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!!!