Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! I hope everyone has a happy and fun sweet-filled day!
My thoughts are scattered today. I've been feeling like this a lot lately and it's not helped by being in the midst of my monthly pity party. I'm feeling quite sad and unappreciated. After housesitting for my parents for five months, all my dad could do is give me a hard time that I hadn't paid all the bills before they arrived. Seeing as I arrived from New York 27 hours before they did, I thought they could handle paying the two bills themselves seeing as they weren't even due for another 2 weeks. Five months of wasting gas, adding miles to my aging car, paying bills, watering the plants, making sure the house is ok, constant calls...and I don't even get a thank you. No consideration for the fact that I work and did this for them despite having my own problems and trying to mend and heal a broken heart. Or that I bought them groceries and stocked their fridge before I even stocked my own. I do not have the typical happy family relationship most people *seem* to have with theirs. Despite everything I do, it's never enough and I am always the "bad daughter" even though I am the only child that does anything to help. As my parents age and need more help, I don't want to be the one that does everything anymore. I don't want to make the tough decisions that will soon be necessary. Even if I were to make the decisions, I have parents that don't listen to a thing I say because I'm the "baby" and apparently stupid. They are both deaf as doorknobs and refuse to get hearing aids and I am so tired of yelling and repeating myself that I don't even talk to them if I don't have to. They don't understand that we would all be happier if they were to get the aids because we could all hear each other but they are too frugal. How much they miss out on life because they can't hear anything. How frustrated I get because when I do tell them a story, it gets terribly mangled because they only listen a little and then make up the rest on their own. I am so frustrated! I want to be able to live my life and experience all the things my older siblings have been able to because they've been free of the burden by moving away. Sometimes I feel that my parents decided to have another child so late in life so they would have someone to take care of them. It's been my role since I was a teenager. A stunted fun extracurricular activities like sports, hobbies, dating, boys, etc. I don't have much support from my brother who I feud with like you wouldn't imagine and acts like he is a 55 year old child who is king of the household and that everyone should be waiting on him and a sister that would help if she didn't live 1500 miles away. For years, I've thought of moving just to have a little more freedom despite my heart belonging to San Francisco. It's sad when you think about moving away to escape your family so that you can live with the freedom you believe you deserve. To be able to travel and have fun without constantly being questioned and being served a healthy portion of Catholic guilt for every little thing. *sigh*

Ok I had to get the sad, depressing part out of the way. Now for the fun part. It's heartwarming to know that when those in my real-life world have forgotten or disappointed me in some manner, my blogging family is out there thinking of me and sending me little rays of sunshine. I got some sweet packages recently. Meari read about my excursion to the Snoopy Museum and she sent me a Happy Birthday Peanuts book. It was fun to flip through! Thanks Meari.
And then Natasha sent me this fun overdyed skein of Happy Birthday floss by Ozark Sampler. How great is that...a color specifically called Happy Birthday! Thanks Natasha! I will have to find a spring project to use this for and it just screams spring to me. I love it when birthdays last all month long! haha

Despite stashing like mad at the Shepherd's Retreat, I couldn't let my birthday discount at Needlecraft Corner go to waste. Because you know...SALE is about as good a four letter word as CAKE. Here's my haul...
First 8 charts of the BBD Anniversaries of the Heart Series
And I also got The Drawn Thread's Almost Halloween, Kelmcott's Miniature Monogram Hornbook Margin Marker, Kelmcott Lace Scissors and a slew of CC, GAST, WDW threads. Most of the threads I purchased are for the BBD Anniversaries of the Heart Series and BBD Mystery Sampler with a couple of others tossed in for good measure.

I am hoping to start Anniversaries of the Heart in January and do one block per month. I just need to purchase fabric. I contacted R&R for 40 count Olde Towne Blend but they are out of it and the base fabric. If anyone knows a LNS that stocks 40 count R&R, can you let me know? Otherwise, I will have to decide between Lakeside Linens Meadow Rue or Exampler. I wonder if a trip to NiaH is on the horizon to help me decide...

After days of not stitching due to travel and housesitting running around, I got some good stitching time in. It helped that the weather was rainy and gloomy and there were baseball games to watch on tv at home. OMG, it felt wonderful! And due to my efforts, I finished the Traveling Stitcher!!
I'm stitching this as a SAL with Carol R. I wonder how far along she is now. She may be done too. I'm not totally finished though since I still need to finish the little "Needles" piece which should be fast going. I think I will try to start that tonight. I am tempted to start looking through my Christmas ornie patterns as I signed up for an exchange and may do another if my local stitching group will in fact have a Christmas get together. There are tons of ornies that I want to stitch. It's just the finishing part that trips me up.

One more anyone doing NaBloPoMo? I'm debating...but I don't think I have it in me this year.

Well, I best be going. I'm supposed to be dress shopping. The baseball game starts in 4 hours so I should run errands and shop and then it's time for baseball and another round of "stitch-ass".

Happy Halloween safe!

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Let's Play Ball!

World Series...

SF Giants vs Texas Rangers

Uh oh...looks like I'll be at odds with my sister and my blogging buddies.

Let's play nice, ok?! Ok...

I was pointed to this article in the Dallas Morning News and it set my ire.

Apparently, San Franciscans are too gay, too girly, too liberal, too democratic to play baseball. Uh, really? Oh and let's not mention being demonic because our colors are orange, white and black instead of red, white and blue.

So, San Francisco doesn't deserve to play baseball because of all those things. But if Mr. Steve Blow was sitting in AT&T Park, he would be witness to American Pride for our city's baseball team. Or if he happened to visit any bar or tv viewing restaurant, he would see patrons stop in the middle of the meals to cheer. We are a baseball town who has actually played in the World Series before! We've been here...we're good at it!

I think it's sad that this journalist wrote this article. He just exemplifies all those stereotypes that exist about Texas. San Francisco is a town that has changed over the years but what it has always been is accepting of people who run away from the life they had before. From people who didn't accept them...for whatever reason. It embraces them and we are a mishmosh of ethnic groups, cultural diversity, interests and such. And there are now more transplants (people originally from other states/countries) than there are true San Franciscans. But I haven't seen any SF-based journalists write a bashing article about Texas or saying that the Rangers shouldn't be playing in this game.

Shame on you Mr. Blow. With a name like that, you're lucky that you aren't in SF. Because you know, the gays might get confused and think it's a request. I was kidding with that comment but I'm sure he may think it's a reality.

What happened to the simple basics of baseball? They play, we root for our teams and whoever wins played the best, we shake hands and get on with our day. Isn't that what we try to teach the children of today? It's not about who wins, it's about who plays the best and plays with integrity.

So let's root, bite our nails, have fun...and whoever ends up winning this thing...played the best.

Go Giants!!

I'm back from NY and I'm exhausted from walking about 50 blocks a day. Exhausted!! I'm caught up in baseball fever and getting things ready for my folks who are finally coming back home after 5 months away. I'm not sure if it's more work with them gone or here. Time will tell.

I'll talk more about NY later. I'm so tired and have been busy catching up on blogs and paperwork and bills and omg, why does everyone have to have their birthday at the same time gift-shopping stress.

I will warn you that I don't have pictures to share of NY. I know! Can you believe it!? I was on the plane talking to this nice NYer about how it's my first trip and at that moment, I realized I forgot my camera at home. Don't you hate that? All night I felt like I was forgetting something and I couldn't figure it out. And of course, I remember...on the plane. I was so upset! But I had a wonderful time despite it. So good a time that I want to go back sooner than later. Must start planning!!

Until next time...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Beyond the Speed of Light

Time's still flying! The week and weekend has been a blur and I sit here typing trying to remember what I've even done. Let's see if my pictures remind me...

Ah ok...I'm starting to remember.

Mid-week, I received a package in the mail from Hazel. As luck would have it, I won her giveaway on my birthday! Talk about a wonderful surprise!
In the package, there were three English chocolate bars and a pretty wrapped bundle of three crocheted washclothes and a yummy smelling bar of soap. I can't wait to use them! Since I'm been running around like a chicken with her head cut off, I had to wait until Saturday to take a decent daylight photo. Do you know how hard it was to NOT eat one of those candy bars before then?! Oh so torturous! But I was good and I think I will be treating myself to the Crunchie tonight. Thank you so much Hazel! I love the washclothes, soap and treats.

Perhaps you can tell by the photo above that the giveaway items are sitting in a basket. There have been a lot of people moving out of my building. I have no idea's a wonderful place to live. When people move out, they place things on the free table...sometimes, it's the free foyer depending on the amount of, I mean, stuff they leave behind. Late one evening, I came in and saw baskets stacked and saw this.
It was at the very bottom of the basket pile and I think I gasped. Longaberger? No...can't be. On the free table?!
Yep! Longaberger! I about ran up to my unit before someone came back changing their minds! It needs a little detailing but is in superb condition. I can envision a lot of seasonal pillows and ornies displayed in it, can't you?! I had better get my butt in gear and stitching some Spring/Easter, Halloween/Fall and Christmas/Winter. Um, I think this might be a multi-year project.

On Saturday, I missed out on going to the annual Pumpkin Festival. Woke up too late and if you leave after 8am, it's not worth sitting in traffic to get there as it's a one lane highway to get to the festival. So I found the pumpkin spirit and rang the day in with homemade pumpkin bread! Mmmm....I love pumpkin anything!
I only have about two slices left as I handed slices out to anyone I came across. As much as I love baking, it's dangerous for me to leave the treats in the house for long. Next thing I know, my pants don't fit! So a couple of slices for me and the rest is for sharing.

Claire and Andre also had their birthday on Saturday and I stopped by to drop off their presents. Amongst them was this.
Andre's Birth year later. Whew! At least it was done. I had a love/hate relationship with Newton and couldn't bear to even work on it so I had to come up with a fast substitute. Lizzie*Kate's Bless the Baby fit the bill. Of course, I sent it to Jill Rensel so she could fancy it up a little with her tremendous artistic ability and both Claire and I were very happy. Andre's 1...he was most happiest playing with the crumpled up wrapping paper! After the gift opening, we met up with Ann Marie for a lovely dinner at Wayfare Tavern. It involved interesting people watching, a couple of yummy chicken dishes (fried chicken was stellar) and breakfast for dinner as well as scrumptious carrot cake that made me feel like I finally had birthday cake worth writing about. It was a nice night out. Thanks AM!

Throughout the week, whatever minutes I had for stitching, I devoted to the Traveling Stitcher SAL with CarolR. I didn't want her to think I was a slacker! My progress has been slow though. But I've got my pink house, a fence, flower, tree and little stitcher girl done.
I'm going to work on the grass some tonight while watching the Giants beat (hope!) the Phillies.

This may be my last post for a bit. I am tying up loose ends before my trip to the Big Apple! I don't think I will have very much time to stitch seeing as I will be playing the part of tourist and I want to see everything! When I return, so do my parents and my housesitting duties finally come to an end but there will be some work involved getting them back up to speed and settled. I'll miss reading blogs, blogging and connecting with everyone but I'll try to catch up fast!

Hope you all enjoyed the weekend!

Until next time...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Where'd the Weekend Go?!

Weekend...come back...I don't want to go to work tomorrow. Ugh!

Seriously, was time suddenly placed in ultra fast forward? Or like the records that you put on the wrong speed and it sounded like the Chipmunks. Yea, time is feeling like that. Doesn't time know that the workweek needs to be fast and the weekend s-l-o-w?! I think time needs a pep talk and some setting straight...don't you think?

I've got the fever...Giants fever! They are finally in the playoffs and so I've been sitting in my recliner perch watching a lot of baseball. More than I normally would. They about gave me a heart attack on Friday night with their loss! Shame on all cocky with their early advance and then the Braves showed them. Did you hear screaming Friday night? Yea, that was me berating the tv. Nooooo!!! There was less screaming today because they won! I hope they win tomorrow too. :::fingers crossed:::

The weekend was a blur of errands and mail and shopping and gift wrapping and other pretty boring stuff that kept me from stitching. I tried but I was either trying to do something else or amazingly distracted. I do have a few things to show though...

First up is my TUSAL. I always seem to remember it's the New Moon on the actual day but then it takes me 2-3 days to get my act together enough to take a photo.
Here is my jar next to one of the cards I received. I end up leaving my cards up or taped to my living room door for the entire month. They are nice to look at...

I did get some stitching accomplished on my Where My Heart Blooms but not that much. I have most of the roof done on the yet to be built house. I have the feeling this house is going to take me a while. I decided to leave the over 1 til the end so it doesn't derail me from stitching. I will figure out the full cross over tent stitch then...for now...I'll have fun with the areas that won't cause me to stress and panic.
I also started my SAL on the Traveling Stitcher but I haven't really stitched enough for a picture. I'm hoping to be a bit more productive on it this week. Hope, hope.

I got some surprises in the mail. I made a couple of penpals through the blog that I email with semi-regularly. On Friday, after chasing down UPS to get my packages (yes, for reals!), I found a package from Kevin (no blog). He gifted me with Sleeping Beauty from my wishlist! Complete with threads, fabric and beads!
I wonder if I can get to her next year during my Year of Mira. Thanks so much Kevin!

I also received a package from Belen (no blog). Funny thing about Belen is that she is from Spain but lives in France and found my English blog. I write to her in Spanish to try to use it and not lose it. I'm sure I make a ton of mistakes since writing in Spanish was never my forte but she seems to understand what I am saying and I learn new ways to phrase things. Sometimes...there is a lot of "how to you say ____ in spanish?" in my emails. I've gotten very rusty but I enjoy practicing with her. It's amazing how the internet brings people together.
Belen made me a necklace and send me a pattern for an embroidered V. Gracias encanta!

*sigh* Time to head off to bed to be ready for Monday. Hope everyone had a nice weekend.

Until next time...

Monday, October 04, 2010

Birthday Recap and WMHB

Wow, thanks so much for all the birthday greetings! I'm officially mid-30's. How in the world did that happen?!

Friday morning began as a grey, cool day in my neck of the woods. The kind of day where you kind of need a kick in the tush to get moving or you'll stay home in your jammies all day if you're able to. My sister called me to wish me a happy birthday and then asks me why I'm still home because you know, I should be on the road by now. So I got ready and began my journey to Santa Rosa to go to the Charles Schultz Museum. I've been wanting to go here for years but when your a grown adult and you tell people you want to go to the Snoopy Museum, you get a lot of odd looks. So I did what I wanted to do on my myself. Because in the end, no one's going to plan it for you. Charlie Brown welcomed me once I got there!
And more of the gang
And don't you feel like this a lot of the time? I know I do!
Gorgeous mural at the end of the hallway
And when you get closer to it, you realize that the mural is made out of a lot of these
This plaque goes on to explain that the tile mural is made up of 10 years worth of daily Peanuts comic strips!
And if you got tired and hugry during the museum visit, Snoopy was willing to share a cookie with you.
The museum visit was great! They change out the exhibits so it's not always the same. It was fun to walk around and learn how Schultz changed things around whether it be characters or formatting throughout his career. Every once in a while, you'd hear someone laughing at whatever comic strip they were reading. It was a nice change of pace.

After the museum, it was time to head to Sonoma. I wanted to treat myself to a late lunch at The Girl and The Fig. Just the name of the restaurant is charming and then there's the fact that it's been well-reviewed for years! The few people I asked who actually have been there had two words to confit! I arrived about 3pm and it was quiet...perfect. I hate being a solo diner in a crowded restaurant. I feel like all eyes are on me. I got a quiet corner table seated next to a four-top of southern tourists. I couldn't figure out where they were from. Atlanta, Alabama, Tennessee? Either way, they had the accent to prove they were from the South as well as the lingo. It was entertaining to be seated next to them...I tend to eavesdrop when eating makes things more interesting.
I didn't take any pictures of the food because I'm not going to pretend to be a food blogger. Plus, I was sitting near the Southerners. I didn't want them to think I was some crazy California girl taking pictures of food like it was going to be the last meal ever eaten! I started with the roasted fig and arugala salad with toated pecans, pancetta and chevre. Technically, I'm not really supposed to eat cheese but it's my birthday and I made an exception. The salad was ridiculously awesome. Peppery + sweetness of the fig + creaminess of the cheese + salt/fat of the pancetta and crunch from the pecans. Such awesomeness...yum! Then I had the small portion of the duck confit and I now know why everyone else was drooling while reminiscing about duck confit. Fall off the bone, tender, cooked in it's own fat. It was heaven. I finished off with a pear tart which was good but too crumbly for my taste. The wine pairing for the duck was steller but the fig cocktail fell slightly flat. I just don't like that much ice in my drinks. Overall, it was once of the best meals I've ever eaten and it's a good thing The Girl and The Fig is two hours from home. Otherwise, my waistline and pocketbook would be in a whole lot of trouble! After lunch, I took a walk around the shopping square before making the journey back home. I treated myself to a nice birthday outing. I would totally recommend The Girl and The Fig if your doing an outing to wine country!

Despite that, I'm struggling with hormones around a birthday. Never a good thing. Besides getting older, I'm reminded of the fact that because I am always the planner...I also have to be the planner for outings revolving around my birthday. A time when I think I should be exempt. I complain about always doing the planning every year and each year, I'm forced to do it again. I get a lot of responses to my complaints...I'm so good at it...I know where everything is...I'm the google queen. I love my friends...I just wish they'd surprise me. Of all the invitations, only one person didn't make me pick...Mr. Octopus. If feels like it would be easier to just stay home...and then there's the feeling of I wouldn't get treated for my birthday unless I planned it. I suppose I should be happy because at least this one forgot. I feel much better celebrating others' birthdays over my own.

But enough of that...the day after my birthday, I had a great dinner with Claire. We tried a new to us restaurant in the Mission called Garcon. Awesome little french bistro with the cutest (kinda hot) french waiter ever. We started off with the tuna nicoise which was sooo delicious and I had the steak and frites. We were stuffed so we took a walk in the neighborhood. Something I haven't done in a long, long time. I miss that. Taking walks at night with no real purpose other than to talk and see what was going on in a neighborhood. A lot has changed in the Mission...more places to add to my "to try" list. Garcon is on the new *love * list. Not as good as Nopa...but close.

Two wonderful meals in two days. Time to hit the gym to keep those calories off my thighs! If only I could find the motivation...ugh.

And the stitching update for the week. I have really been enjoying stitching on Where My Heart Blooms. I'm finding the autumnal colors really soothing. I think I've completed the upper half now but it's the lower half that has the most stitching!
I'm doing a lot of firsts with this project. It's the first time I've stitched in hand. I kind of like it. And the first time there's more than a couple of smyrnas or eyelets. I like both! Now I know the trick for nice eyelets and I really like the effect. They are time consuming but I think it's well worth it!
I'm on the over 1 portion. I'm not liking it as much. Over 1 on 40 count is hard! do you do it?! I'm wondering if I should be doing tent stitch/half cross stitch because full crosses seem kind of bulky. I'm not sure I like the H I've stitched. What are your thoughts on over 1 on 40 count?

And Vonna did some quick finishing for me! This is my contribution to the Attic Auction.
Didn't she do a great job?! It came out superbly...I'm tempted to keep it for myself but I did agree to send an ornie to the auction and this is the only ornie I've managed to stitch all year!

Carol and I postponed our SAL a few days so I should try to sit down a bit tonight to start the Traveling Stitcher. I'm hoping to have an hour to devote to it. I probably won't get far but at least I'll have started.

Until next time...

Friday, October 01, 2010

They Say It's My Birthday!

I'm off to spend my day with Snoopy and the Gang, take a drive though wine country and see if I can plead my way into this popular little restaurant. Hey, it's my birthday...I think they can find a little spot for me to have a late lunch. This birthday girl can hope anyways...

I'll tell you all about it when I get back!

Until next time...