Saturday, March 29, 2008

Happy Saturday, everyone!

A happy weekend to one and all. I have been a slug and I'm darned proud of it! I didn't set an alarm. I spent the morning reading and testing the comfort level of every corner of my pillow. Hey, do you think that might qualify me as a quality control engineer?

Now that I'm in to work I have been unearthing various parts of my desk only to immediately bury them under piles of crap I need to read. I have two projects in my life right now, one that keeps turning back up like the proverbial truly hideous penny (research on logistics and distribution systems and biomedicine) and a new one on a cool new museum. You can probably tell the museum has captured my heart. But to get to the museum I need to wade through about 1000-pages on biomed and logistics/distribution. Sigh.

Anyway, while I console myself with the impending museum research, I can finally share a little stitching. Jill has received the Earth Day exchange from Fair and Square that I did for her. [For the record if you haven't ever visited Jill's page you should... she's very entertaining and does wonderful pieces!} She lives in the snowy north (a clime that is absolutely foreign to me!) and I became obsessed with sending her a little Spring hope to hold her over until her yard thawed out so --
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This is an adjustment of a pattern from Donna Kooler's 555 Timeless Cross-Stitch Patterns. Originally there was a gazebo-like arbor that went over the tree, birds perched on each side of the arbor top, the bunnies were closer to the tree and there was a bee about twice the size of the eggs hovering around the tree. The first thing to go was the arbor because it just wouldn't fit. Once the arbor went the birds had to go. Then the bunnies got rearranged. Finally the bee left because it bugged the heck out of me. Oh, and the colors had to change because they were so not right. I was deeply disturbed about the birds. I really wanted a bird. Then the fight with what to say on the back started. I easily settled on wanting my name over one in the corner, but the center sentiment vexed me greatly. Sheesh, you'd think I was writing War and Peace! I went thru 3 or 4 options over the course of a week before settling on what I used. then I had to chart it so I could use the bird. I just had to have that bird!

I should have other stitching progress to show, but I don't. I was a cleaning fool while home so despite taking 3 projects home with me for evenings, not a single stitch got stitched!--not one, I swear! But here's what did get accomplished:

Before #1:
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After #1:
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Before #2:
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After #2:
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Before #3:
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After #3:
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{the big, open cardboard box in this pic is probably box #8 of Christmas ornies--- someone has too many ornaments! lol}

Before #4:
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After #4:
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See, I was accomplishful, just not stitchy! lol A few more bits and we'll be out of the way of the real estate agent. Fingers crossed and prayers aplenty appreciated.

A question for you all -- the quilt needlepoint I did for my sister --
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was originally intended to be a pillow. I had planned on insetting it with a knife-edge welt in blue moire. But now my sister is thinking she wants to frame it. She's leaning towards a colored frame, maybe a metal one. Would you just frame it or mat it? Originally I thought matting would look funny, but now I'm thinking that just a frame would make it shrink. Opinions?

Go have an excellent rest of your weekend!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Sonda is so cool !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Look what came in the mail to correct my generally pissy day --

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Isn't it beautiful?! Aren't a lucky ole so and so?!!! I was shocked when I won Sonda's 4th Blogiversary prize, but I'm over the moon about the lovely fob (with the totally cool fish) and the beautiful green (I'd never seen that Carrie's color before), and it all came in this lovely tin. Hee hee. I can go back to being a happy badger!

Thanks so very, very, very much, Sonda !!! BTW, if you haven't discovered Sonda, you should drop by her blog. Really, you should.

Everyone needs to go read.....

.... Janet's post from March 22 -- a conversation between Janet and her small child. Trust me, you need this to improve your day.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

We gussied up and headed off to church this morning to bond with all the hometown buddies. Our congregation does a floral cross every year -- a festive picture even in the years where it seemed that gardens were less than fruitful...
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But amidst the floral glory was the announcement that two weeks ago someone had broken all the windows in the church office and last week someone broke all the stained glass windows along the main street side of the sanctuary
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Sigh. People suck.

I finally sorted and uploaded pictures from the scenic walk my sister and I took yesterday. We wandered along the old main drag of town enjoying the gardens and old houses --
Check out this roof. I've always loved this house. Every time they reroof there's a feature article in the local paper.
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I know this shot seems off center, but that's because I was trying to get the side yard which has this amazing, trellised wisteria in full bloom --
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And now for the local "color"....
How do you like this ultra-furry cactus?
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Hopefully I'll have pictures of packed boxes, empty floor space, and some STITCHING (shock) tomorrow for you. Cross your fingers.

Have a wonderful post-Easter everyone!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Thinking about books

I've been seeing the reading meme pop up again all over the place and have been thinking about it. So tonight when I ran in to it on Janet's blog, I thought I'd give it a play.

Here's how to play:

Look at the list of 100 books below. Bold the ones you’ve read (movies don't count). Italicize the ones you want to read. Leave the ones that you aren’t interested in as they are.

1.The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)

8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)

28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand) ....(but where would I find the time?)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery) -- one of the best books ever!!!!!!!
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)

87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Since I have such a poor showing above I thought I'd make myself feel better by seeing how I did against something I'm more likely to have read-- scifi. So I hunted down a Top 100 SF and I'll try it with the same rules as above....

----======= THE INTERNET TOP 100 SF/FANTASY LIST =======----
Edition Number 256 6th July 2003
See for more info

I pulled the list and explanation and more info at

1 A Song of Ice and Fire -- George R. Martin
2 Lord of the Rings -- J.R.R. Tolkien
3 The Vorkosigan Series -- Lois M. Bujold -- I've only read part of the series
4 Ender's Game -- Orson Scott Card
5 The Wiedzmin Stories -- A. Sapkowski
6 Dune -- Frank Herbert
7 The Discworld Series -- Terry Pratchett
8 Roadside Picnic -- A & B Strugatski
9 Hard to be a God -- A & B Strugatski
10 The Hyperion Cantos -- Dan Simmons -- I've only read the first one
11 The Lions of Al-Rassan -- Guy G. Kay
12 Tigana -- Guy G. Kay

13 Beetle in the Anthill -- A & B Strugatski
14 A Fire Upon the Deep -- Vernor Vinge
15 Palindor -- D.R. Evans
16 Armor -- John Steakley
17 Deathbird Stories -- Harlan Ellison -- I read some of this anthology, but as much as I love Harlan, his writing gives me the creeps
18 The Dragon Never Sleeps -- Glen Cook
19 Replay -- Ken Grimwood
20 Bridge of Birds -- Barry Hughart -- hmm sounds interesting
21 Flowers for Algernon -- Daniel Keyes -- dang I hate this book
22 The Stars my Destination -- Alfred Bester
23 The Nine Billion Names of God -- Arthur C. Clarke
24 Tales of the Continuing Time -- Daniel Keys Moran
25 The Moon is a Harsh Mistress -- Robert A. Heinlein
26 The Deed of Paksennarion -- Elizabeth Moon
27 The Hobbit -- J.R.R. Tolkien
28 Fiasco -- Stanislaw Lem
29 Lord of Light -- Roger Zelazny
30 By the Sword -- Mercedes Lackey
31 The Coldfire Trilogy -- C.S. Friedman
32 The Blue Sword -- Robin McKinley
33 The Best of Cordwainer Smith -- Cordwainer Smith
34 The Once and Future King -- T.H. White -- a classic of all classics
35 The Annals of the Black Company -- Glen Cook
36 The Hero and the Crown -- Robin McKinley
37 The Farseer Trilogy -- Robin Hobb
38 The First Chronicles of Amber -- Roger Zelazny woo hooo let's hear it for Amber!
39 Snow Crash -- Neal Stephenson
40 Doors of his Face, Lamps of his Mouth -- Roger Zelazny
41 The Princess Bride -- William Goldman
42 Watership Down -- Richard Adams
43 1984 -- George Orwell
44 The Cyberiad -- Stanislaw Lem
45 The Invincible -- Stanislaw Lem
46 Persistence of Vision -- John Varley
47 The Island of Doctor Death and -- Gene Wolfe
48 Quarantine -- Greg Egan
49 The Demolished Man -- Alfred Bester

50 Soldier of the Mist -- Gene Wolfe
51 Legend -- David Gemmell
52 True Names -- Vernor Vinge
53 God Stalk -- P.C. Hodgell
54 Memory, Sorrow and Thorn -- Tad Williams
55 The Foundation Trilogy -- Isaac Asimov
56 Norstrilia -- Cordwainer Smith
57 The Honor Harrington Series -- David Weber
58 Vlad the Assassin Series -- Steven Brust
59 Green Hills of Earth -- Robert A. Heinlein
60 Player of Games -- Iain M. Banks
61 A Deepness in the Sky -- Vernor Vinge
62 The Anubis Gates -- Tim Powers
63 The Book of the New Sun -- Gene Wolfe

64 Raising the Stones -- Sheri S. Tepper
65 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe -- C.S. Lewis
66 Tea with the Black Dragon -- R.A. MacAvoy
67 Stone of Tears -- Terry Goodkind
68 The Last Unicorn -- Peter Beagle ----- I read one Beagle and feel no compulsion to read another.... yawnsville
69 The Chung Kuo Series -- David Wingrove
70 Startide Rising -- David Brin
71 A Song for Arbonne -- Guy G. Kay

72 Way Station -- Clifford Simak
73 The Tactics of Mistake -- Gordon Dickson
74 A Night in the Lonesome October -- Roger Zelazny -- I rad this book in one night and wished it were longer! wonderful stuff
75 The Madness Season -- C.S. Friedman
76 A Wizard of Earthsea -- Ursula Le Guin
77 The Fionavar Tapestry -- Guy G. Kay
78 A Clockwork Orange -- Anthony Burgess
79 Ubik -- Philip K. Dick
80 Last Call -- Tim Powers

81 On Stranger Tides -- Tim Powers
82 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy -- Douglas Adams
83 The Crystal Cave -- Mary Stewart
84 Something Wicked this Way Comes -- Ray Bradbury
85 A Canticle for Leibowitz -- Walter M. Miller -- great text for a nuclear age class, but other than that, nah
86 Futurological Congress -- Stanislaw Lem
87 Against a Dark Background -- Iain M. Banks
88 More than Human -- Theodore Sturgeon
89 Neutron Star -- Larry Niven
90 Sojourn -- R.A. Salvatore
91 Crystal Express -- Bruce Sterling
92 Dying Inside -- Robert Silverberg
93 Cat's Cradle -- Kurt Vonnegut
94 The Shadow Rising -- Robert Jordan
95 The Sparrow -- Mary D. Russell
96 Tides of Light -- Gregory Benford
97 City -- Clifford Simak
98 Cugel's Saga -- Jack Vance
99 What Mad Universe? -- Frederic Brown
100 Magic's Pawn -- Mercedes Lackey

Sigh. I don't feel any better. lol

*******special notes: for some reason the entire list is itals and I don't know why. Please ignore them! There's no way I want to read everything on here. Sure I like SF, but even I draw the line! lol

I'm off to read myself to sleep. Night night!

Ok, I found my hanging code error so now the list isn't all itals. Poor computer, it can't read my mind.

Happy Easter weekend

It's way too late/early and my feet are cold. I should go to sleep so I can be up early to help my sister with cleaning and such, but no. I stubbornly remain awake listening to disk 5 of Anansi Boys (Neil Gaiman is amazing) and thinking of things to chit chat with you about. I am a very silly girl.

I've got not major stitching accomplishments to share since the most accomplishing I've done of late has either been work-related or staring blindly at TV. If only I could count as an achievement the careful viewing of Make Me a Supermodel, CSI, Bones, Lockup, The Girls Next Door, America's Next Top Model, Top Chef, and/or Iron Chef America. Dang, I'd be so accomplishful if I could count those.

I can show you some recent stash I picked at TNNA that's arrived recently. All I can say on the subject is that there aren't enough hours in the day --
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I'll have to get back to you on which designer they are from. I can't remember right now and I'm too lazy to walk into the other room and find my notebook which lists them.... even though it might warm up my feet.

Ok, Barbara and any of the rest of you interested, allow me to introduce some of my badgers. This is a small corner of my collection... maybe a quarter to a third of them, but they are the ones I can get to easily since they are in "The Badger Box." The BB is a cedar jewelry box my aunt and uncle gave me for "your nice Indian jewelry." It was really very sweet that my aunt noticed how many Indian pieces I wore, but she had apparently only seen in miniscule amount of the pieces I had. lol Regardless, the box makes a great place for some of my rocky/furry friends to live.
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Mostly they are Zuni, but with the rising popularity of Native American fetishes there are many around by non-Zuni carvers. I pretty much just gravitate to neat colors, shapes, and features. Allow me to introduce you more formally to a few of them --
Here's my cedar badger with a power bundle on its back
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A little marble one --
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A little cranberry glass slag guy --
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One of lapis lazuli and one of pipestone --
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Of abalone --
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This one's jet with turquoise eyes and heartline --
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a little marble guy --
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and coral quartz I think --
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Badger's represent the direction of the South and the color red. They are noted for their strength and tenacity -- their aggressiveness, perseverance, and their goal-oriented stubbornness. Frankly I liked badgers before I knew about fetishes because I thought they were fascinating. I mean they look like a stickless dust mop and yet they are only out-feindished and out-nastied by wolverines. You have to respect an animal like that. Well, I do anyway. Once I discovered fetishes I simply had to collect badgers. I leave the more common bears to everyone else.

I'll close by giving a "before" pic of what I'm aiming to accomplish over the next week. My sister arrived from DC tonight and she and I are working at mom's through Thursday morning. My plan is to deal with the misc stuff in the pictures below. Wish me luck!!!!
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Quote for the day: How do you buy happiness without money?
Ron Stoppable – "Kim Possible"

Still hoping to finish soon (and hauled along in my luggage for the week): Neil Gaiman's The Anansi Boys, Terry Pratchett's Pyramids, and Jim Butcher's Storm Front

Monday, March 17, 2008

I'm not as big an idiot today.....

Well, not yet anyway.

I photoed and rephotoed and even remembered to download pics. It might be a miracle. I'll check with the Vatican and get back to you.

Here's the fully finished quilt needlepoint:
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It's for my sister who originally wanted a pillow, but now she's thinking maybe a framed piece. We'll see what happens!

Here's the progress on BBD ornie --
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I'm doing it on Wichelt's Vintage mocha with none of the called for colors. lol Yeah, like I'm capable of using the colors called for.

And check it out -- my Americow has a face!
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Happy Saint Patrick's Day everyone. Have a peaceful evening (but a fun one) in honor of ole Ireland. May she find her own piece soon.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I'm an idiot

Really, I am. I had made some decent progress on my BBD ornament and I was all excited to share. But guess who left their stitching bag at home when they came in today. Sigh. Oh well, later this week the bird and I will be back. You know, I'm still not sure why I like that pattern so much. It's not really me but I felt compelled to stitch it.

What I can share is some little finishes I have waiting for finishing finishing.
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I'm sure you understand. Somehow the whole finishing thing is so hard for me. Last week I showed a friend how to XS because shed' ordered The Sampler Girl's Jane Austen home piece to do for a retirement gift for someone. Shes never cross stitched before, but she's embroidered so once she gets in the groove of how to "see" the fabric she'll be fine. Anyway, we had our lesson and she ends it with when she's done I'll have to help her with finishing ideas. Oh, GF you are so doomed! lol

Since some of us aren't experiencing the world's best weather at the moment I thought I'd share some local signs of hope. We planted some new flowers at mom's and they look so springy ---
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And for Kathryn -- the garden sheep ....
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And, a final amusement. In my hometown there's this little park along the main drag and it has a tree with a big monument stone under it. For years I've wondered what it said. I mean I've gone by it all my life and we've never stopped. Last time we were at mom's my sister remembered and we pulled over to find --
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The monument says (sorry for the sun-dappled pic) that this is the Chicago White Sox Redwood Tree and that it was a gift to the city from The Sox and was planted in 1914 by Charles Comisky. Now I need to go find out why they were in town. lol

Quote of the day: "When life hands you a mess of spaghetti you just keep pulling until you find the meatball." -- Capt. Carrot quoting Cmdr. Vimes – Making Money – Terry Pratchett

Currently reading: Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys (dang, he's amazing); Jim Butcher's Storm Front