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.