Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Life in the Between

First a quick recap of the stitching accomplished in 2008:

I completed Plumstreet Samplers complimentary design, Coffin Buzz. I dyed my own fabric after I stitched the piece and also framed it myself in a frame from the "Store Who Shall Not Be Named" oh we all know it's Walmart, I shop there. Ok, I shop at WALMART.

I finished Blackbird Designs Beneath the Sunlit Sky. It is still unframed and folded up in a ziploc baggie, shoved in a drawer until I can get it framed. I have one complaint about this design and it's that the designers didn't include a stitch diagram. It bugs me. I love BBD, I have quite a few of their charts, but I think that leaving out a stitch diagram for whatever reason is like watching a movie where somewhere out of the blue someone speaks a foreign language and the director decides not to subtitle it. If the lines were important enough to leave in the movie, then they should be important enough to subtitle. If this speciality stitch is so important then a stitch diagram should have been included. I was fortunate to have some embroidery books around the house and access to Google to look up the stitch but not everyone is so fortunate. So please in the future if you want to include a speciality stitch please include a diagram.
This post is titled Life in the Between, because this year was the year that opened my eyes to my life and how much of it has been spent "in the between". What does "in the between" mean?
It means that I have spent a life divided between the me I want to be, wish I was, and the me the world sees.
For years, like 40, my deep dark secret was that I wanted to be a writer. When I was a kid and mentioned that dream to people, I was laughed at so writing became my secret garden. I filled notebook after notebook with stories, journal entries, random thoughts and the me that everyone else saw was a wife, a mom, a phlebotomist, a dental assistant, a data entry operator, a waitress at a BBQ pit on the side of the road, they were my cover, my attempt to be just like everyone else. Getting through life, being normal, accepting life as it is, living in the real world, just getting through it.
I created this blog as an excuse to write every day. The earlier entries are journal posts. Just a day in the life. A couple of years ago, I was approached to write a book of essays about cross stitch. I have an agent who worked so hard to sell the book and she did. I got paid. Paid to write. Paid to write about something I love almost as much as my husband and kids. I had an editor who loved the finished book, it was on it's way to a proofreader(copy editor?) and the call was made to pull the book from the November publication list. I spent most of the summer back "in the between". No longer Missy the writer, just Missy the mom, the wife, the friend. Missy the horrible housekeeper. I tried to get over myself. I tried to work on essays and a proposal for a second book but my heart wasn't in it at the time. I spent a good bit of Autumn crying for no reason, well there was a reason for my sadness but I wrote it off to friends as PMS, being Peri-menopausal, whatever sounded good at the time, but the truth is I was crying for my book that was to never be. I was crying because I was so flippin' close to that dream, my deep dark secret dream, and all of a sudden it was like it never happened, just some bizarre alternative reality. As November flowed into December I found myself coming out of the "between". I was tired of being normal. I wanted the writer me to float back up to the top. I got ideas for book two, I still wasn't ready to sit and write, but the thoughts were there and I wrote them down. I had participated in NaNoWriMo. Didn't come anywhere close to winning but it got me back in the groove. I truly believe if I wasn't having to share a computer, fighting for every minute of computer time, I could have done better.
So as of now I am no longer living "in the between". I'm sucking it up, I'm writing again. I'm going to face rejection and you know what? I'm going to face it over and over again because DAMN I want to write, I need to write. When I don't write, whether the writing be good or bad, there's this part of me that dies, that part of me has been on life support since late September. NaNoWriMo was a good kickstart and I'm crossing the line from "the between" to who I am and who I want the world to see. Why do I care if anyone thinks I'm insane because I say, "I'm a writer". All that matters is that I know that I'm a writer, because a few hours spent writing something bad is at least a few hours spent being true to who I am.
2008 was a year full of sadness. My dad died. I didn't go home before he died and I regret that but we talked almost every day sometimes several times a day. I miss him. I reach for the phone often to call and ask him about this or that and then I realize that he's not going to answer.
When I went back home, I slept in my old bedroom, now my niece's room. I saw people I have known most of my life. Looking around me I wondered why I spent so much of my childhood plotting my escape from Bartlett, TN. It's not a bad place, but I also learned that you really can't go home. You can return to a place but just like you, that place is living, it changes, it adapts to the times. You remember the things that made it home way back when, but you also remember that that place never quite fit who you are or those deep dark secret dreams. You go back to that place at 44 and you are just as awkward as you were at 14. For a nano-second you fantasize about buying the house up the road from the house you grew up in, spending mornings having coffee and eating cookies for breakfast with your aunt and uncle, spending afternoons after school with your niece and nephew, drinking wine at sunset with your brother, sitting around your bestfriend's kitchen and picking up the conversation where we left it the last time we said goodbye be it five minutes ago or two years ago. But nothing is ever exactly how we think it's going to be. The reality is, we ran away for a reason. We built a new life, a new home, 600 miles away and there's a lot of happiness in that place that we created for ourselves. It might not be perfect, it might fit with the memories because aren't memories always happier than the reality of that time? Aren't memories warm and fuzzy even though we know there was a reason we wanted to get the hell out of there when we younger?
2008- I will bid you farewell with a glass of champagne at midnight. You were a year that sucked balls, I'm sorry to be so crude, but that's the truth. But you deserve a nice send off because through all the suckiness I learned a little more about me and who I want to be when I grow up. I do believe that the lessons learned will help me be a better me and a better human being in 2009 and hopefully many more years to come.
I want to thank each and everyone of you that take the time to read this blog and comment on it.
My wish is that 2009 is a year where your cup is overflowing with joy and happiness. May all your deep dark secret dreams come true and may your quiet moments be filled with little Xs.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Postcards From the Bay

Christmas has come and gone, I hope all of your stockings were filled with wonderful presents and no lumps of coal.

In an attempt to start 2009 with one less WIP, one less BAP WIP, I've been spending some time with 13th Colony Bay Parts 1-3. Below you see part 1. It is very close to completion. I have to stitch the clouds and do some backstitching, minimal backstitching.

Here is part 2. I have to finish the sun. I have to do some backstitching on the trees and finish a clump of greenery on one. I have to also stitch the fence around the house and a teeny tiny bit of water.
Here is part 3. My main focus for the last few days. I have to finish the land to the left side of the tree, complete the right side of the tree and a lighthouse and water and who knows what else there to the right.

My mission had been to complete the whole thing before the ball drops in Times Square tomorrow night but realistically, if I can finish all of part 3 before 2008 is just a memory I'll be happy.
I can't stress enough how much I love this design. The fabric is 32ct Star Sapphire linen and it's probably one of my all time favorites. It's got color to it, you know the palest of blue greens, but in my humble opinion it's still very much a neutral color. I saw And They Sinned stitched on the Star Sapphire and it's was beyond gorgeous. I would have never thought of Star Sapphire for a sampler but now I see it as a nice alternative to more traditional foundation colors for samplers. It's nice to have an option-not that changing out linen is ever a good idea for me. My ATS is on 36ct Dirty Linen and it's just awful. I will be switching over to some good old flax sometime in 2009.
Keep your fingers crossed that I make some good progress on this in the next 24 hours and hey if your stitching just visualize yourself crossing your fingers. I understand completely!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Random Monday

Today's post is full of all kinds of randomness. Busy days, busy nights, just crazy busy. Guess that's the holidays for ya.

I knit the scarf below for my friend/neighbor-she's headed up to Maryland for the holidays and it's a little cold up there. The scarf is your basic garter stitch. I cast on 15 or so stitches on my size 13 needles and used three balls of Lionbrand Landscapes wool in the Country Sunset colorway. It needed a bit of blocking on the one end, I didn't realize it was so wonky.

Recently I've spent some time attempting to clear the clutter out of the house and it's been brought to my attention that the majority of the clutter is mine and from the overflowing top of the Sterlite container below you can see that I have a definite problem. I'm addicted to kitchen cotton, Peaches and Creme, Sugar & Cream, Lionbrand Kitchen Cotton, you name it, if there's a sale I'm going to be picking up a ball or two. This bucket was about half full when I initially dumped the kitchen cotton stash into it.

As I have been opening drawers, closets, cabinets, finding Walmart, JoAnn's, and Hobby Lobby bags all over the place, some with receipts from two years ago, I have found quite a few balls of the cotton. I had no idea I had this much. My Walmart recently cleared out their inventory of Peaches & Creme and I was able to buy a ball for like 75¢ so of course I would buy a ball or two whenever I went to the store. I mean what's an extra $1.50 here and there? From the looks of this bucket I should never be bored and I'll never run short of warsh rags.

While cleaning out the garage I found two crazy quilt squares that I purchased 20 years ago at a Flea Market in Ohio. I think I'm going to turn them into pillows for the couch.

I also ran across these old McGuffey Readers and Spelling books that I purchased at the same flea market for 25¢ each. The odd book on the bottom is interesting.

It's the Temperance and Prohibition Song Book. It cracks me up, especially since according to my family stories I had many family members in West to Middle Tennessee running from the Revenuers. Yes, my ancestors were moonshiners. This book was also bought at a flea market in Ohio.

Also last week I won Kwilty Kim's giveaway! The original post is here:

I love those Nest charm squares. Thanks Kim!
This morning I made a batch of Peppermint Bark Recipe. It didn't take very long and tastes pretty darn good!
Since it seems to be the season of I want, I want, I want(I hear it from the kids constantly) here's a bit of that "I want" from me, consider it my way to stimulate the economy:
I want a:
I want an: Ashford Traditional Spinning Wheel, $390.00 because seriously you can't have just one spinning wheel.
Or this:
Also I don't think I mentioned that a week or so ago I went to a house auction. The house was way too small for us, but it's an odd kind of house, more of an A frame kind of cabin. The opening bid was $1,000. Because I am a dork I just knew that if I showed up I would be able to buy this house for $1,000. Yes, really. It's that odd of an house, kind of angular and funky looking, not like anything else in the neighborhood. It's been vacant forever, even before the housing bubble burst. I had a plan. I knew how I was going to landscape it, I was going to add a woodstove to one corner of the living room. Once the two older kids are gone in a year or two, this house would have been perfect for the spousal unit and me and the youngest son.
I was outbid by $45,000. I was bummed, I just knew that through some divine intervention I was going to get this house. The spousal unit told me afterward that had he had any idea that house would sell for so little he'd have went through the steps to get preapproved for a loan. I never expected it to go for very much but everyone kept telling me it would go for at least $80,000 and realistically it was just too small and needed too much work to pay that much for the house.
Yes, I should have been more prepared but I went to the auction with a lot of hope and some faith. Guess that's not enough when it comes to buying a house. Funny thing, the guy that won the auction, he showed up late, they held the auction for him-he was at the wrong address. Had he not shown up the house would have sold for about $36,000.
So that's the news from here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sitting and Thinking and More Sitting

If I waited until I had pictures to post I might never blog again so I'm sitting here listening to the thunder, pondering making the spiced molasses cookies on the side of the Winn Dixie Light Brown Sugar box and decided I just had to share that with everyone.

Instead of baking I ended up making a cup of Paulette's Hot Chocolate:

PLUM STREET SAMPLERS: My Secret Ingredient pretty darn tasty! I may even have another cup, actually the size of my mug would make cup 2 actually cups 3 and 4!

But I still have all afternoon to bake.

It's pouring down rain, thundering and we're under a tornado watch until 2 p.m. I love days like this. Oh I forgot to mention the flashflood warning. It's been coming down in buckets, but we've been in some serious need of rain. As far as I'm concerned it can do this the rest of the week. Sunshine can get old, seriously. Then again I am dreaming of snow, mountians, a cabin, a fire in the fireplace, you get the picture. I shouldn't have watched the It's Tougher in Alaska marathon the other day.

I have absolutely no crafty news to report. My friend has given me and my friend Pam a project to consider, making her large dogs sweaters so that when she heads up north for Christmas they don't freeze their big dog butts off. I determined that since I'm on year 4 of knitting a scarf, Pam and I might do better creating dog jackets out of fleece. Pam suggested a mix of fleece and denim. We are both trying to come up with ideas that will be fast and cute and warm for Hemi and Lucy. I'm Hemi's protector, his god-mother sorta. It's sad that there aren't a lot of choices for people with big dogs for clothing.

Suz weren't you just wondering about what to do with Mona when she finally joins you in NC because there aren't dog sweaters large enough?

I'm interested to see what Pam comes up with. I have a general idea but the wheels were a turning in Pam's brain even early this morning. She comes up with great ideas.

This seems to be pretty much all I have at the moment.

Bake cookies or stitch or sew or do all of the above, or just lay down on the couch with the dogs and take a nap? That nap is looking pretty good right now.....

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Not For The Squeamish

Reader Advisory:

Many of you will find the following images disturbing.

They might bring on night terrors.

The gore and destruction that you will witness in the following images are not like any you have seen before.

Continue reading if you must but remember you have been warned.

Disclaimer--the author of this blog is not responsible for any nightmares or emotional distress created by the viewing of these images. You look at your own peril.

What you see below is a Longaberger Mistletoe Basket.

The handle met it's demise at the teeth of a viscious puppy. A puppy that didn't know that these baskets are expensive, didn't care that they don't make this basket any more, all the viscious beast cared about was chewing. Chewing through the handle until it no longer served any purpose.

Heartless and cruel, ruthless and uncaring, such is the heart of a puppy.

Now to the next victim. This one can't be blamed on a puppy. No, the damage done to this Longaberger Magazine basket rests in the heart of a stupid woman. A woman who filled it so full of Mary Englebriet Home Companion magazines, Southern Living magazines, JCS, Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly and then this stupid, stupid woman decided to move the basket, to keep it out of the reach of the aforementioned dangerous puppy teeth and the handle broke because while these baskets are quite durable, any idiot should know that the handle can't support 50 lbs of magazines.

What you see below is heartbreaking. It's a Longaberger Large Christmas Laundry basket. It like the Mistletoe basket has been the victim of a puppy. Not the same puppy but still a puppy. The puppy didn't care that the woman who owns this basket spent $250 on her own Longaberger party back in the 80s so she could then spend more money to purchase this basket. It was the 80s, many people snorted coke, this woman got high on the thrill of acquiring Longaberger baskets at any opportunity. She's pretty sure she went so far as to purchase one in a bathroom--or maybe she purchased one to specifically hold an extra roll of toilet paper in the bathroom, either way, at one time Longaberger was like crack to the woman.

I know what you are thinking, this careless woman does not deserve the glory that is the Longaberger. She should be ashamed, she should repent her evil ways. Karma will get her, it's probably already working it's magic to make sure she gets what she deserves.
On to a less disturbing subject:
The Vintage Vertical Stripe Afghan: Vintage Vertical Stripe Crocheted Blanket Pattern

It's crazy wide. Like close to 7 feet, I've crocheted on it every day since last Monday, 37 new rows. It was my mindless project for when family was around and I couldn't think to do anything else beyond double crochet.

I'm in love with this afghan. It's a great pattern and warm!
I hope everyone in the USA had a happy and blessed Thanksgiving.
Thanks for the compliments on Beneath the Sunlit Sky.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

She Threads a Needle

She places fabric in a hoop.

She makes some little Xs on the aforementioned fabric.

And a year or so later she has a finished project! Seriously it can happen to you.

Blackbird Designs
Beneath the Sunlit Sky
Completed 11-23-08

The buttonhole stitch kicked my butt. The version viewed in a previous post was just made up. The BBD ladies did not include stitch diagrams with this chart. It might have helped, maybe not, but I do believe that if you want to have speciality stitches in your design you should really include some visual aides for the stitcher. I have embroidery books and could look up the stitch, I have Google, I can Google the stitch but maybe, just maybe, not every stitcher has these resources available to her/him so a stitch diagram would be a nice thing to include with the chart. Just sayin'.

Yes, the picture is a bit wrinkledy, apologies. My iron has gone missing. Normally that's a pretty good thing but of course it only decides to go missing when I might need it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Scattering of Projects

This post is completely random. Here is the beginnings of Jane Atkinson:

Here is a skirt I made over the summer, the waist band was a quickie so I could wear it out one night to hang out with some friends who were in town. Note to self--remember to always add a few inches to the back because babe you got one big butt. The hike up factor was a pain. I have a long way to go before I should actually consider wearing something I've made. But it worked out ok and my top covered the unfinished waistband. I am wishing now I had bought the patchwork fabric I saw at JoAnn's in August, would have made a great fall skirt in this simple pattern. Even my big butt would have been cute in it.

Here's my attempt at the buttonhole stitch in Blackbird Designs Beneath the Sunlit Sky. It's not properly executed and we all know what Nina Garcia says about execution but honestly, I was over the stupid stitch and just made it up.

Here are some strips for a completely winged table runner. The fabric was purchased at a yard sale, the yellow I'm pretty sure was at one time a sheet, the green some kind of decorator fabric. Kind of funky but hey so am I:

New kitchen bling:

Scored three of these skillets at TJ Maxx. I was in desperate need of new cookware and these were just too fun not to buy and they were cheap too!

A few years ago, the middle DS was whining about being bored. I told him to find something to do, he was obviously hungry too and created this painting of a pizza on a Pizza Hut pizza box. I love it and want to frame it.

What does one do when her feet are cold? Unravel the Sophie bag and crochet some slippers. I lost the pattern to the Sophie bag and it's no longer online as far as I can tell. It was a freebie I think.

And the current candy addiction, why Hershey's Hot Cocoa Kisses:

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Yesterday while going on and on about the Halloween Baltimore Quilt I saw at Missy's blog,
Festival » Deep Inside Missy, another guest asked if I quilted. I started stuttering and umming and ahhing, and finally I said, "Well I talk about quilting a lot. Does that count?"

So when I came home I looked at all my projects, my sewing machine out on the dining room table, craft room, are you serious? The "dining room" is an extension of the living room and the first thing you see when you walk in my front door, other than the ginormous black lab laying in front of you is the sewing machine, printer, and laptop on the dining table(and a pile of mail and coupons too). If you walk into the room, which I try hard to block anyone from doing that, you will see a pretty nice china cabinet stocked full of crafting stuff. Yeah, I'm classy that way.

We need to paint, we went through a delusional phase where we actually believed living three miles from the beach meant we really lived on the beach and the colors in the living room/ dining room show that ignorance. Yes, I said colors, the living room is a tourquoise/sea blue kind of color and the dining area is a fruit punch, deep, bright pink. It's horrible and I'm not sure what exactly came over us when we thought this would be a good idea. It's bright, it's hard to be sad in this part of the house--oh we manage to let the sad seep in trust me--one look at the spousal unit's 401-K sucks the bright right out of the room. But it's really, in the bright light of day, a hideous, huge, decorating don't. Trust me. So now I'm going with a nice yellow, Sparkler from Glidden I think it's called. We need a lot of paint, it's a big area but I know I'll feel better about the clutter when the walls all match. I've been steadily filling trash bags with crap we don't need. I need to buy stock in Rubbermaid because there are buckets and bins everywhere, but the things I want to keep need to be moved out of the house and into the garage and we have learned over the years that cardboard boxes don't hold up to our children. Yes, they are all somewhat grown now but they will be looking for something in the garage or decide that they need that box my books are packed in and just dump the books out and take the box. I wander in the garage, slipping and sliding over a pile of hardback books that I'm pretty sure I packed away years ago, yes my kids are idiots or maybe just inconsiderate, but they make me crazy. It only adds to the situation when a cat gets locked in the garage and decides the pile of books might make a good litter box. You think I'm lying, exaggerating, trying to make a point to my kids, oh no, unfortunately this has happened on more than one occaision.

I am back to rethinking my crafting life. I read other people's blogs and I am amazed at what they manage to accomplish. Not only do they finish a BAP in a perfectly acceptable amount of time, they also quilt, sew, can food, bake, garden and many go to jobs for 40 hours a week. I am in need of some serious time management skilz.

I guess sitting around fretting about cleaning the house doesn't count as actual cleaning time but it does help when one is trying to figure out exactly where to start the cleaning, decluttering process. Yeah, I get flylady, I delete the emails everyday. I know 15 mins here, 15 mins there, it all builds up to one clean house. I'm just trying to figure out right now how to have a clean house by Thanksgiving and keep it that way through Christmas and I've determined the starting point is Rubbermaid buckets and three gallons of yellow paint. I want to do one of those Clean Sweep things where you haul all your worldly goods out on to the front lawn and then sort them in front of the whole neighborhood. We may still do that when we finally paint. Football ended last weekend so the spousal unit should have nothing but time on his hands, he can watch tv and paint at the same time right?

I have started Jane Atkinson-Scarlet Letter, maybe some pics tomorrow, the camera has gone missing, probably under a pile of junk. I am in love with Stacy Nash Primitives and want to just quilt my whole world right now. I found some funky vintage looking fabric at a yard sale a month or two ago and I think I have enough to make a table runner, but I might have to add some fabric to it and don't have anything around here that works so I may just play it by ear see what happens.

Does every project have to be planned to the letter? Isn't it ok to just start cutting and sewing and hope it all works out in the end? There was a time when I considered a failed project a waste of crafting time. It was time that could be spent actually doing something I know how to do but there's a lot to be said for a learning curve. I've learned that's important not only in crafting but also in life in general.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Writing and Stitching

Stitching and writing. I love November, it's nanowrimo. This is the first year I've officially participated. Other years I'm just kind of writing along but this year I'm writing outloud so to speak, at least with my word count. I should be at 8,000 something words and I'm up to 5,139. A little behind where I should be at this point but I'm into my story and honestly don't want to stop writing. Don't know if it's good, but writing it is making me happy so there's that.

Stitching--I want to write about cross stitch too. My friend Elaine passed away unexpectedly Oct. 18. I haven't written about her because, well, I guess the shock of it all. But I'm getting ready to start Jane Atkinson-Scarlet Letter and the DMC I'm using is DMC that was gifted to me by Elaine. Elaine knew that I used tons of DMC, I love the overdyes but the fact is, DMC is my friend. At a stitching weekend one year she brought me a tall kitchen garbage bag stuffed full of DMC. She had been gifted with about 5 skeins of every color so she gifted me with a skein of each color. The fabric I'm using was purchased with a gift certificate from Nordic Needle from my friends Sharon and the blogless Siobhan at a very sad time in my life, so Jane will be a very special piece for me. Stitching her with materials provided by my stitching sisters. Each X on Jane will remind me of how connected we all are, even if the connections are created at first by a machine, the computer, we become sisters in real life, and every day I am so thankful for my stitching friends and so aware of the void that is left when one passes from this world to another. I know that if there is a Heaven Elaine is looking down shaking her head and thinking to herself that Melissa is starting one more BAP that she will never finish. So all is as it should be here on Planet Earth.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Things I've Learned

First of all, the button hole stitch sucks. I hate it. I can't make a flower on BBD Beneath the Sunlit Sky. I'm weighing my other stitch options at the moment. Eyelet, Smyrna, Satin? I know that the buttonhole stitch is evil.

Second, when a design calls for GAST Wool thread, don't try to use Red Heart acrylic yarn, even separated it's too thick and it shreds. I'm passing this info along just in case you thought, like me, it might be an alternative to the GAST Wool thread, uh, it's not. It's a very bad choice. Of course if I were using a larger count fabric it might have worked, but I don't have any loosely woven 10ct laying around the house. So I'm back to using good old DMC. Maybe I'll have a finish to share tomorrow.

Nanowrimo-current word count, 1,100, I should be somewhere around 8,000 but what I have discovered is that I don't have time to write. Maybe now that the election is over, I can look away from the tv and other distractions and get my story down. I'm also editing as I write and I hate that. I just jumped into the story and am trying to get to a certain point but my writing is dragging and I keep hitting delete, not good for word count totals. Time to get inside of my head, cut loose my inner editor and just write the dang story. I'm also finding that I'm kind of protective of these characters. I want people to love them like I do. I love these people and it's entirely possible that no one will "get" the story I'm trying to tell. But I need to tell the story first. It's a never ending circle.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wasn't Going To Do It

Blog that is. Until I finished BBD Beneath the Sunlit Sky but the urge to blog just hit so here I am.

BTSS is thisclose to being finished. Maybe tomorrow, maybe not. Such is the randomness of my stitching life.

Dinner tonight is chicken and noodles, the middle son said he doesn't like it, won't eat it. Why I don't know, what's not to like about Chicken Noodle Soup? I'll make chicken pot pie for him tomorrow night. I cooked plenty of chicken today so tomorrow is covered. He's at work tonight anyway and will probably eat Waffle House on his way home.

Would have made the pot pie tonight but didn't have pie crusts(no I don't make them from scratch, Pillsbury is my friend) or cream of potato soup and not a potato in the house to make my own. I know I suck majorly at keeping a pantry, icebox stocked these days.

All because of Missy, Deep Inside Missy » Embroidering I shall go…, I'm obsessing over this:

314 Zelda's Fancy Hat Crabapple Hill Studio and can I be happy with just that? No. So now I want to make this for next Halloween: 313 Hocuspocusville Crabapple Hill Studio

Lots of new music, Lucinda Williams, Little Honey, I love Lucinda Williams music. I think she's an acquired taste but Car Wheels on a Gravel Road remains one of my all time favorite CDs. There's Time the Conqueror: Jackson Browne: Jackson never gets old to me. Sure this album is one full of his politics but that's why I love him. He has never sold-out his beliefs. If you have never listened to The Pretender or Late for the Sky, two great albums. They both break my heart and I have loved them since I was ten years old. I'm not sure what it says about my childhood but I went to sleep every night listening to The Pretender from the time I was ten. Sleeps Dark and Silent Gate, The Pretender being the last songs I heard as I fell asleep. I only stopped when I got married and the spousal unit was so not down with going to sleep with Jackson on the stereo every night. Another CD getting lots of play around here is:
Consolers Of The Lonely: The Raconteurs. I love this CD. I can't stop listening to it. And
Evil Urges: My Morning Jacket is another CD I'm enjoying but the spousal unit doesn't care for it. I will also admit here and now that Kid Rock's most recent CD, Rock and Roll Jesus is getting a fair amount of play time too. I can't help it. I like the CD. New Motley Crue is also in the rotation, what am I, 16? But sometimes you just got to rock out you know? And for fun, Def Leppard's The Vault is also in rotation. Armageddon It, OK?

I officially signed up for NaNoWriMo this year. I know the story I want to write for the challenge and haven't made the time to write it. I see my characters, I live with them everyday but just don't make the time to write it down. I get these glimpses into their lives every day, I may or may not make a note at the time. How many wonderful moments of their lives have I dreamed about and not bothered to write down, what if I don't get those moments back? These characters are begging me to tell their story. So November 2008 is their time. Taking advice from Annie Lamott I've given myself permission to write a crappy first draft, it's all about getting the story down in whatever form and leave the editing for later.

It was 38 degrees this morning, I'm happy to report that I pulled out my tan capris that I haven't put on my body since some time last winter, maybe early spring and they are loose. Not falling off but trust me last winter they were stretched tight across my big old stomach. Now they aren't. I do believe the daily walking is actually working. I don't notice it on the scale(the Wii Fit will only admit to me losing about 5 lbs) but I don't care about poundage, I care about the way the fat girl clothes are starting to loosen their grip on my waist, my hips and my butt.

Years ago I read Feeding the Hungry Heart: The Experience of Compulsive Eating: Gen by Geneen Roth. Food lost it's power over me. I've been portion controlling for almost three years. My only weakness is chips and salsa at the local Mexican restaurant. I do eat the occaisional sweet but it's not often and I don't live my life for chocolate. I like it, I enjoy it, and sometimes, hell yeah, I need a Lindt's Milk Chocolate Truffle, but no more than two, three tops and that is rare. I'm really proud that food no longer rules my life. Yes I spend a lot of time planning meals for the family and fretting over them but it's more because they are difficult, the family--they won't eat anything and they complain like you wouldn't believe, and the honest truth is, if not for them I don't know that I'd ever eat. That was a shocking realization for me. Food used to be my every thing. It was my dirty little secret. But the weight didn't come off. I cut tons of stuff out of my diet, I don't eat a lot of chips and intentionally buy ones that I don't care for so I'm not tempted, the only real sugar I get in my diet on a daily basis is the sugar in my coffee, but I'm not giving that up. I have to have something. I only drink coffee in the morning, unless I get a Starbucks or a Cafe Carmel at the Coffee Beanery but that is rare, like once a month.

So I had to cowboy up and accept the fact that I had to exercise. There was no way around it. I have to move. Remember Susan Powter, she preached the importance of getting your fat butt off the couch and moving(I still love the story when she's walking and notices that her thighs aren't rubbing together any more). So now that's what I'm doing. Every morning that I can, I get up and Polly Prissypants and I walk. Some mornings we make it two miles, other days just a mile but I'm moving. Some days I walk a second time with my friend Pam and her son John and other days I might walk a third time if Andrea, another friend, wants to walk at night. I rarely turn down an opportunity to walk(Pam, we will not mention Saturday night, there were other things to consider, LOL) but as a general rule if someone invites me walk, I walk even if I just got back. Polly and I walk between five and six a.m. Andrea stays on me about doing sprints and I don't like walking once the sun is up because do people driving along the highway really need to watch the fat girl and the little yellow dog run? It's not pretty. So we go before sunrise and walk, and sprint, and try not to throw up. Some days when I sprint I get all excited and run a little too much and I want to hurl. People aren't too happy when someone throws up on their lawn and people are even less thrilled when one throws up all over the brand spanking new sidewalks. So I try to stay out of the puke zone but I am trying to do some sprints. I am trying to keep the walking in perspective, it's meditation time for me, dream time. I take the whole visualization thing to a new level when walking. It's the only reason I can bring myself to do it every morning when I'd rather lay on the couch and drink coffee and watch AMC. Anyone catch the Frankenstein Marathon this weekend?

Every morning when I walk with Polly I work out my story, the one I want to write for NaNoWriMo, I tell parts of it, play out scenes of my characters. I'm walking, dreaming and writing, if only in my mind. It's why I can put my shoes on every day and walk. I don't take an iPod, it's just me and Polly, the quiet, the cars passing on the highway, other walkers/runners. It's dark and I'm making up a story.

I don't know why I feel the need to write this now, because even though I've been walking for months, I'm still fat, my stomach isn't looking any smaller in the mirror but I know something is happening because of my clothes and finally that is enough for me. I can live with small changes. I am doing this for me and for no other reason, not to fit in a certain pair of jeans, not for any other reason than it's the right thing for me right now. So I'm walking, I'm moving, and I'm wanting to do this and I don't beat myself up on days when I don't walk.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Vacation, Sorta, Kinda, Maybe

The Spousal Unit is on vacation this week. He's also comtemplating a major, change your life, job change. So with gas prices being crazy high we haven't really played tourist in our area. Today after reading an article in Garden & Gun magazine about the 100 Southern Foods One Should Eat Before Dying, the spousal unit and I opted to try the grouper at the Seagrove Village Market Cafe. He's worked out in this area a lot but never stopped in because he wasn't sure what it was, and since it's Seagrove you can count on it being expensive. Lunch cost us $29. I got the fried grouper basket with cole slaw($12.99), he got the fried grouper sandwich($10.99). We each got a tea. First of all, if you are ever in the Seagrove area, stop in. The food was great. We are picky about our grouper and this rates up there with the best. The BBQ Express where I used to work and which no longer exists, was our favorite but the Seagrove Village Market Cafe is pretty darn tasty. Worth the drive and Hartley the cat enjoyed a bit of my grouper. We also heard how he took out a squirrel the week before, apparently one group of diners thought that rocked, another didn't realize they were dining ala safari. The lady working there didn't know about the mention in Garden & Gun magazine and was confused when I mentioned the title of the magazine.

The Cozy Corner in Memphis is mentioned for their Cornish Hens. When I lived in Memphis and worked at UT I didn't know about the Cornish Hens, I always ordered the BBQ. Now I need to go back and try these. Great BBQ though.

The picture below is of the Seaside Post Office. If you have seen the movie, The Truman Show with Jim Carey, then you have already visited Seaside, FL. It's a pretty little town but too perfect in my opinion. I prefer Blue Mountian, Grayton and Seagrove. They are a little more lived in.
This is a picture of the water today in South Walton County. Forever the spousal unit has said our Gulf is their Gulf, but today he commented that the water really is prettier over in Destin.

He's a lonely bird, looking at the water, wondering which beachgoer might offer him up a potato chip, or a bit of a sandwich.

This is the beach from another angle. Condo chairs set up waiting to be occupied. I could have stayed here all day. We even saw a sea turtle.

Another picture of the water because can you really get too much of this?

There are a few more places on the Garden & Gun list I hope we can try this week while the spousal unit is off pondering his future. A few are in Alabama, one or two the other side of Panama City. Then again we may need to just hang around the house and take care of grown up business like painting, cleaning. laundry, nah, why would we do something like that when the picture above is a just a few minutes away?
Thanks for the props on Coffin Buzz! I loved stitching it and dyeing it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Naughty Blogger

I haven't blogged a lot recently as it's come to my attention that I do in fact have a life. That was a shock to me because I'm a pretty boring, stay at home, antisocial kind of girl. To discover that my days are full(or maybe since my laptop is the only computer in the house I'm forced to fight for it when I want to use it and sometimes it's really just not worth the battle), my computer time has been limited. I have done some knitting on my Alien Illusion scarf from Stitch N Bitch. I started this scarf probably four years ago. It was whenever the first Stitch N Bitch book was released. I've restarted it many times because I would mess up and not know how to unravel stitches so I just unraveled the whole thing and start over, this happened at least four times over the years, maybe more. But I don't mind, with each unravel I become a better knitter. I now know and completely understand how important it is to know what side you are knitting on, DUH, and to make sure that you know right side from wrong side. I'm kind of slow. Below is my progress from maybe a week ago, I've started a third Alien face and am at the halfway mark on him already. Click to enlarge the picture Yesterday was my birthday. My friend Pam, gifted me with the Pistoulet coffee server. It matches my dishes and my addiction to coffee, and my love for all things that take up kitchen counter space. The top is for storing coffee, underneath there is a spot to store your coffee filters, the left side has a place for your spoon and the right side has slots for sugar packets and coffee creamer packets. To say I love it is an understatement.

To keep this in the theme of coffee, that wonderful elixir of the gods, here is my finished Coffin Buzz. The complimentary chart can be found here:
Paulette, thank you for such a great design!
I will preface this by saying my photography as usual sucks but I hope you get the idea of what I did to reach the framed finish.

I stitched the design on 28ct antique white monaco which I purchased on clearance at A.C. Moore for $1. The floss is DMC 3371. Which I got for maybe 35 cents at A.C. Moore or 29 cents at JoAnn. I wanted to dye my fabric after stitching because I am not an experienced fabric dyer. I am not, disciplined and would probably ended up with antiqued hands before I finished stitching my project. So once the stitching was done I wanted a blotchy, leaky attic look to the fabric. I wanted to try something other than just coffee dyeing so I started out blotching up the fabric in places with some RIT Golden Yellow dye. I want to stress that I have no idea what the effect of RIT dye will do to fabric over the next 50 or 100 years. I don't care. I'm not a conservationist. I'm someone who can't always afford to purchase hand-dyed linen but loves the affect so I, in some cases, decide to do it myself. If I'm able to enjoy the finished project for any length of time then it's served it's purpose for me anyway, any time after that that my needlework survives and others can enjoy it well that's gravy. When the youngest son saw the fabric as it appears in the picture below he commented that it looked like the cats peed on it. Obviously my cats need more water in their diet:

The top part of the fabric is a bit darker than the bottom because it sat draped over the bowl for 20 minutes or so while the bottom bit got a dunking in the dye. I let it dry in the sun. Then it took a bath in some two day old coffee with a few tablespoons of vinegar. Does anyone remember the Wife Swap episode where the Manhatten wife went to the home of the family in Mississippi(I think) and was grossed out that the morning coffee was still sitting around in the pot that afternoon? Uh it is not unusual for coffee to sit in my pot for a day or two. Especially if I'm wanting to use it for something and keep thinking I'll get to it that afternoon. So yes, this coffee sat in my pot for two days because I hated to pour it out and also I'm trying to cut back a bit on my coffee drinking and wasn't sure if I'd make a pot the next day and no way am I going to make coffee just for the purpose of dyeing some fabric. So call me gross. I can deal.

Then I once again let it dry in the sun. After that I put on some gloves, the vinyl food service kind that you can pick up at the Dollar Tree for $1. I poured some RIT Tan dye on my finger tips and started blotching up the fabric. I wasn't thrilled with the progress so I poured some in my palm and flung it at the fabric. Flinging dye onto fabric is a very technical and precise process, NOT! When I was finished this is what I had:

I let it dry for a bit in the sun. Then decided to "set" the dye job by tossing it in my dryer with an old kitchen towel. Over all I was pretty happy with the result.
Below you can see it framed. I found the frame at the Store Who Shall Not Be Named for $5.

Here's a detail of the frame:

Yes, I mounted it on sticky board, yes I used RIT Dye, No I did not follow any kind of conservationist tips for preserving needlework for future generations. I did this because it was fun, because when it comes right down to it I am a ghetto cross stitcher. I still use the evil aida at times and don't mind it one little bit.
As needleworkers we all try to use the best quality supplies we can but also as cross stitchers it's so easy to get stuck in the idea that we have to use this linen or that thread and we don't venture outside our comfort zones. Sometimes I wonder if this is why cross stitchers get absolutely no respect in the crafting world except from other cross stitchers. Knitters, crocheters, quilters, they all use patterns just like we do, but for some reason our little Xs don't seem to get the respect that a knit and a purl stitch have acquired and that breaks my heart.
The needlework that is created from the little X is profound and we cross stitchers need show the world that we rock the needle as well as any other crafters that take their needle of choice in hand. We are their equal. Let's step up, put the funk in those Piecemaker 26 needles and show the crafty world what we are made of!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

October Update

In September I finished Plum Street Sampler's Coffin Buzz freebie and I'll take a picture when I find my camera. I also still have to dye my fabric. I stitched it on 28 ct antique white monaco with DMC 3371 with the intention of dyeing it when the stitching was completed. Backwards I know, but I like playing around with the fabric after the stitching.

I also finished the second alien face on my Alien Illusion scarf from Stitch n Bitch. Only four more faces to go.

I really don't know what my October stitching plan is. Lots of things are calling out to me and the way things are going in the world, hunkering down with some crafty goodness is the best way to shut out all the negativity.

Pictures to come as soon as I find my camera. If you don't want to read the political rant, skip to the bottom and read the question at the end of the post.

Political Update:

The Senate, in their infinite wisdom(insert sarcarstic tone here)passed the bail-out, oh excuse me, the "rescue" bill last night. Oh did anyone notice that they added $150 billion of crap to this bill to encourage Senators to vote for this bill? I would try to read through the bill and give you all a heads up but while the House bill was 110 pages, the Senate version is something like 400 pages. Talk about a "crap sandwich". They don't even know that this bill will work. They won't listen to economists, they are following the advice of a treasury secretary who wants absolute power, a president who won't be in power in four months, and to quote Lou Dobbs, "What are they? A bunch of drunks?" in reference to the Senators who voted in this joke of a bill.

One bit of sweetner added to this bill is that insurance companies must cover mental illness like any other illness. I realize this is important but what the H-E-double hockey sticks with lipstick does this have to do with the current economic crisis? Before all is said and done we all are probably going to appreciate that extra coverage, where is my prozac?

*OK I should have waited to catch the early morning news, here are some things added to this bill and I hope I have these correct:

Tax breaks for people who make kids wooden arrows, hmmm, very important to our economy doncha think--this must have been an absolute necessity.

Tax breaks for the makers of rum in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Let's hope prices go down because before this is all over we'll need a few gallons to ease the pain.

Tax breaks for wool research. The spousal unit pointed out that's one that maybe I could get behind. Ok maybe I won't complain too loudly. This could be important for everyone's fiber future.

and one for the NASCAR vote:

Tax breaks for auto racing tracks or something like that.

Ok what does any of this have to do with what Warren Buffet refers to as an economic Pearl Harbor? Why in the world can't the collapse of our world as we know it be enough for these sell their souls to the highest bidder politicians?

Energy tax breaks are included which like the mental health issue is very important but not for this bill. This is an emergency bill, a bill to help ease a country wide financial crisis. Let's get real, keep it within the confines of the crisis at hand and really truly be bipartisan and make a decision for love of country not who donates the most money to your compaign.

If these people in power want to know why people are angry, why they are against this bill, they need only to read through the 400 pages of this bunch of bull and see why we have no faith, not one ounce of trust in the powers that be. Oh please I understand you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours, that's how things are done to the tune of $850 billion dollars. But hey they'll just borrow it from China and it's all good. I mean we're just talking about Monopoly money aren't we, it's not like it's real money. I mean the American taxpayer is bottomless well of money.

Please people, get angry, not that phone calls and emails work, these people believe they know more than we do, that we, the rank and file citizen can't wrap our brains around the importance of the free flow of cash to businesses, YES WE DO. We support that, we don't support is a bunch a nonsense that should be saved for other legislation. Once again, nothing is about the crisis at hand, it's all about taking a crisis and twisting it to someone else's wants.

I can only hope the Congress is so PO'd that the Senate went on and voted that they will vote down this new version of the bill and spend time rewriting it, focus on the real issues of this economic crisis. Why can't they see that this is something that takes some time, that deserves some serious comtemplation? Oh wait, I'm sorry they all want to get home and campaign. Because we all know that campaigning is the most important thing, let's forget all about our day jobs and just rush through some substandard legislation that absolutely no one wants, (and aren't our Senators and Congressmen supposed to be our voice in Washington), sorry--legislation no one wants but a lame duck president and a treasury secretary that wants nothing less than absolute power. Oh yeah, I'm comforted.

BTW, if the government were to give you the money instead of Wall Street or the banks that are foreclosing on all these homes and threatening to cut off people's credit lines, what would you do with it? We'll go with the $90,000 figure that has been tossed around as a number that this bail-out will cost each American or I've also read that it will eventually cost each American household $450,000 so where would you start? What would you buy to stimulate the economy? Post your list in comments or better yet your blog, let us know in comments and let's have some fun.

**and for a little Armageddon fun, if the world as you know it would end tomorrow what five luxury items would you stock pile? Yes I know it's not really funny, probably too close to true, but I'm interested to see what things people find important in their lives that if it wasn't readily available, would bring a little joy in dark times. I'm not talking necessities, we can all agree that food is important, we're talking luxury items, like in my house coffee would be a luxury item because I'm the only one that drinks it. You know those things you just whip out the credit card to purchase or of course the super secret stash cash, without thinking twice about it. So think about what you would miss if you didn't have that credit card handy or couldn't just run out to the store to pick up _________________.

How long could you survive on your stash without purchasing anything new? I could stitch forever because I have some kitted up Teresa Wentzlers and Heaven and Earth Designs. The TWs alone would keep me busy for a few years

I'll post both my lists tomorrow. Oh I can do me some stimulating......and some stockpiling.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

One American

I don't usually get political here because I'm not about controversy but the last few days of news has made me write this. Maybe Speaker Pelosi will read it, yeah, right, probably hasn't read my emails either. Maybe some of the Republican leadership(Boehner, Hoyer, etc.) will see this and say to themselves, "Oh I get it". Maybe President Bush will come across it when he's Googling something else. I believe my blog has come up when the word "cowboy" is googled, can't remember why but maybe by some freak accident they'll read this.

First Speaker Pelosi- you can't make an announcement to the American people that you will pass a bill but you need Republican cover. Have some courage, stand up for what you believe is right for Americans, not for your politics. Republicans don't believe in this kind of government. You do not instill confidence that this is the best thing for the American people or economical interests around the world if you are so concerned about "not taking the hit". You have to man up. You have to say, this is what's right and we Democrats will take whatever hits necessary because this is the only way. If you aren't willing to say that, then you need to work out a better plan, regardless of how long it takes.

Dear Republicans, I believe it was Congressman Boehner who said "this bill is a crap sandwich" how do you think this instills any confidence in your party or constituents? This bill is either the right thing or the wrong thing. If you don't believe in it, hold your ground, don't suck it up and vote for it or if you do believe it's a necessary evil then do what you have to do but please, don't call it a "crap sandwich" and expect everyone to just roll over and take it.

You see, I knew the sub-prime loan to purchase a home was a crap sandwich. I am the most financially irresponsible person on the earth and I walked away. But now because of this bill I'm wondering why I didn't go on and take a bite of the crap sandwich because I'd be able to more than likely keep the house I couldn't afford in the first place but decisions were made that we were not going to bite because we(the spousal unit and myself) know exactly who we are and had we taken that loan to have the American dream or better yet my dream of my own little piece of Florida we would be up to our ears in crap sandwiches right now.

So Congressman Boehner if a bill is a crap sandwich then you guys should be working 24 hours a day to make it into a bologna sandwich(which most people would still say is a crap sandwich but it's better than real crap) or better yet make it a ham sandwich. Give us, the American people, a reason to trust your judgement.

Speaker Pelosi, make a stand, do what you believe is right, screw the politics, make me a believer, show me why I--the swing voter(I'm a registered libertarian, which broke my grandmother's deeply rooted Southern Democratic heart), show me that you stand behind what you believe in, even if you don't think it's the best way but it's the way we need to go right now. Give me confidence in the process, that it's not all about who has a bigger one but what is right.

I want someone to make a decision because it's right for once, not because it's politically expedient.

The American people aren't so much upset about $700 billion dollars because really those are just numbers on paper, who really knows what's passed back and forth between departments and countries. It's that this bill has gotten so out of hand, bankruptcy protection, student loans, credit cards and car loans. WTF? I understand mortgages and home equity loans and believe me I was wondering about what might happen down the road when Ditech and Lending Tree were running commercials every 15 mins. I was raised that when you own a home you don't touch the equity for a cruise or bill consolidation it's your home, it's the most important thing you own, or are trying to own, why risk it to have the cash now? I don't understand. People are responsible for making those bad decisions and people like me, who made a responsible financial decision, one of the only ones in a life time of huge mistakes where money is concerned, but I have to pay for it? Doesn't anyone see anything wrong with that? I think that's where the anger comes from.

My kids will pay for their college a class at a time if necessary. Our cars are older, a 93 and 2001, why do I get stuck paying for someone else's new car? Why am I stuck securing someone else's bad credit card debt? I don't understand. No financial institution has ever had a problem turning me down for a loan. How did we, as a country, come to this place? What did all those people in expensive houses, driving Escalades know that I didn't? And why at this moment am I not one of them because I could be lucky enough to be living in a $250,000 government housing project, I could be driving a $50,000 state owned vehicle, because that's what it's going to be when the government buys up all this bad debt. At least that's the way I see it, someone who doesn't understand the stockmarket or economics.

I do understand businesses and their credit lines and making payroll and keeping jobs, I get it, but the leadership of this country has got to be better about selling it because Americans are royally PO'd on both sides of the aisle.

And honestly I do want to know why John McCain and Barack Obama aren't in Washington doing their day jobs. This is what it's all about, it's about long hours at the table, it's not fun, it's ugly business, it's not something to phone in. It's not as much fun as sleeping in hotels, riding around on a bus and making cute speeches. This is the job they are hired to do right now, this moment, but they have kind of left everything in the hands of their "teams" while they are vying for the promotion when the promotion should go to someone doing the real work of the country right now.

And finally one of the financial guys on CNN, Ali something, said yesterday that if you are against this bill you are not a student of economics and you need to just let the Congress do what they have to do and figure it out later. Well Mr. Ali, that's the problem, Congress, the leadership, they aren't telling us anything. All our futures are on the line and the best we can get out of anyone is "this bill needs to be passed", "we aren't doing this without Republican cover, we won't take the hit", and the ever popular, "this bill is a crap sandwich". Why should care, why shouldn't everything just crash and burn because the fact is, we, the average citizen is paying higher grocery bills, every day the prices go up a little more. Gas prices while stablizing are still high for people living payday to payday. Our kids still need clothes. Tell me Mr Ali, will anyone on Wall Street be selling their yacht because of this deal, will they be forced to pull their child out of private school, and enrolling them into the government run school system, will they be worrying about downsizing their mansion? Because right now the average citizen is worried about their paycheck on Friday, the grocery bill on Saturday and paying the phone bill, the water bill, the power bill come Monday.

So no we are not students of economics, we are students of life, and life right now, no matter how you flip it is ugly and this bill well it doesn't comfort us and if people would take a minute and do a little explaining, maybe we cross over to the way everyone else is thinking but right now a "crap sandwich" just doesn't do it for us.

So in conclusion I probably haven't made a lick of sense but if this inspires someone somewhere to actually explain this "crap sandwich" and the absolute need for it(European markets were up today as is the American stock market so...why the urgency to settle for something less than the best possible solution?) sell it to me, don't just tell me "because". I'm not five.

I tried to keep this as bipartisan as possible. I have no clue who I'm going to vote for come election day. I am frustrated and just want to understand. Yes this is probably rambling but I just couldn't bring myself to gather my thoughts in any other way. This is how they came out of my brain, Maureen Dowd, Thomas Friedman I'm not.

Friday, September 26, 2008

My Radio's Pickin' Up FM-100...

.....I hear Memphis calling me home. This summer I went home for my dad's memorial service and realized I haven't blogged about it. Still have some unresolved issues I guess, but today I was going through some pictures on the computer and thought I'd share:

I love this bridge. There are probably more beautiful bridges in this world but the Memphis/Arkansas bridge is home.

This is a view of the Mud Island Amphitheater. I spent a lot of time here going to concerts and basically hanging out. There was the Riverboat Museum, Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain, not in person, but still great, the monorail was in The Firm with Tom Cruise as was the Museum. The Amphitheater is the best place to see a concert. I've seen Jackson Browne there two times. It was like he was singing in my living room. Just a great place to see a show.

Here's the riverboat basin, they do sunset dinners and cruises.
Here's my nephew with a statue of Elvis.

Gift shop at the Peabody. We also saw the man from the show Little People, Big World but I didn't know if I could legally post the picture I took since I was kind of the paparazzi, meaning I didn't ask permission, just snapped the pic.

The view from the roof of the Peabody. Lots of Happy Hours spent here back in the day.

The infamous Peabody ducks. I had camera issues.

My niece and nephew playing piano in the ballroom. I suspect we probably shouldn't have been there. But hey whatever we do what we want.

As further proof, my nephew on one the dog statues in the lobby.

My brother's dog Sophie. I love her and want her to come live with us.

When I went home I stayed in my niece's bedroom which used to be my bedroom(my brother bought my mother's house). Here's some early morning knitting. It's supposed to eventually be a laptop bag from Alterknits.

This is a view from the bedroom similar to what it was when it was my bedroom only there should be horses in the pasture and a barbed wire fence covered in honeysuckle.

This is my niece's exact view. I hate progress and development except for things like iPods, laptops, and Kindles.

This is the road I walked down every morning to catch the bus for school. It hasn't changed much.
I spent most of my life plotting my escape from this place. I wanted to move to LA or Florida or even Nashville, if I couldn't be a screenwriter, or live on the beach and write Harlequin romances, I could write country songs. 20+ years later I'm in Florida. I love it here, but I often wonder if it will ever be home, or will I always be that Tennessee girl? Seeing my family everyday, walking across the road to see my Aunt and Uncle in the mornings, eat cookies for breakfast, read the paper outside, see faces of neighbors I've known all my life, catch up on the lives of girls who are now women, who also moved away, who manage to wander back home a little more often than myself.
I hate going home because I'm reminded of what I miss the most. The family connection, the history. Being with people who know your history, people that when you see them the conversation just picks up where you left off five years ago, there's no awkwardness, it's just HOME.