Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Eve in Hawk Run Hollow

Just as the owners of Lot 6 were pretty sure there were no Christmas miracles they woke up Christmas morning to a completed house. As of this morning, the 'hood itself was completed. It appears that 2007 will start off very happily for the occupants of the North West Florida division of Hawk Run Hollow.
I would also like to thank everyone for you sweet comments regarding my grandmother. I appreciate them so much.
Thanks to everyone for making this a very fun year here at the "Ranch". I enjoy all your blogs and your photo albums. They are a constant inspiration and keep me stitching and dreaming.
May 2007 bring you all joy and happiness and lots of time to stitch!
Happy New Year!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Fairy Grandmother-The Parting Shot

Long time readers of this blog know that I've been struggling for years with the completion of MLI's Fairy Grandmother. It was a gift for my Mamaw, it represents everything she has been in my life. On December 23, 2006 my grandmother passed away. Fairy Grandmother went with her. I folded it up and tucked it in her casket. It seemed the right thing to do. I wasn't going to finish it because it would always be a reminder that she never got to see it completed. There's no way I would ever give it to anyone else. It was 100% for her and her alone. So what you see below is the final goodbye shot of Fairy Grandmother.
I would love to write more about my grandmother but the pain is still too new. At the funeral people would come up to me and I couldn't remember their names. I would say to myself, I need to remember to ask Mamaw who this or that person was. I started to call her on more than one occaision over the last few days to ask her about so and so. Her phone number is still in my cell phone. Maybe if I leave it there, the last few days will be a bad dream. The hurt and sadness will be around for a very long time. This woman was everything to me. I have so many regrets. I quit calling her as often as I used to because every conversation would somehow end up on the subject of my not going to church. I know it hurt it that I gave up on church a long time ago and she worried so much about my salvation and that of my kids. It was so important to her. I didn't want to hurt her any more so it was easier to just not pick up the phone and call.
I was lucky, I did get to say goodbye. Three weeks ago I called her, she didn't sound right. I had a bad feeling. I had to keep telling her who I was. My first thought when I hung up the phone was "this is the last time I'll talk to her". I didn't think she was going to die but I felt like she'd never know who I was again. Right after that phone call she had a stroke and was hospitalized. She couldn't talk on the phone, wouldn't have anything to do with the phone. I was glad I said what I needed to say when I had the chance.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Brand New Bag

Thanks to Coinstar and tons of change in the bottom of my purse, over the course of several months I managed to scrounge up enough money to order these bags from Knitpicks. They are supposed to be for knitters but I thought they would work well for cross stitching. Below is a pic of the whole set. The second bag from the front is the medium sized bag with the purse organizer attached. I love the look of these bags. No they aren't real leather but they seem to be well made. Below is the large bag. It's got a nice satchel appearance to it and while it's big, since I'm short, I don't look like I'm carrying a bag designed for someone six feet tall. It and each bag in the set comes with their own shoulder strap. The hardware on the front is for attaching the purse organizer. It also has a shoulder strap so that if you have to run in the store and want to just take the purse you can easily remove it from the front of the bag and leave the larger bag in the car.

This is the inside shot of the large bag. I put 8 six ounce skeins of Caron Simply Soft, the current issue of Knit.1 and two sets of knitting needles. This is for the Pirate baby set in this issue. My first attempt at a sweater. It will be for my friend's baby and if I never finish it she won't hate me. I thought it would be a good practice project since I want to make Jessie's Flames from Stitch N Bitch Nation for the middle son one day. I have a set of size 2 circular needles in the inside pocket and there is still room for another skein or two of yarn. Probably more. I apologise for the not so good pics. It's a dreary, yucky day down here on the Redneck Riviera.

This is the medium bag with the purse/organizer removed.

Inside the medium bag which I can tell will be my favorite, is one of the large floss bobbin boxes, my HOHRH chart, my Mighty Bright Craft Light, all that in a 2 gallon Ziploc baggie, and another smaller baggie holding my HOHRH in a hoop. I could have put more in there, and it wouldn't be crammed, but this is pretty much what I take when I'm working on a project. I'm a hoop girl as opposed to a Q-snap girl. I have a few sets of Qsnaps and do use them but I prefer the hoop.

This is the stuff that was inside the medium bag piled up outside of it. I've also reattached the purse/organizer.

The small bag pictured below is just the right size for my hoop and fabric. If I'm using the hoop and don't need a ton of floss, this bag is a good size.

Above is the small bag, the little bag next to it is the notions bag and a shoulder strap.
I expect the medium bag to get a lot of use. I take my stitching with me everywhere, along with a book, a notebook and pens for writing, I'm interested to see how I get this all worked out for stitching in public. I'm always afraid I'll get stuck somewhere with nothing to do, it's a sickness I know, but it kills me to think I could be working on something while waiting and then have nothing with me.
The purse/organizer has places for drivers license, credit cards, a few pockets. I think it's designed fairly well. It reminds me of the outside pocket of the organizer purses my mom used to order from Fingerhut(think that's where she ordered those bags from). It's also got a center zippered pocket. It's got a spot for your cell phone and a pen too.
I'm hard on bags so I'm interested to see how these hold up.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Holiday Card

From: Owners Lot 6 Hawk Run Hollow
Dear Family and Friends

Many times I have tried to compose our yearly holiday letter but after much discussion we, as a family, determined that the picture says it all. The holiday spirit is all but nonexistent here at Lot 6. If you were invited here for Christmas dinner, we won't be home. We hope this card reaches you in time to make new plans. If not, there's some Boar's Head rosemary ham and peppermill turkey in the fridge and a 12 pack of cokes. For dessert you'll find some vanilla wafers in the pantry. Enjoy.

We have decided to take a Christmas trip and hope that we come home to a completed house on New Year's Day. That friends would be a Christmas miracle. After the year we've had we believe we are due some good luck.

We would tell you where the hidden key is but since we have no door or windows just feel free to walk in.

Happy Holidays

Lot 6
Hawk Run Hollow
North West Florida

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Darkness Falls On HOHRH

As the holiday season arrives in Hawk Run Hollow the homes are an invitation for friends and relatives to stop by. The warm lights glowing in the darkness, welcoming friends in, out of the cold, for a cup of hot chocolate or a nice peppermint mocha except for Lot 6. What is going on there? While strolling through the neighborhood discussing the HOHRHHOA guidelines for Christmas decorations we are appalled to see the inflatable Grinch on the lawn of Lot 6. That's a no-no. They have also let their Christmas tree die and it's still a week until the big day, and there it is right in the front yard. What are they doing? They'll be fined $100 a day for every day that the Grinch is posed in the yard and that dead tree, well, it has to go. That's another $50 a day fine. The only Christmas decorations allowed in the Hollow are tasteful white lights.
On closer inspection we determine that the Grinch might have been set up in the yard to block the wind from blowing through the as yet uninstalled windows, the dead tree might be serving the same purpose. As we walk around the neighborhood discussing this tacky display we wonder when the owners of Lot 6 might get some relief from the constant delays in the construction of their home. Will they ring in the New Year with windows and a finished fence or will the Grinch still be standing come Valentine's Day?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Sweet Sixteen

No pictures today due to computer malfunctions, but today is my middle son's 16th birthday.

Sixteen years ago, my amniotic sack tore during my 11pm-7am shift at a hospital in Little Rock. I went home, concerned because the baby was 6 weeks early. My doctor wasn't too worried since the baby was already close to 6lbs, shouldn't be any problem. I go to the hospital, my labor never really starts, they start me on a pitocin drip. After laying there all day, nothing happened. The decision is made to try again the next morning. The baby's heart couldn't handle the pit so the decision is made to do an emergency c-section. It's routine. Not the way I planned to have a baby but it's ok. The c-section went fine, a 6lb 9oz baby boy was born at approx. 10:30am on Dec. 13, 1990. A few minutes later he went into respiratory distress. This wasn't part of the plan. He was put on a vent. The hardest words I heard that day were "if you want to know if your baby is going to live or die, I can't answer that". It didn't help that I had just had surgery, didn't have freedom of movement and had no clue what was happening to my baby other than he might live or die. That's all anyone knew. One outcome or the other. They were doing everything they could but there were no answers. I cried a lot. The nurses who were kind of mean to me, until someone checked my chart and saw the information about the baby, then nurses who had had premature babies who did well, came and talked to me. I don't remember anything about that. Other than blah, blah, my baby's fine, blah, blah, the drs here are great, blah, blah, it'll be alright. My doctor did everything he could to keep me in the hospital as long as possible but eventually I had to go home and leave my baby. I wasn't thinking straight at this time. All I remember is thinking about the oldest DS almost three and that I was leaving the hospital but not with my baby. My baby who was hooked up to machines just so he could do something as natural as breathing. My baby who couldn't eat, except through a feeding tube. My baby who I was afraid to feel anything for because he would die and my heart couldn't handle that kind of pain. An ice storm hit Little Rock, we lived outside of town and getting back and forth to the hospital was impossible, especially with an almost three yr old. The days were hard, the nights long, the pain raw, jagged, and so deep I don't remember feeling anything those days. There was no love, there was no hurt, there was only an ache, an ache that never let up, the ache of a love so deep, the ache of the fear of loss, not being able to go on. It was there at the bottom of my heart, in the shadows of my mind. I lost myself to this ache.

On December 29th, my baby boy was able to come home on an apnea monitor, yet another ice storm was headed to Little Rock, they loaded us down with formula, they wanted us to be able to hunker down at home, not needing anything, just being able to hold this baby who had missed so many hugs in the early days of his life. His early days, full of wires and cables and tubes and needles. Days that should have been full of hugs, kisses, family. His early days full of lonliness.

I was so young, so stupid. I could have camped out at that hospital with the almost three yr old. I didn't know that. I remember thinking at the time, with him there with me, I wouldn't be able to see Jack. There wasn't anyone to watch the oldest DS, we'd be sitting in a waiting room all day and still not get to see Jack. I expected barriers. I know so much more now.

The first two years of his life are a blur to me. I went back to work, I didn't sleep, I still couldn't let go of that fear of losing him. It could happen at any time. We don't know if he'll live or die.

Other than a cold and the chicken pox the child hasn't been sick one day since those difficult first weeks.

The early years, he was quiet, a good baby, a good kid, very independent, a little aloof. Now he is almost six feet tall and wanting "be somebody". He spends his free time working on his basketball skills, his skateboarding skills(chicks dig guys with skills) and trying to figure out who he is, where he's going, and how to make lots of money. He's very much his own person and doesn't pay a lot of attention to what people think. On the other hand, he loves clothes, the right clothes and know exactly what he wants. He's gone from being a painfully shy kid to a kid who will talk to anyone and ask anyone anything no matter how inappropriate it might be, he's seeking information and the only way to get answers is to ask.

He's silly, he's Jack. He's my baby, the one who might live or die, they didn't know. If they could only see him now. He's healthy, he's strong, every time I look at him, I remember those dark early days, and I want to protect him. I hope he never knows that kind of pain. The pain that there's no name for because it's so deep, so dark. I hope he only knows happiness, joy, and he figures out who he's going to be because sixteen more years of nightly discussions on "being somebody" is going to put me in a home.

Happy Birthday Jack, I love you more than you can ever know.

PS: I don't know if this post makes a lot of sense. I have a lot of trouble even now talking and writing about those days after his birth, they are still so foggy in my mind, I don't visit there often. I'm just so thankful that he's here and healthy and in our lives.

Monday, December 11, 2006


The spousal unit and I took the vows in September of 1985. Christmas rolled around and I was surprised to discover that I didn't have an attic with a tree, lights and ornaments. How could that be? Don't all married people have an attic filled with Christmas stuff? Well, no. As Christmas drew nearer and the tree fairy obviously didn't exist and ornaments didn't magically appear in our small apartment I decided to make some ornaments. The ornaments pictured below are all I have left of those ornaments I made that first year. I could have sworn I had a few more but we've moved a lot over the years and well who knows how many got tossed out with the tree over the years when we were sure we had gotten everything off the tree. We were young and irresponsible and did everything in a hurry. The reason I'm pretty sure a few are missing is I know I had a few ornaments framed in red plastic ornament thingies. I bought these frames at Woolworths--here's part of the price tag on the back of one:
I believe it used to say 35cents. When I examined it this morning I thought it might have been 5cents but I think that's a stretch. At either price these little plastic ornament frames have held up well. Much better than the "gold" frames that appear to tarnish. I never knew something that had been golded and is plastic could tarnish or at least have that appearance.
The ornament below was stitched for me by my friend Neva. I had a thing for geese back then. Give me a break it was the 80s. Geese were like totally cool.

There are no pictures of that first tree. Where did the tree come from? Well it just so happens there is a tree fairy and his name is Tim. He went hunting one morning and while he didn't get a deer he did score us a tree. It was wonky and very much a Charlie Brown tree and it fell over Christmas morning and we didn't know at the time that a picture of that tree might be something we would want one day but the spousal unit and I can both still picutre it and that ugly tree will always be our favorite.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Christmas Eve 2005

The spousal unit and I enjoy humilating the children. Don't get me wrong we never see anything wrong with the requests we make regarding picture taking. Last year we had this great idea to do a picture based on a South Park episode. It's the episode where Cartman and Kyle have competing bands. Cartman chooses to sing Christian music since he believes he'll be able to easily sell a million records. The name of the band is Faith + 1 and during the episode they did an album cover. The picture below is based on that album cover. This is one of my all time favorite pictures of the boys because we made them do this shot 10 times at the other end of the beach and couldn't get it right. We waited til just a bit before sunset and scored this shot. It always makes me smile. First because it's a good picture and second, I know how annoyed all three of them were at the moment this shot was snapped. I can assure you that no visions of sugar plums are running around their brains at this moment, more like thoughts of Lizzie Borden, an ax, and two dorky parents.

Over the years we've forced them to wear Santa hats on the beach in October, this was before digital cameras, or before we had one. We've begged them to make sand snowmen in July so we could get a good shot for a Christmas card, they never cooperated, so this picture is the one time I won. We've been discussing this year's photo shoot and they keep avoiding us. We can never seem to get all three of them in the car at the same time. I'll eventually come up with something and they may be kicking and screaming but I believe my chances for shots of all three of them together are getting fewer and fewer. I hope tugging at their heartstrings will work. Yeah, right. Dream on Mom!

In stitching news, not much going on here. I've been working a bit here and there on an ornament and am planning a finishing party on Saturday.

It's supposed to get down to 28 tonight. I'm seriously wishing I had finished my Alien Illusion scarf because it might come in handy tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Blogging While Under the Influence

Of Nyquil. Yes it's that time of the year. The time of the year when I spend most of my days doing shots of Robitussin and my nights passing out with the scent of Nyquil on my breath. Which means my mornings are spent guzzling much strong coffee to shake off the hangover.

Had intended to post a pic or two today but Blogger tells me they can't fulfill my request. Not sure what's up with that. Might try using my flickr album and see what happens. I haven't really played around with it since I opened the account. Meari asked me about BetaBlogger, up until now I haven't had any problems making the switch. Of course I haven't had time to redo my template yet either so that should be a real test. My html skills are minimal, I'm learning as I go.

Since I've been sick I haven't got a lot of stitching done but I am working on an ornament. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I might finish HOHRH before the end of the year. That would be major here in my world where it doesn't take a lot to excite me. I might have gotten more stitching done over the weekend but it was a big party weekend here on our little road. Two birthday parties, one Saturday, one Sunday. Both lots of fun. The one on Saturday was as much for the adults as for the kids, the one on Sunday was at an indoor gokart place that was a hoot. Fun, but I was really too sick to enjoy either one. I did spend a good bit of time coughing in the direction of the neighbor I can't stand. That can't be good for my karma.

It is Dec. 6th and I have purchased 1, count them 1, Christmas present. It's for the youngest son and it's by far the coolest thing I've ever seen. It's a Pirates of the Caribbean chess/checker set. It also has dice for the pirate dice game they play in the second movie. The checker pieces are the pirate coins and the chess pieces are the crew of the Flying Dutchman and the crew of the Black Pearl. I'm also going to pick him up a copy of Chess for Dummies. The spousal unit said he would teach him to play but a little reading can't hurt and I don't believe the spousal unit has played chess in years. I also want to learn but the DH is a bit competitive and I kind of get that way too playing anything against him so I don't trust him to refresh my memory correctly if you know what I mean because I know for a fact I haven't played chess in 25 yrs.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can do some ornament finishing tomorrow. I have a pile of stitched pieces that I have recieved over the years in an ornament a month group where you stitch the ornament but don't have to finish it, you mail it to the moderator and she sends it along to someone else. Every month you recieve something new in the mail. Very cool, but I quit participiating this year but have about two years worth of ornies to put together. I hate that I wasn't active because it was a lot of fun but I found at the end of 2005 I was stressing over getting something stitched and in the mail on time. It's supposed to be a hobby and make you happy. I was not happy. I love reading about all the swaps and exchanges online but whenever I think about signing up for something I get a panic attack, so just avoid it. It also cuts into my minimal stitching time.

Friday, December 01, 2006

On the First Day of Christmas

I discovered one hair coming out of my cheek! Ick, gross, I feel like Austin Powers should be yelling to everyone within hearing distance, "She's a man, baby!" I'm too young for this to happen. I'm still ovulating, there's plenty of feminine hormones running through this body. How could this happen?

I did attempt to photograph it but it's not even long enough to pluck, much less catch on film or pixel. It's there, trust me. I can't pluck it to save my life. I guess I have to let it grow until I can put a bead on it and then maybe, just maybe, I can pluck the little booger. I have pinched my cheek so much today trying to snag it that I have what will probably be a permanent red mark on my face.

Did I stitch today, well no, I was spending the first day of Christmas trying to get rid of my beard. Oh, I want to gag just thinking about it.

This weekend I hope to finish some ornaments. I've been putting it off but since downloading incredimail I've been in the Christmas spirit. Of course I've spent the better part of the day deleting mail from incredimail because I thought I was just copying my address book to incredimail and it ended up being every piece of mail in my aol account-10 times each. I had over 2000 emails. I've got it down to 700 something. What a pain. But I love the backgrounds and this puppy with a slurpy tongue runs across the screen when I have mail. Too cute. But I'm in the Christmas spirit, shocker that. I also watched A Christmas Story and now am listening to my pile of Christmas CDs. While I'm still super Grinch, I'm feeling better about the holiday season. Is anything ready, well no. I did clean up the spot for the Christmas tree, still have to run the vacuum and toss out the accumulated trash. There's a lot of paper. I'm doing better about walking in and tossing out junkmail but the youngest son generates a lot of paper from school and papers always end up under and behind things.

On a happy note, while cleaning out the video shelf I ran across the middle son's second grade Christmas video. I had forgotten all about this particular event. He was supposed to wear a long sleeved button up shirt, he didn't want to, he argued with me and cried. I made him wear it, tucked it in, sent him to his classroom before the show. When he walks out to sing in the chorus the shirt is not only untucked, it's unbuttoned and you can't see the green vest he was wearing, because this shirt is wide open and all you can see the white Hanes t-shirt underneath. I was so mad. I was mortified. There was nothing cute about it because I had to argue with him for hours before the show to make wear it in the first place and he still ended up not wearing it. He won. Actually he lost because we have him on video for eternity picking his nose. Go us! He'll wish he had kept that shirt buttoned up. Everyone hence forth(did I use that right?) will see him picking, baby. Yes, I'm still 12.