today I sat back and reminisced about Halloween costumes of my youth and I came up with two that I have fond memories of. My mom made most of the costumes that I wore and she was great at what she did. One year I was Wonder Woman :o) I remember watching that show every week and I was so captivated by Lynda Carter's character that my mom wrote a letter to the television station when the show went off the air. I had the skirt with the stars on it, the lasso and even the wrist cuffs. I thought it was so neat that a woman could defeat the bad guys! The second costume was by far one of my favorites...a bunny. Maybe that is when my love for bunnies started :o) Mom made a complete rabbit suit, head to toe, out of fake fur. Even my feet and hands were covered! I walked around with a carrot and I was probably the warmest child out there that night. That was back in the day when we had snow for Halloween ;o) Do you remember what your favorite costume was?