Tuesday, December 30, 2008

An Anniversary of Sorts

My dad passed away seven years ago today. In some ways, it seems like such a short time ago, but in many, many ways, it seems like forever.

There are many reasons why I'll never forget that day. But one big one stands out in my mind: it was the day that God sent angels to take care of me, my mom, and Richard.

Not angels like the ones you'd think of traditionally - the ones you see in drawings with wings and harps -- but angels here on earth that He knew we'd need. People who all showed up right when we needed them, and too many of them to be coincidence.

The first one is my mom's minister Horace. I was outside the hospital making some calls, and when I came back in, he was waiting at the elevators and we went to the room together. When we got to the room, we found out that Dad had passed -- quietly, because he had been in a coma for a few days prior. Horace was able to be with my mom while I went to the nurses station, and he stayed with us for hours afterward.

The next angel who came is my friend Linda. She arrived right after Dad passed and stayed with us until we got everything finished up at the hospital and got back to my mom's house. I don't know if I ever told her how much I appreciated what she did for us that day and what she and her husband Jim and son Mark did for us by staying at the house with Oscar during the funeral, but (since I know she reads this) I am now. Thanks, sweetie, and much love.

The other two angels are our choir director Jerry and his wife, Charlise. Dad passed about 4 on a Sunday afternoon; evidently Jerry looked at Charlise about 4 and told her "We need to go to Rome." They showed up an hour later as we were making arrangements with the funeral home and it was such a blessing to have them there!!

So today is a bit of a somber day for me. Life changed radically when Dad died, and the adjustment has been hard. I miss him so much every day. I want to tell him that I accomplished the goals that he wanted for me: I got my CPA license and I now own my own business. I know he's watching me from heaven, and I hope he's proud.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

In case you were wondering...

...what happened with the Caps for Connor, please go to Beth's blog for a full wrap up!!

I managed to get two knitted... many others knitted many more.

Thank you to everyone for their support

Saturday, December 27, 2008

What Kind of Sports Car Are You?

I'm a Dodge Viper!

You're all about raw power. You're tough, you're loud, and you don't take crap from anyone. Leave finesse to the other cars, the ones eating your dust.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Is this really necessary?

A bath? Really? How humiliating.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Culinary Misadventures

Those of you who know me know that I refer to myself as "home-economically-challenged": that is to say, I'm not really at home in the kitchen. Unfortunately, when I do decide to try to cook something, I have this annoying habit of picking something that's not the easiest for a beginner. It's the same way I approached piano lessons as a child. I'd get a piano book and immediately turn to the back and learn to play the last piece in it. Then I figured I was done. The other piddly stuff in there was bor-ing. So we'll say that working up to a skill set is not my strong suit.

I found a recipe for sea salt caramels. Looked good. Looked reasonable. I assembled ingredients: cream, butter, sugar, Karo syrup, vanilla extract and sea salt. Check. Recipe called for a large stock pot and a candy thermometer. I grabbed the largest pot I had out of my cookware set and broke the seal on the candy thermometer package and went to mixin'.

Cook for 10 minutes on high heat and bring to a boil while stirring to melt butter and dissolve sugar. Check.

Reduce heat to medium high and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, till temp on thermometer reaches 248. Check.

Except...well... nobody told me what happens when cream, sugar, butter, and corn syrup start simmering. Things expand. In spite of every blasted chemistry and physics class I've ever taken, this thought never occured to me.

And when Mt. Vesuvius blew up all over the stove, I realized their definition of "large stock pot" was "bigger than the pot I had". Exhibit A:Note the caramelly goodness all over the sides? Yeah. Mt. Vesuvius erupted. We grabbed the pot off the burner and tried to get things calmed down.

So I think... well, I'll keep a better eye on it next time... so I put it back on. Alas, I'm a slow learner. The same bloody thing happened again. Exhibit B:See Richard's hand cleaning up caramelly goodness from the eye of the stove? At this point, I fear we're going to have to call in someone to repair the stove as that particular eye will no longer light of its own volition. Exhibit C:I like to call Exhibit C the "cha-ching for the stove repair people shot". Note that this shot was taken in mid-cleanup. Caramel makes very quickly when the mixture lands on a hot stove-eye (just in case you were wondering).

So we figured that the volume of the goop we were working with was greater than the volume of the container, and we'd better take some out if this experiment was ever going to succeed. Richard diligently ladled out caramel mixture, and we resumed simmering for what seemed like an eternity at that point.

But the temperature finally reached the magic 248 and we poured the mixture out onto well greased parchment paper and left it to set. I had no idea what it would taste like, considering all the consternation, but actually, it's some pretty tasty caramel.

It oughta be. I have a feeling it's gonna be some very expensive caramel when everything's said and done!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Shopping...

Yeah. I went to the mall. Evidently it was "Stand in the aisle and stare" day and I didn't get the memo about it. I got out as fast as I could because I decided that yelling "Move your fat butt" a) wasn't very polite and b) wasn't in the spirit of the season. But there were some folks that did not know the meaning of "Excuse me.... excuse me... EXCUSE ME!!!"

I swear I'm trying to be in a good humor about the season, but it doesn't help that the two people I need to buy gifts for are the two most difficult people to shop for on the face of the earth.

My mom: I get that she has all the junk and tsotchkes anyone could ever want and/or need. However, I'm not about to go up to her house for Christmas empty-handed. So each year I end up on a quest for the person who says "don't get me anything" trying to find some simple something that might possibly tickle her fancy yet not clutter up her house. This is easier said than done.

My husband: I love my husband dearly. I cannot imagine life without him. But buying presents for him drives me nuts. He provides a list, and says he's open to surprises, yet when said surprises are presented often goes "Oh. Thanks." and tosses the gift to one side. One year he did that with a rather expensive jacket and I stopped festivities right there and then. It reminds me of the Friends episode where they're buying birthday gifts for Rachel, and her boyfriend Tag buys something that's not on the list. "Don't ever go off the list" they tell him. (Geez, I miss that show. There's so many life applications in it...).

So today I went to the mall. I went off the list at hubby's request to try to surprise him (without buying gift cards, since he specifically requested that I not give him those). I came up with something. We'll see. I shopped for Mom for a few things in addition to the mitts that I'm knitting for her. Again, we'll see.

Believe it or not, I have to go back to the mall tomorrow, because I forgot something I was going to get for Mom. I can't believe I was so stupid as to have to go back on a Saturday, but we'll go early and get out. Besides, they're practically giving the place away. Srsly.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rain, Rain...

...a rainy night in Georgia. At least it looks like that's what it's gonna be right now. Don't get me wrong: we need the rain in the worst kind of way. Problem is the cold front coming in right behind it... which may lead to ice... an encounter with which wasn't the kindest to my behind last Friday.

Was headed to Rome to see Mom, and as usual, I stopped at one of the local Starbucks to fuel up for the trip. This isn't the usual Starbucks that Richard and I frequent; as a matter of fact, this one isn't known for it's incredibly efficient staff, if you catch my drift. At any rate, I pulled into a choice parking space in front, grabbed the purse and stepped out of the Hummer to get my coffee...

...only to find myself sitting on the asphalt right on my adequate (I'm not so naive as to say "little") behind. And I landed hard. With absolutely no memory of what happened.

Then I saw the black ice.

So I crawled on hands and knees over the ice to find some place with traction so I could get up and assess the damage. (Several days out, I'm now incredibly annoyed that nobody inside the Starbucks, which was full, lifted a finger to help me. So much for the season of goodwill.) I went up to the counter and told the person that they had a problem, because there was black ice in front of their store, I had just fallen, and they'd better do something about it before someone really got hurt. The genius beside her said "Oh yeah, there was a sheet of glass out there all last winter."

Really, Sherlock? Think ya should have done something about it?

They gave me a free latte, and Sherlock followed me out with a yellow cone. He got to my car and allowed that "Gee, you really can't see this, can you?? Let me help you to your car." I'm no fool; I put my latte in on the other side of the car before taking him up on his offer. He did put the yellow cone in the parking space so nobody else could use it till things thawed out.

Fast forward to Saturday morning. I awaken to find out that I am sore in places I didn't know I had. I couldn't go to my stitch group's annual gingerbread house construction day at Vicky's. Even on Monday, sitting all day at continuing education was painful (even more than tax law normally would be). And we'll just say my rear end is a delightful shade of blue and dark purple.


At least I don't think there's any permanent damage, either to my body or to my dignity. But if there's ice again this week, I'll be taking it very easy when I'm out.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I'm curious...

When I look at the FEEDJIT feed associated with my blog, I find that most of the hits are associated with this post. People from all over the world are looking at it. It's really pretty kewl.

What is it about the post that you find interesting? The cute dog? The sentiment? I'd like to know!

Leave a comment and tell me what you're thinking. :)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Go you fuzzy yellow bees!!!

Woo! Georgia Tech beat Georgia!!!Yay!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Things I'm Thankful For, 2008

Tomorrow in the US is Thanksgiving Day, so it's appropriate to stop for a moment to consider all the things in my life for which I'm thankful. Even though I may blow off steam here from time to time, on the whole, I've got it pretty darn good.

I'm thankful for:

--my faith. I know that ultimately God is in charge and whatever He leads me to, He'll see me through. Now, admittedly, sometimes I have a hard time reminding myself of that, but it's a fact.

--my husband. Richard is the absolute love of my life and I just can't imagine what I'd do without him. I get all warm and fuzzy when I know he's planning for our future together too, like when we were at a service for one of our fellow church members who passed, and the minister was talking about the gentleman and how he visited his wife every day in the nursing home. Richard asked me later how we were going to make sure we were still together if one of us had to go to some place like that... Now *that's* thinking ahead. :)

--my mom. She'll be 80 next week, and I'm blessed to still have her independent and relatively healthy.

--my business partner Bob. The big brother I never had growing up came into my life 10 years ago.

--my stitching buddies. All of them are the sisters I never had. We've been together for quite awhile now, and seen each other through a lot. It makes me happy to see them each week, to talk to them on the phone, to get email from them, and to chat with them on the computer.

--my friends on Ravelry. What an unexpected bonus I got when I signed up to join Ravelry to see a few patterns and get reviews on yarn and books!!! I have met so many wonderful people there; participated in some great swaps; and found a group of NASCAR fans as rabid as I am. And I was touched beyond belief this past summer when people I've never "met" from there contributed generously to our efforts to raise money for the Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation in memory of my dad. They only knew me from my snarky posts and my odd sense of humor, yet they wanted to help me. How great is that??

--my church. I can't imagine life without our church and in particular, our church choir and handbell group. What a fantastic bunch of people.

--the fact that Richard still has a job and that my business, while down a bit, is still going and paying the bills.

--the fact that I have a warm home, plenty to eat, and clothes to wear.

--our troops and the sacrifices they make to keep all of us safe.

--the fact that the election process is (almost) over. I'll be honest: my side didn't win, but my prayer is that our country can come together and our new leadership can make the right decisions.

Oh, and one last thing.... I'm thankful to that lady at the Publix today who let me go in front of her with my one small item when she had a huge cart full of stuff. I'll pay it forward as soon as I get an opportunity.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Perhaps It's Just The Time Of Year...

...or a full moon, or something.

On Saturday, Richard and I went for lunch to the tea room in Woodstock. Nice place, but crowded parking lot. I circled and parked in an actual parking space. Others weren't so considerate. Some of you who have been reading my blog for awhile recall this post, where I posted the score of Hummer 1, Honda 0. We almost had a repeat performance, as someone parked their small piece of rolling fiberglass behind the Hummer, leaving almost no room for me to back out. Richard stood outside as I executed roughly 20 small "Y" turns to maneuver the Hummer so I could back out without knocking the small car into the street. When Richard got in the car, I stated that I should really leave a note giving that person who was stupid enough to park there what for.

So I did.

It was rather cathartic, although they'll never know who did it. At least I had the privilege of telling them off and slapping it under their windshield wiper so they could see it.

Oh, and I went back by the church's bank today to drop off some paperwork they say they were missing. Funny, when I signed the signature card, I was under the impression I had signed the signature card. Evidently that's not how they roll. We'll just say things deteriorated from there and the conversation got quite unpleasant. I'm creating an RFP to give to several banks for them to bid on our business. It will please me greatly to sign the check that withdraws the last funds from that institution.

To add insult to injury, my windshield cracked. Got in the car this morning, and there was a three inch crack from the top left of the windshield headed for the middle. Fortunately, my car insurance covers it, but they're gonna have to replace the whole thing. Still just a pain.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Random Rants on a Chilly November Friday

1. To the bank my church uses: I've been signing checks for 2 1/2 months now, ever since the death of our previous treasurer. Yet you pick today to embarrass one of our employees who tried to cash her check saying I wasn't on the signature card. Really? Let's see: you knew I was the treasurer; you called my cell phone; you've cashed all the other checks... So I think I was perfectly justified in losing my temper with you. And my pastor told me that even our Lord lost his temper with the money changers in the temple. So pfffffft. And as soon as I can get things together, we'll be changing banks, because this isn't the first time you've pulled crap like this. We're right across the street from you, for Pete's sake. Pick up the phone and call if you have a question.

2. To the gentleman behind me in line at the grocery store: hitting me in the rear end with your cart isn't going to make the line go faster. I checked.

3. To Jim Martin and Saxby Chambless, candidates for the hotly contested Senate runoff in Georgia: Stop calling me. I've already made up my mind, and neither of you are going to change it. Now both of you are just ticking me off. Ditto for your respective political parties and anyone calling on their behalf. Forget you know me, or you can kiss any future contributions goodbye. I mean it. And while you're at it, stop mailing crap to me as well.

4. To the idiot who tailgated me, passed me, and then cut in front of me, only to have us stop at the stop light at the same time: gee, that really worked out well for you, didn't it?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Connor Cap finished!

I've finished a cap for Connor and his friends. Oscar was a bit of a reluctant model:I fear treats were involved after that one.

I'm waiting for a mailing address to get this one in the mail. Pattern is the "House Hats" from Charmed Knits, and it's made with Encore Worsted so it's nice and washable. (I don't particularly enjoy knitting with Encore, which is a blend of wool and acrylic, but it's durable and quite suitable for something like this.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Connor needs caps!!

It's a rare day indeed when I'll post twice, but I came across something thanks to my friend Jen from Ravelry that I think all of you knitters and crocheters who may read my blog need to see.

See, Connor's a little boy with a brain tumor. Stage III. This is very, very bad. Surgery isn't recommended, but they are doing chemo and radiation which, you guessed it, will make his hair fall out. In Wisconsin. In the winter.

Now, some of Connor's friends want to shave their heads in solidarity with him... but his best friend's mom, Beth, got the idea to have everyone at his school wear a cap in their school colors to show their support. You can read her post about it here.

There's a short time frame involved. They need around 200 caps to be mailed before December 1. Gauge isn't important, because there are kids and adults of all ages at his school.

I'm going to go cast on a hat now. You know how close to home anything involving brain tumors hits for me.

Can you help? Please?

It lives!

No... I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. It just seems that way for those of you who have been waiting for me to actually write something on the blog rather than just post survey results. :) As I said before, life's been... interesting. Not a lot that I can actually go into here, but suffice it to say it's a combo of clients, church, family and stuff in general. Nothing major, but just a lot of little stuff.

When last we visited, I was about to head out in the Party Van(tm) for Hilton Head and A Stitchers Gathering. For an excellent review of the classes we took, I'll refer you to DF Teresa's blog. The event was held at the Marriott resort, and the folks there couldn't have been more friendly and accomodating. The weather, unfortunately, didn't cooperate: it rained cats and dogs on Friday when we were there, so that pretty much curtailed any outdoor activity, especially since in the evening there were gale force winds, and those and the Party Van(tm) didn't mix too well.

But, on Saturday between classes, we were able to take a brief walk on the beach:
(That would be DFs Jill, Ann and Heather proving we were actually at the seashore. Note that Jill was the only one actually experiencing sand between her toes).

Highlight of Saturday evening had to be the costume party. Teresa and I had been planning for months to go as "pit lizards" -- those ladies who stalk pit road at NASCAR races in hopes of snagging a husband/driver/baby daddy. Our costumes were well planned:(For those of you not accustomed to seeing me as a blonde, I'm on the left.) The mismatched 8s are a henna tattoo that is actually still fading and are the work of a still slightly perplexed Indian shopkeep in Town Center Mall. DF Andy went with me and did an excellent job of explaining to him how the tattoo should look (we had also brought pictures), and he was game for the whole thing. I tipped him well. :) What you can't see in this picture is the 5" heels I'm standing on. Richard and I went into the local Shoe Carnival and when this nice young man came up and asked if he could help us, I replied that I needed some "cheap ho shoes". After he stood up from being doubled over from laughing, he helped me find these lemon-drop yellow numbers that were leftover from summer. I'm still amazed that I remained upright on them.

Of course, while the classes and food and such at ASG are great, this is the real reason I go:
On the back row are Debbie B, Vicky, Teresa, moi, and Joy. Front row are Jill, Ann, and Angela. The "come hither" pose in the front is The Magic That is Heather.

The most kewl thing about ASG is that, were it not for it, I wouldn't even know Jill, Ann, Angela, Joy, Teresa, Heather, and DF Judy. They're now some of my best friends. Isn't it amazing how sometimes very unexpected goodies come into your life?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Now *this* is a horror movie

You are    You like to tell people what's going on in the world.  People accuse you of being biased.  You have a deep voice.
Which Website are You?

Thanks to Min for the meme.

I promise a post soon with some ASG details and a catchup on life. Work has been... interesting. The rest of life has been... interesting. And interesting in that ancient curse way of "May you have an interesting life" sort of thing that I'm probably not up to sharing entirely. But life goes on. :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

For the record, I never watch horror films

Your result for How Long Would you Survive in a Horror Film?...

The Horror Aficionado

Sometimes known as "the wise guy" or "the totally platonic best friend". This character is usually either the most likeable or most excruciatingly annoying character in the movie, because he's almost always the comic relief (or lack thereof). Sometimes he is the first to die because he figures out what's going on, tries to escape and is killed. However, the horror aficionado will more likely use his knowledge to devise the plan that eliminates the threat. That means he survives until the end where he ends up dying as a sacrifice so that the heroine can carry out the plan. Though he tends to lack a backbone, you do feel somewhat bad when he dies.

All possible results:


The Black Guy

The Horror Aficionado

The Hero/Heroine

The Killer

Please remember to rate, but more importantly, please message me if you've found any blatant errors (especially with the results page and links). Thanks!

Take How Long Would you Survive in a Horror Film? at HelloQuizzy

Monday, October 27, 2008

Eight Types of Intelligence

Your result for Howard Gardner's Eight Types of Intelligence Test...


"This area has to do with rhythm, music, and hearing. Those who have a high level of musical-rhythmic intelligence display greater sensitivity to sounds, rhythms, tones and music. They normally have good pitch and may even have absolute pitch, and are able to sing, play musical instruments, and compose music. Since there is a strong auditory component to this intelligence, those who are strongest in it may learn best via lecture. In addition, they will often use songs or rhythms to learn and memorize information, and may work best with music playing in the background.

Careers which suit those with this intelligence include instrumentalists, singers, conductors, disc-jockeys, and composers." (Wikipedia)

Take Howard Gardner's Eight Types of Intelligence Test at HelloQuizzy

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Head 'em up... Move 'em out

My crew is packing tonight and tomorrow for our annual trip to A Stitchers' Gathering, held this year in Hilton Head. I'm headed to Rome tomorrow to get the Party Van(tm). We'll mortgage the house to fill it up. Ann will be here tomorrow night, and then we'll gather Jill (who has threatened me with death if I show up at her house before 10) and Heather on Thursday morning and head Southeast to the coast. The weatherman says we're likely to have rain, but we generally don't see the outside of the hotel once we get there anyhow.

Teresa and I have planned our costumes for the costume contest. Pictures will follow here after the event is over. I'll just say that I've gathered a number of items that are completely out of character for me. We also figure that not many people are going to "get" our costume, but we're highly amused by it, and that's all that matters in the long run.

Unfortunately Richard and Oscar can't accompany me on this trip. Richard consoles himself by going on an Indian food and "movies I would never want to see in a million years" binge. I'm sure that Oscar will do what he's been doing lately and hang out on the sofa. The cooler weather we've been having has not been kind to his arthritis and he's not moving around a lot. He's still enjoying his food tho: particularly his boiled chicken and Beggin' Strips. I've actually managed to get his tramadol down him the past couple of days, so please say a small prayer that he'll continue to cooperate!

I've been doing a wee bit of stitching and knitting. My knitting can't be shown on my blog just yet. It's a gift for my swap partner in the Starbucks and Yarn swap, and I want it to be a bit of a surprise! As for stitching, I've been working on the needlebook in the "Ye Shall Prosper" stitchalong. I was supposed to have the front finished last month; no, it didn't happen. :)

Be on the lookout for an update after we return (and I rest up!!!).

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

*sigh* Over for another year

October 15. D-Day in the tax world. The final deadline for all those returns for 2007. Of course, there are still some people with a zen-like attitude toward tax filing, but I digress. It's the final deadline for all those people who actually want to file their taxes in a timely manner. Finished up the last ones last night and got them e-filed. Including mine, thankyouverymuch. In the process, the house went to Defcon 8 when I realized that I hate the way Quickbooks processes payroll taxes with a white-hot passion usually only reserved for some political candidates and select NASCAR drivers. Bob does his half of the company's books on Quickbooks. I'll be chatting with him about that sometime soon... after I've quit swearing in my head.

Of course, I still have to finish those not-for-profits that are due on November 15.

This past weekend sis-in-law Sandi came down from VA to go to the spring apparel market in downtown ATL. She was buying for the family store, and Richard and I went down to assist (Oscar stayed home, since his fashion sense is somewhat questionable). What we found, other than a bunch of dresses better suited to a line of stores titled "Hos-R-Us" was that there were very few people there buying. Vendors were twiddling their thumbs and not writing orders because there was simply nobody shopping. Normally at the spring market, there's not room to walk. Our guess was that, due to the current economic conditions, people are waiting to see how they do over Christmas and then order in January for immediate delivery. You gotta have stuff to sell... At any rate, we helped Sandi order some nice dresses suitable for church and funerals and some spring and summer tops (she had already ordered pants). Found a cute line of flip flops too.

Our most amusing moment came when the three of us, wandering around to see what new things we could find, wandered onto a floor with temporary vendors set up... and it turned out to be the "gangsta" floor. We were just a tad out of place there. Interestingly enough, it was the only floor with a police presence -- not the floor selling diamonds, mind you, but the gangsta floor. We quickly realized that we should leave and found an escalator to head to another area where we were more culturally comfortable.

I managed to do some damage at a place that sells beading supplies. Swarovski crystals for $1 and $2 a dozen depending on size. Gold beading wire like JoAnn's sells for $18.99 a spool for $6. Yeah, I love being able to shop at the mart!

Be proud of me... I successfully avoided the knockoff purse stores. Most of them were full of the giraffe print Dooney and Burke knockoffs in a rainbow of colors. Who knew giraffe prints were so big?

As for stitching and knitting -- HA!! So no pictures this time. :) Next week is ASG... DF Ann is headed down a week from today, and she'll join me and DFs Jill and Heather in the Party Van (tm) as we drive to Hilton Head next Thursday for the weekend. There'll be a cooler in the car full of LaCroix for swilling, puppy chow courtesy of my mom, and we'll meet up with DFs Vicky, Debbie B, Angela, and Joy... as well as CJ from California and Carol B from MD to hang out and enjoy the weekend of merriment. Oh yeah... there'll be needlework classes too. :)

A thousand apologies to most DF Teresa, my roomie for ASG, who I totally inadvertently left off the meet up list... I now must bribe her with some beautiful yarn, or she'll kill me in my sleep.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Missing Package Arrives!!!!

Alas, folks, I have been remiss in posting! Blame it on the market meltdown... and Wachovia... and Washington Mutual... and the fact that it's nearing October 15, when the final tax returns are due for 2007 and trust me, most people filing this time of year are not happy.

But I did let the ever patient and persistent Trisia know that my package arrived this past Saturday. And this package of goodies was well worth the wait...

Trisia had a clear message for the Postal Service:
Think they got the message?? Me neither.

But what a bunch of goodies awaited me when I opened it!!! I think I scared His Royal Lowness when I squeeed in delight.See that Starbucks cup?? More about the wonderfulness in it in a bit.... A wonderful pattern for socks to be made with the contents of the cup... handknit mug mats to match the contents of the cup... A generous Starbucks gift card (Trisia has obviously seen me there before my weekly trips to my clients)... a plug in beverage warmer that I've wanted but never bought for myself, perfect for tax season... A Yarn Harlot book to keep me laughing!... gorgeous handmade stitch markers... kewl sock shaped point protectors... Whoppers for a snack (one of my faves)... some dip mix that my stitch group will enjoy very soon.. and some green tea that I've already enjoyed.

As for the yarny goodness in the Starbucks cup??? Two skeins of sock yarn, dyed especially for me and named for me to boot!Woot! How tremendously kewl is that!!!! :)

Thank you Trisia, for a wonderful package. It's been a doubly good experience: not only did a box of great stuff make its way to me, but I also made another good cyber friend to boot.

If you get want to see more yarny goodness, go check out Trisia's site for her wonderful sock yarns. I know where I'll be doing some shopping for future swaps!

And this is a special shout out to my cousin Joe... if you're reading this... glad to have found you again!!! :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Guilty Pleasures Swap!

I received my Guilty Pleasures Swap package from Barb on Saturday.

Behold the wonderment:
See that bright blue yarn on the right?? That's WOLLMEISE, people!! The Holy Grail of yarn. If you're a fan of The Maltese Falcon, it's The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of. Seriously, I thought someone had to die and will it to you, yet Barb managed to get a skein of it for me, in a wonderful blue, and with a pattern specifically designed for it. Woot!!! The other skein of yarn is Silky Mmmmmmmalabrigo in a beautiful teal. Woot again!!!! And Knit Picks circulars to work on them with!!!

Barb also kindly included some treats: tea and cashews (absolutely the best nut in the world), some Altoid mints, shea butter for my dreadfully dry skin, a teak scented candle, and a sweater stone which will come in handy for some of my woefully pill-ridden sweaters this winter.

I feel so very spoiled!! Thank you so much Barb! I hope you like the package I sent to you half as much!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What Does Your Birthdate Mean?

Your Birthdate: January 8

Watch out Donald Trump! You've got a head for business and money.

You'll make it rich some day, even if you haven't figured out how yet.

A supreme individualist, you shouldn't get stuck in a corporate job.

Instead, make your own way - so that you can be the boss.

Your strength: Your undying determination

Your weakness: You require an opulent lifestyle

Your power color: Plum

Your power symbol: Dollar sign

Your power month: August

Friday, September 19, 2008

Swap Package Update 2

Heard from Trisia again today....

"I did get your package back on Friday, and I think about 1/2 of it was missing, including the coasters I made for you, which of course were dyed to match the yarn I dyed for you. :( All the treats were gone and so was the gift card, and the card I had in there for you. Very disappointing."

So, evidently someone in Bristol, CT is a major scumbag and stole the goodies. And they've caused poor Trisia to have to replace stuff for me (which I really wish she hadn't done, because none of this was her fault, but she's a good egg and didn't want me to lack for a wonderful swap package). And the post office isn't doing anything about it, because the package wasn't insured, even though it was clearly their fault because they delivered it to the wrong address.

**sigh** I'd say that people are pigs, but that's offensive to the pig, which, from what I read, is an intelligent and noble animal.

What goes around comes around. And if that person's life was so empty that they felt the need to steal from Trisia and me, well, I hope he or she enjoyed the stuff. I don't think I could. That whole "golden rule" thing always kicks in.

In the meantime, I'm busy knitting cup cozies for other folks in the swap whose partners just plain flaked out and never sent anything. Again, I just don't understand. Were these people raised by wolves? Do they have no sense of common decency? I mean, don't enter into what is essentially a contract that you have no intention of fulfilling. Seems pretty cut and dried. Can someone please explain their thought process, because I don't have a clue.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Swap Package Update

You may remember my AWOL Starbucks and Yarn swap package... you know, the one that was vacationing in Bristol, CT?? The lovely and tremendously patient Trisia sent me this update today:

YAY! The dreaded package has been located. WOO HOO!!! The post office told me this afternoon that it’s being shipped back to me and that I should receive it by Friday.

You are just going to die when you hear this story. I can’t believe the nerve of some people. Wow! Actually, I’m still not sure I believe it at all…I can’t wait to get the package back and see if it’s all there!

Anyway, so the package is delivered to the wrong state, as you know. The person that gets it (I wish they would tell me who it is it’s killing me to know…LOL) actually opens it up and was going to keep it I think. Rather than just giving it back to the carrier, or taking it to the post office to return it to the sender, they opened it up. HUH? I honestly can’t believe how much moxy you must have for that. Anyway, I guess the postal carrier on that route finally hooked up with the person at the delivery address and inquired about it and they put the stuff back in the box and gave the carrier the opened box, which has not been repackaged and is being sent back to me.

Of course I am editorializing this based on what the post office told me, but come on…

“Yes ma’am, your package has been located. Unfortunately the receipient opened the package. The route carrier has retrieved the package from the recipient and we have repackaged what was in the opened box and it is not en route to your location.”

Ya…that’s NOT the politically correct version of events that will be posted all over Ravelry and my blog. ROFL!

Thanks for being so patient while I fought with them to sort it out. You are so awesome to be so nice about it! Now that’s going to be one less angel I have to worry about…how embarrassing would that have been? The angel coordinator has to make an angel for her own partner. LOL!


Now, imagine for a moment, that you got a package clearly labeled for someone else. Would you actually open it?? Decide it was yours and keep your ill gotten gains?? Geez! Of course, as Trisia said, we're still waiting to see if the package actually arrives back at her house and if the contents are actually all there.... I'm just amazed that the Postal Service was able to track it that far. I figured the thing was a goner.

On the bright side... when Carl Edwards won a race last weekend, Jerry Punch did not refer to his backflip as a "signature somersault", preferring silence instead. Perhaps that little package did some good.

Updates as they become available. :)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Pirate Booty

Avast, mateys. I be feelin' like a pirate today. And it's not even Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Why, you ask? Well, it's a long story...

Every year, my eye exam comes up in May, and I go to the Lenscrafters at the local mall and see Dr. Mohammed. Now, Dr. Mohammed is very kewl. She's got an excellent sense of humor, and on top of that, she makes very good lenses for me. Add to the mix a couple of girls in the office, Amanda and Rebecca, to whom I give a hard time on general principles.

Problem is, when I get my contact lenses, my prescription is a bit... complicated. I wear bifocal lenses, and on top of that, they have to be fitted for astigmatism. Official name is multifocal toric lenses, because I can no longer do the bit where they put a reading lens in one eye and a distance lens in the other (My clients just won't cooperate by putting all their computers at the same distance from the chair. How rude.). At any rate, it takes anywhere from 4-6 weeks for the trial lenses to come in... then another 4-6 weeks for my actual lenses to come in... so you can see I generally spend the summers with the fine folks at the optometrist's office.

This year when my actual lenses came in, and I put them in for the first time, I realized there was a problem... as in I couldn't see stop signs, stop lights... you get the picture. I panicked. I went back to the office, thinking I was nuts and had agreed to purchase stuff that just didn't do, even though I knew they were fitting differently from the ones I had tried. As it turns out, the office had ordered the right lenses, but when they came in, one tiny measurement was off, and so they had to order them again. They put a "rush" on them, so this time it only took 3 weeks instead of 4-6. Wow.

So, Friday night, I went in to pick up the new contacts. As is my usual custom, I snatched up a couple of packages of contact lens solution. I was joking with Amanda and Rebecca, and I said that for the price of these puppies, they ought to give me a case. (My lenses cost about $400 for 6 months worth. See why I was panicking so badly when I thought they weren't right??)

The girls looked at each other... Dr. Mohammed said "You know we've got it... go get it." And even though I said I was just joking, I came home with this:Pirate booty. Probably two years worth of contact solution (checked the expiration dates) and cases.

So I walked through the mall with my $400 worth of contacts and a case of solution. People stared. I didn't care. I scored. :)

And yes, I am easily entertained.

But isn't this an incredibly cute dog right after his b-a-t-h??

Sunday, August 31, 2008

I didn't get a vacation, but...

As you know if you've been following my blog, I'm participating in the Starbucks and Yarn swap, which is happening among Ravelry members and a few non-Ravelers. I sent my package out earlier in August -- the deadline for shipping was August 22, and I actually shipped a couple of days early. In the swap, you agreed to send your swappee the handmade item of their choice (mine chose a cup cozie), some yarn, and a Starbucks item of their choice (mine chose a gift card), along with the requisite extra goodies people usually include. My swappee posted pictures of the package she received and said she was happy with it, and I really hope she was.

My upstream partner is the lovely Trisia, who was also one of the moderators of the swap. Trisia has been a dream, sending me lots of Ravmessages such to make sure she tailored just the right package for me. Plus, she has an online yarn shop that just has a lot of yummy things in it!!! And, as it turns out, she dyed some yarn **especially for me**, and I was thrilled!!! I found this out when I went to her online shop and ordered, and she sent my money back saying "Uh, you're already getting that, you silly thing..." :) She had called it "Jazzy Jean", but so many people had liked the color that she added it to her shop. If you want to check out the color click here and page down to the "Dancing Peacocks" -- Isn't it gorgeous????

So, when Trisia told me she had shipped my package, and it should be here by Saturday a week ago... I figured no problem and eagerly started stalking the postman, or should I say postperson. Mind you, my postperson is a bit flaky... We frequently have to "deliver" mail to our neighbors because it's been left in the wrong box. I left a message in the mailbox the other day asking her to come to the door to pick up a Priority Mail package I had going out. You think she'd bring my mail with you, right?? Nope. Stuck it in the mailbox. So I had to go outside to get it. In the pouring rain. Tropical downpours courtesy of Fay. Color me unimpressed.

Saturday came and went, as did Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.... so I was left with a dilemma. Should I ask if it went out? What if something happened to it? I didn't want Trisia to think I was pushy, but I also didn't want her to think I was rude for not acknowledging what I'm sure is a wonderful package with pictures and accolades for all to see on Ravelry. I decided to bite the bullet and inquire...

Trisia was out of town, but she got the delivery confirmation info from her husband... and discovered that the package had indeed been delivered....

To Bristol, CT.

Connecticut. The other end of the freakin' East Coast from Kennesaw, GA. I didn't get to take a vacation this year, because we decided to cancel ours to stay home with His Royal Lowness Oscar, but my swap package is having a fine old time in the home of ESPN. Maybe it can get Jerry Punch to stop calling Carl Edwards' backflip a "signature somersault" and can get Rusty Wallace banned from NASCAR coverage.

Maybe it'll send me a postcard.

So now poor Trisia's on the case trying to get the post office to recover the package. Poor thing. See, this is why I don't trust the postal service. And they want to raise rates again? Pfffft.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Knit Stitch Update

First of all, I can't tell you how excited I am to look at the map and see that people from all over the US and the world are reading my little blog!! Thanks for stopping by!! If you get a chance, leave a comment and say hi.

I've been working a lot lately, but as those of you who know me well know, I'm definitely not an "all work, no play" kind of gal. I've been doing some knitting and stitching, but I just haven't gotten the camera out to do an update, so this is a catch-up post on what I've been doing.

I've got a couple of finishes. First, another pair of socks for Warm Woolies.I'm still using yarn I won in the Dancing With The Stars pool on Ravelry. I've got a lot of skeins to go, so I'm planning on cranking out quite a few more pairs, since I can get one pair out of a skein of Cascade 220.

I finally finished the Crusoe socks.I include the link to the pattern here as a warning. Do not use it. Seriously. It is fraught with errors, and the sizing is waaaaay off. If you like the way they look, take a generic sock pattern and use the 4 stitch stranded pattern on it. I'm not kidding. Knitty doesn't have any errata on it, and after I had ripped out the heel 5 times on the first sock, I searched Ravelry and discovered, buried on someone's project page, that it wasn't me and there was a problem. I plan to post prominently on my project page that there's issues with this pattern. The yarn I used was wonderful though. It was the first shipment in the Whimzy Pinzy cotton sock club; I found her on Ravelry and she's wonderful to work with... definitely a small business that goes the extra mile for her customers.

I finished some cup cozies for the Starbucks and Yarn swap:I can't remember the pattern right now, but if you're interested in it, let me know and I'll find it for you. For the same swap I also made some stitch markers:(Yeah, the picture's a little blurry, but you get the general idea. Photography's not my forte.) My swap partner posted that she was happy with her package, which also included a gift card, a skein of sock yarn, and a travel mug, so I hope she was.

In other knitting, I started new charity knitting for the Red Scarf project:Pattern is the Columns scarf, a freebie from Knit Picks. It's working up fast (although not as fast as I'd like), but I still don't know if I'll make the deadline for this year. It's a good travel project because it's only a four row pattern that's easily memorized. It calls for two different colors of yarn, but I decided to do it in only one color for convenience.

I also started a pair of RPM socks:Yarn is another Wimzy Pinzy cotton club yarn -- this time the Olympic commemorative for August. It's in one of her flat sheets, where you pull the yarn off the sheet and knit off it, which is actually kind of fun. I decided to go ahead and knit it up, considering my personal Olympic boycott (I disaprove of both the Chinese government and the IOC, which I know puts me in a serious minority, but I managed to not watch any of the coverage. I support our athletes, but I could not bring myself to watch the spectacle.) At any rate, the pattern seems to be a good one, and it's knitting up fast.

I haven't abandoned cross stitching by any means! In process are:This is Dasher, one of the reindeer by Nora Corbett. He's going to be a model for the Needled Canvas and Finest Threads, a needlework store here in Marietta. Right now I'm waiting for the beads to come in, because the holes you see in him are where beads go, and he looks like a good ol'boy got hold of him with a shotgun full of buckshot...

I'm also working on "Ye Shall Prosper" with a group of DFs. This was one of our projects at ASG last year, created by the fabulous Rae Iverson.The girls have created a stitchalong for us to try to get this finished. First up is the needlebook. I had done the chain stitch outline in class; we're supposed to get the first page of it done sometime in September. Everyone can tell you that I follow these schedules rather loosely, to say the least. :)

I think that gets us caught up, craft-wise. This weekend is Labor Day weekend, which is the unofficial end of summer. Nobody told the weatherman that, because it's hot as Hades here. Our plans are to head to Rome tonight, spend the night, bring Mom back to Atlanta tomorrow to shop, head back to Rome tomorrow night to take her home, spend the night, and head back home on Sunday for a day of rest on Monday. I hope all of you have a safe and fun holiday weekend!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Saturday, August 16, 2008

How much do I love my husband?

Enough that during a shopping trip to Costco today, I took a picture of him with an enormous spider with my iPhone for him to put on his Facebook page. Evidently he thought it was funny. I didn't. Had to copy the stupid thing to my computer to get it over to his Mac. When I deleted it, Vista had the nerve to ask me if I was sure. Of course I am. It was a freaking huge spider. I'm getting cold chills just typing this.

The past week has been pretty quiet. Nothing as exciting as a trip to the speedway, for sure! For the most part just working and trying to get insurance straightened out. For those of you who don't know, Richard's company was bought out by Oracle on August 1. We allegedly had insurance benefits starting on that date, but we've yet to see any cards. And we have appointments coming up this week, and I'm not sure that the doctor's office (or at least the huge clinic my doc belongs to) is going to "take my word for it." I think we've got it worked out, but we'll see. The next huge hurdle was the paycheck; payday was the 15th, and the first check had to be mailed. It didn't arrive on the 15th (it came today after the banks were closed), so there was considerable shuffling of funds to insure a few automatic payments didn't go bouncy bouncy come Monday. At least I don't have that much hair left that isn't already grey.

On a happier note, I got my package from my swap partner in the Purple Rules! summer swap:Included in the package was some Plymouth Sinsation, a kind of chenille-like yarn that is very soft and will make a very nice scarf, two skeins of Koigu for some socks, a bamboo "stitch fixer", some darning needles, a button and some sticky notes, and a box of Tazo teas. All very nice and very much appreciated. Thank you Pam!!!

I have a couple of swap packages to mail out myself next week... so tomorrow will be spent boxing them up and getting them ready to go. :)

Other than that we plan to have a relaxing Sunday... maybe do a little more cleaning out of cabinets in the kitchen with Richard mocking my unfortunate weakness for gadgets on infomercials. At least I'm providing him with some amusement!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Anniversary Weekend!!!

It's hard to believe that on Monday the 11th, Richard and I will have been married for 24 years. Considering I was 50 this year, I've been married just about half my life. Wowsa. Kind of mind-boggling when you put it in terms like that.

Usually for our anniversary we take a trip to Highlands, NC and stay at the Skyline Lodge, mine gemstones, eat too much, and generally enjoy the cooler weather for a few days. Unfortunately, the trip to West Virginia was pretty hard on Oscar, so we've made the decision not to travel further than my mom's house in Rome with His Royal Lowness anymore. We knew this day would come, and we've been pretty lucky with him in his 15 years. It's time to let him have some peace and quiet in his old age. Now, we're not ruling out the occasional shopping trip in his stroller (or Royal Carriage, as DF Jill says), but for the most part, he'll be home at night sleeping in his own king-sized bed, letting us have a little room to sleep as he sees fit.

So since we weren't going to Highlands, Richard made alternate plans for us on our Anniversary Weekend. Today we went to Atlanta Motor Speedway for a pilgrimage. This is the third track we've been to; the others are Bristol and Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte. While some may think it's boring to visit the tracks when races aren't going on, we think it's interesting, because you can go in and really see the speedway and go places you'd never get to go if there were a race going on .As you might expect, the speedway's a big place. Atlanta's one of the 1.5 mile tracks, but it's not really a "cookie cutter" because it's one of the older tracks on the circuit (dating from 1960) and it has significant banking in the corners, making for some fast racing. As an interesting bit of trivia, in November 1992 it was the site of both Richard Petty's last race and Jeff Gordon's first one in the season ender.This statue of Richard Petty signing an autograph for a child is right outside the ticket office of the speedway to commemorate the event.

We took a tour of the speedway; it wasn't a busy day, so Richard and I were the only ones on it, and it consisted of getting in a van and driving around the inside of the speedway and the grounds, with the driver giving some history as we drove. A lot of it I already knew, but there were some interesting tidbits, like the fact that there are some condos around the track for sale, ranging in price from $300K to a cool million. No real estate crisis there.The condos overlook the track and are evidently quite posh. Unfortunately we don't have a down payment right now.

The tour normally includes a ride in the van on the track, but we couldn't do that since there was a driving school going on. But... it ended up working in our favor, because after the tour, we drove over to the infield tunnel......signed a release, and were able to drive the Hummer right into the infield of the track where the driving school was taking place -- which was right on pit road and right next to the Cup garages and Victory Lane!Here I am inside the Cup garage!!! (In the back, you can see a restroom that no doubt many a driver has used over the years. I restrained myself from going into it. Really.) What always amazes me about the conditions around the race teams and the garage like this is how clean it is. No oil stains; no dirt; I'm not saying you want to eat off the floor, but it's certainly not like other car shops I've seen.

Richard hamming it up in Victory Lane:I thought briefly about trying to drive the Hummer up there, but I decided I wouldn't push my luck.

We were down on pit road, right where the Cup cars would be pitting during the race. Here I am on the pit road wall:I found it amazing to see that there are power outlets and water spigots on the other side of the wall. I haven't visited pit road at the other tracks to compare, so I don't know if other tracks have similar accommodations for the teams.

Also on pit road were the cars for the driving school. They weren't Cup cars; they were more like modified Nationwide series cars:We were able to get up close and get a good look at the inside of them as well:Maybe one day I'll save up my pennies and at least go for a ride-along in one of these cars. Since I don't know how to drive a stick, it would be kind of hard for me to actually drive one of them (even though that would be waaaaaay kewl). Maybe I'll just get a firesuit and a helmet. :)

From there we drove around to see the Legends cars (which are smaller cars that kidlets drive to learn to race). The track hosts races for these cars every Thursday night:If you look carefully, there's one for sale there in the back of the picture, so you can have your very own Legends car you can park outside your condo at the track if you've got the money...

After a stop at the gift shop (more Dale Jr. swag!), we headed north and shopped at Ikea for a bit. (Whoever said that "Ikea" translated to "Cheap Swedish Furniture" evidently never shopped there with me. Dang, I can drop some money at that place.)

So... that's the beginning of our weekend. The rest will be pretty tame. Some errands and a run to Micro Center tomorrow (and maybe the Apple Store), dinner at The Melting Pot tomorrow night, and church on Sunday.

It's been a very short and a very fantastic 24 years. I'm married to my best friend in the world, and I'm the most blessed person ever. I love my husband more now than I did the day I married him, and I realize how very special that is. If you haven't found that yet, I pray that one day you will.

Friday, August 1, 2008

In which I am outsmarted by a 14 lb dachshund

Oscar, being a 15 year old gentleman, has developed a touch of arthritis, and the vet has given him some medicine for it. Tramadol, to be specific. Turns out this is a pretty good medicine for dogs because it's supposed to relieve his discomfort but it doesn't have all the side effects that Rimadyl and some of the other drugs have. Plus, it's cheap, which my pocketbook loves.

The major drawback of Tramadol, however, is that it is incredibly bitter. As such, Oscar doesn't like to take it. Can't blame him really, but there's no reasoning with him as you would a child, and no promising him a toy (as my parents used to do when I got dragged to the allergist in Atlanta every few months... and I always knew that was going to involve needles and lots of them).

So the trick has been to hide the quarter pills in something yummy and hope he gets it down before he tastes the pill. Unfortunately this has been easier said than done.

Our usual weapon of choice in this has been Velveeta cheese. Nope. We went to peanut butter, cream cheese, yogurt, ice cream, even the terribly expensive Greenies Pill Pockets, which Vicky's shih tzus gobble up like Doggie Crack. Nope.

While Judy was here, she held him and I tried to force the pills into his mouth for him to swallow. This only resulted in me getting bitten several times and Oscar literally frothing at the mouth.

Later that weekend we hit on Omaha Steaks hamburgers. If we cooked one, then carefully sliced it so that we could put the quarter pills into an end piece; he would snarf them down before he realized it.

Until this morning. The jig is up.

I went to Chick-Fil-A to get his favorite chicken nuggets, concealed the pill quarters in two pieces of nugget, then nonchalantly put them down for him to eat. This was the result:Note the carnage of chicken nugget pieces above the plate, where he has deftly de-pilled the nuggets.
See the close-up of the small white quarter of a pill that's causing this problem??? Seriously, I'm only trying to get two of those down the dog in the morning and in the evening. You'd think this wouldn't be that hard.

I have a B.A, a B.S, an M.B.A. and a CPA license, and evidently I'm being outsmarted by a 14 lb dachshund. Anybody else got any ideas?? I'm open to suggestions.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Annoying defined

Annoying: Stitching along on antlers on a Nora Corbett reindeer and discovering you're one stitch off and there's no way you can fudge it.

It's a huge reminder that I'm not the great stitcher I think I am. Either that or a reminder that I can't count. One of the two.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Happy Birthday, Oscar!!!

Our little man is 15 today!(Really, isn't this just the sweetest face you ever saw??)

It's hard to believe he's been with us all but 3 months of his life. He's slowed down a bit, but he's still just an incredible joy in our lives. We've all grown up together.

Tonight he dined on filet mignon, suitable for His Royal Lowness. Of course, he also ate half of my steak and part of Richard's steak too. How can we say no?

Happy Birthday, Oscar. We love you, and we thank you for putting up with us. I promise we'll take care of you as long as you're here on earth, and we know you'll be waiting for us at the Rainbow Bridge if you get there before we do.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Home Again

We're home again, which may come as a surprise to some of you who didn't know we were gone. :) We traveled to West Virginia to see Richard's siblings and do some work at the family business.

Richard's from a little town in southwest WV named Man. It's a small place nestled in coal mining country. When the mines are working, life is good. When they're not, well, the economy suffers. The latest thing to hit the area is the advent of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail, which attracts four-wheelers from all over to ride amongst the flora and fauna of the mountains. As it turns out, Richard's family has a history with the Hatfields: his grandfather on his mother's side was a doctor who took care of Devil Anse Hatfield, and descendants of the Hatfields took care of Richard's mother during her illness before she passed (wonderful ladies... I can't tell you how grateful we were for them! I guess there's some sort of symmetry there, eh?). During our last evening there, Richard and his siblings got into a discussion of family history; they can trace their family back to the Revolutionary War. I think they thought I was bored, but I found it fascinating. I have no such idea of my family roots except that I know two of my great-grandmothers were full Cherokee Indians. I guess one day I really need to track that down.

May I say that as a Georgia girl, born and bred looking at Georgia red clay everywhere, it's fascinating to drive down the roads through eastern Kentucky and western West Virginia , where they've cut through mountains to make the roads, and see the strata of coal on either side. It's kinda freaky to me.

We made it there safely despite a GPS system with a death wish. Evidently the GPS couldn't handle the mountains on the Kentucky/WV line. It would freak out and lose its way, then tell me to turn left. Problem was, it kept wanting me to turn left off a bridge over a valley between two mountains. So it would say "Turn left" and I would yell "The hell I am!" at the thing. It became quite amusing for about 30 or so miles before it got its little electronic brain back.

Anyhow, the family business is a store that sells clothing, jewelry, appliances, furniture, giftware... a little bit of everything... and has been in business since dinosaurs roamed the earth. The challenge since Richard's mom passed is the four kids now owning the business, and none of them ever planning to be running it, but yet finding themselves in the business of retail. While we were there, I installed Peachtree Accounting with the idea that they could bring some of the accounting work that's currently being outsourced in house. Richard spent his time photographing merchandise that will be listed for sale on eBay. It's a case of taking decades old manual systems and converting them to the 21st century. It's going to be a challenge for all of them, but I think that with some work it will be successful. With the current energy crunch, the mines are going back to work, and that's good for the area. Plus, the higher gas prices mean more people are shopping locally instead of driving to the next larger town which is also good news. :)

Business aside, it was great to visit with Richard's sisters and brother. Oscar was indifferent to the whole thing, I think, but as usual, he was a good sport about the trip. He functioned in a supervisory role while we were working at the store, of course.

Oh, and one of the perks of marrying into a family that owns a store is being able to shop at cost. Sweet!!! Needless to say I scored major amounts of clothing to see me through the rest of the summer and got a dress to wear to a wedding next weekend. It looks like nothing else in my closet. Richard likes it. :)

No real pictures from the trip yet -- I'm waiting on the sibs to email me pics they took of the four of them together and one with me and Oscar in it, but while we were on the road, we did see this:Spotted a hauler for Juan Pablo Montoya's show car on the road!!! Altho there's a lot of people who don't like Juan Pablo, he's my new hero since he took out the Shrub (aka Kyle Busch) in a race a couple of weeks ago and **admitted he did it**. Usually NASCAR drivers will blame a wreck on "just racing" or a mechanical issue, but Juan Pablo stood up and said that Kyle ticked him off, he'd had enough, and he wrecked him. Plus I actually think Juan Pablo's kinda hot -- Richard knows about this, and thinks Juan Pablo's wife is kinda hot, and we decided if we had the Montoyas over for dinner the only thing that could come of it is a restraining order. :)

Oh, you came here to see knitting or stitching?? Yeah... that got put on hold for the trip. Light was bad where we were staying, and besides, we had no time. Check back later for pictures of ornaments for the ornament exchange tho!! :)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Some Thoughts on the Fourth of July

Ah yes... there I go thinking again. But as we approach the Fourth of July, I think it's interesting to approach the celebration from another perspective.

I have some clients who are Japanese. His mother saw the mushroom cloud from the bomb at Hiroshima out her window before he was born. They grew up in post-war Japan, which couldn't have been pleasant. They came here legally, built a business, raised their children, and have built a life here. And they're absolutely delightful folks and I'm blessed to have them as clients and as friends.

She and I chat when I'm there working, and there's rarely a time when she doesn't tell me how grateful they are that America is such a welcoming country, and how they didn't sense that the welcoming changed, even after the horror of 9/11. How thankful they are that they've been able to work hard, save, and have a good life for themselves and their children. How they're trying to bring others over from Japan and other countries, legally, to have the same opportunity.

They work hard, have a successful business, and pay their taxes just like the rest of us. And they appreciate the chance to do so.

It just strikes me that so many people who were born here take all this for granted. They bitch and moan all the time about how tough they have it instead of looking at the opportunity around them.

So I think, as we celebrate our country this year, those of us who have been fortunate enough to be born here need to look at it through the eyes of my Japanese friends for a few minutes and see what they see.

It could give some of us a new perspective on things. I know it did for me.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Starbucks and Yarn Swap Questionnaire!

I'm participating in a swap called "Starbucks and Yarn", where the swappers exchange goodies related, interestingly enough, to yarn and Starbucks coffee and tea. :) The exchange also includes a handmade item. We were instructed to post the answers to our questionnaire on our blog, so here goes!!

  1. Full name Jean Early
  2. Ravelry ID doxietrek
  3. Email address
  4. Blog address (if you have one)
  5. Handmade item you desire in the swap (bag, cup cozy, etc.) mug mats
  6. Starbucks item you desire (gift card, mug, beans, etc.) gift card
  7. Favorite Starbucks beverage/bean quad grande skinny vanilla latte
  8. Favorite snack food (trying not to snack to keep the weight off!)
  9. Favorite color(s) purple, teals, blues, greens
  10. Favorite fragrance none, really due to asthma issues
  11. What types of things do you like to knit? socks and other small items
  12. Do you spin? very badly. :)
  13. Do you dye your own yarn? no
  14. Favorite yarns anything but mohair, which is evil
  15. Favorite needles Knit Picks harmony circs
  16. Do you have any allergies? seafood (not relevant) cigarette smoke, strong scents
  17. Would you be willing to prepare an angel kit if necessary? yes
  18. Do you have any special requests? just have fun gathering stuff!
  19. Do you have any pets? His Royal Lowness, Oscar the dachshund
  20. Is your home smoking or non-smoking? totally non-smoking!!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thank You, Apple Store!

I have an iPhone. I am seriously in love with my iPhone. It is my lifeline to my business, my family, my friends.... you get the picture.

So imagine my horror last night when I picked up said iPhone, and it slipped out of my hand. It went to the floor in that slow-motion movement that happens when you slam the door of the car and you realize that you've left the key in the ignition. I couldn't catch it. It hit the floor with a sickening thud.

I retrieved it from the floor and tried to call Judy. Her voicemail acted as if it couldn't hear me. How rude. Then I realized it actually couldn't hear me. And the little "home" button on the phone didn't work anymore. And I couldn't sync it to my computer anymore.

In short, I had a nice, iPhone-shaped brick.

I dug up my old Razr, hoping I could convince AT&T to turn it back on, called my voice mail from the landline and changed the message telling people to call Bob if they had a problem, and made plans to head to the Apple store first thing in the morning.

Two very nice young (and I mean young) men met me at the door. I held out the iPhone and simply said "Make it go." They laughed and took pity on the old grey headed woman as I explained this was my business line and I was in a heap of trouble. They made an appointment for me for noon, took the SIM card out of the iPhone and put it in the Razr so I was back in business (yay!), and I went out to kill two hours in the mall.

Did I mention that the new Vera Bradley patterns are out? And that the Night Owl is really cute? And that I now have some of it, since I was there, and it was there, and I had the time.... (I was going to link to the Vera Bradley site to show it to you, but it's not listed yet! You'll need to Google it because there's a ton of people selling it on Ebay.)

Anyway, at noon I went back to the Apple store. The girl looked at my phone, and I told her what happened, and that I expected to pay for the repairs since stupidity isn't covered under warranty. She looked at it again and said that the damage didn't look that bad, and why didn't she just give me a new one.


Wowsa!!! She went and got a shiny, new, working iPhone, and set it all up for me. I told her I'd kiss her, but people would talk. I was absolutely thrilled, because I thought at a minimum they'd send it off, and in the worst case I'd have to wait till July 11 when the new ones were released and buy one of those.

I brought it home and synched it, and I'm back in business. Thank you Apple Store!!!!

Another reminder... I'm still collecting for the Race for Research. If you'd like to donate, please click here to go to our fundraising page. Thanks for your consideration!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Retail Therapy

Note that we were supposed to be in West Virginia right now. There was some scheduling confusion, so the trip got postponed. Unfortunately, that included my stopover in Pigeon Forge, so and that torpedoed my day of outlet shopping there.

When I called Mom to tell her that the trip had been postponed, she called back a little later with the suggestion that all of us go over to Dawsonville, GA, where there's a perfectly adequate outlet mall, and spend the night and engage in a little retail therapy. So, this past Friday evening, Richard, Oscar and I headed to Rome, spent the night with my Mom, and on Saturday morning we went to Dawsonville for a day of shopping.

Oscar is a professional shopper. He rides around in his stroller (or his "Royal Carriage" as DF Jill terms it), and basks in the attention he attracts. This time, he determined that stroller time was quality nap time, so he curled up and went to sleep while we were shopping. I'm always amused by the double takes we get from people who see the stroller, assume it's a baby, then realize it's a dog. :)

Mom has a hard time finding clothes to fit, considering a size 2 is too large (!). (Yes, I obviously took after my father's side of the family, where we're all built like fireplugs.) Problem is, the clothing companies figure if you wear a size that is small, you obviously want to have a skirt cut so short that it barely covers your rear. My mother is nearly 80, and that's just not her style. Heck, I'm only 50, and it's not mine either. So when we can find clothes (and she prefers suits to wear to church), chances are the skirts are too short for her.

She did score a few things at one of the outlets, but it was a bit of a frustrating shopping trip for her, clothes-wise. She did much better buying tops and t-shirts to wear with her existing outfits. Plus, she scored kitchen gadgets at Williams Sonoma (where they had a really kewl ice crusher, but Richard has declared a kitchen-gadget moratorium in this house so I couldn't get it).

I managed to find a couple of Vera Bradley Pink Elephant pieces on sale to help round out my collection. Woo Hoo! Talked to another girl who was pawing through the boxes at the Mori outlet with me. Richard rather snarkily asked if I had converted her to my "cult" of Vera Bradley, and I told him that she was already firmly in before we even spoke. Hmmmph.

But the big thing was that we spent the weekend together and had a good time. On Sunday we dropped Oscar off at our house (since we pretty much passed it on the way back to Rome) and took Mom to one of the malls here. She had a little better luck with some clothes there (or at least I hope she did -- she took them home to try on, and I'll bring back what doesn't fit when I go up there this week).

Took Mom back home and then returned to Kennesaw. Geez, I was tired! I don't think I've done that much walking in awhile. I think the exercise was good for me...even if it wasn't for my wallet. :)

Just a reminder... We're still taking donations for the Race for Research. You can link to our donations page here, and we appreciate your help!

Monday, June 16, 2008

A little shameless begging

Those of you who've known me for awhile know I lost my dad nearly 7 years ago now to a brain tumor. And those of you who went through that with me know how incredibly dark and horrible those days were, and God bless you for standing by me. For those of you who haven't known me as long, know that my dad's illness has had a profound effect on my life, both while he was sick and after he passed.

On July 12, Richard and I are participating in the Race for Research sponsored by the Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation. Lest you be concerned, I'm not running anywhere... there's a 2K walk associated with it that we'll be participating in. We're raising funds for research -- as it turns out, there's been less progress made with brain cancers than with cancers in any other part of the body.

By clicking here, you'll be taken to my fundraising page where you can make a secure donation to help us toward our goal of $1000. No amount is too small, and every donation is sincerely appreciated. Money raised is earmarked for research into brain tumor treatments.

I thank you for your consideration, and I promise we'll return to your regularly scheduled fun blog posts soon. It's just that this is incredibly important to me, so I'm pulling out all the stops to try to make our goal.

It's just my way of trying to make sure that no other family will ever have to go through what we did ever again. Maybe it's a pipe dream, but I gotta try. My dad would expect no less of me.