God grant you the light in Christmas, which is faith;
the warmth of Christmas, which is love;
the radiance of Christmas, which is purity;
the righteousness of Christmas, which is justice;
the belief in Christmas, which is truth;
& all of Christmas, which is Christ.
--Wilda English

Friday, April 26, 2013

We Have A Winner!!!

Six ladies signed up for a chance to win the Pine Mountain Designs pillow kit I posted here.  The winner is ...

Denise

I have emailed Denise to get her address. Thanks to all who entered   : )

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I Went Clothes Shopping Today

After 3 days of medical appointments, John & I left home again this morning just to run a few errands in Lexington.  One of my personal quests was to find some new t-shirts to wear.  Unless you've tried to shop for them yourself, you can't imagine how difficult it is to find plain t-shirts (no designs, logos, pictures, beads, or studs) made with quality fabric & crew necks.

Even though it was early on a Thursday morning, the mall was a hub of activity. Everywhere I looked I saw happy ladies gleefully looking at & purchasing lovely things. I was pretty excited seeing their happy faces & their bags crammed full of new clothes!  I just knew I was going to have bags crammed full of new t-shirts & maybe even more!  Some of the ladies were kind enough to stop for a moment so I could take a photo of them.  

Doesn't La-Teesha look happy?  She found some great bargains!

Carmen, Ruth, & Deidre were taking their purchases to their car & then heading straight to O'Malley's for a round of drinks to celebrate their finds!   
Naomi, Krissa, Brandi, & Madelyn could hardly believe their good fortune!  Their bags were filled with lovely things! 
Let me tell you, I was pretty excited!  The fact that the first 2 stores I visited had nothing for me did not dampen my spirits.  I moved on to the third store.  Remember, all I wanted were a few plain crew neck t-shirts of good quality, but alas, Store #3 did not have t-shirts like these.  They did, however, have some pretty short sleeved peasant blouses.  Memories of the past flooded my mind.  I used to wear peasant blouses when I was a teenager & I looked rather nice in them back then.  I grabbed a few off the rack, & as I walked to the fitting room I pictured myself looking quite pretty wearing them & thought "won't John be surprised to see me wearing something feminine!"  I went into the fitting room, closed the door, took off my bulky winter coat (temps were in the 30s here this morning!), took off my bulky sweater, put on one of the peasant blouses, turned around, & looked in the mirror.
I did my best to regain my composure, telling myself that surely it was just this one particular style of peasant blouse that was making me look like I had glued a few dozen water balloons to my body before I tried it on.  I placed it back on its hanger, chose a different peasant blouse, put it on, turned around, & looked in the mirror again. 
On & on it went.  I finally took off the last blouse, placed it on its hanger, hung all the blouses on the restocking rack, & asked directions to the ladies room where I reflected on the passage of time & "a thousand & one Snickers too many."  
When I was finally able to leave the bowl, I caught up with John.  I decided to look for safe purchases ... something that wouldn't kick my already fragile self image in the gut. I need a new purse.  Sadly I could not find any I liked.  John found himself a watch though, & then we made our way to the car & ran a few more errands.  

There is a happy ending to this story.  I used to love wearing Birkenstocks but I wore out my last pair, which were bought when we lived in Tennessee, & I've not been able to find any Birks sellers here.  Due to the fact that my feet have been killing me since our trip to NYC, I somehow got the inspiration last night to look on the Birkenstocks website for a possible retailer nearby, & there one was, in Lexington!  They didn't have a huge selection, but they did have just the pair I was looking for.  This summer I may not be as fashionable as La-Teesha, Carmen, Ruth, Deidre, Naomi, Krissa, Brandi, & Madelyn, but by golly, I'm going to have comfy feet!

Monday, April 22, 2013

April IHSW Report

Life around here has been quite busy lately for a number of reasons, & it's going to be even busier these next few weeks, but all things stop for IHSW   : )   I worked as much as I possibly could on Christmas Tea by Plum Street Samplers.  I had hoped to finish it, but I've still got a few snowflakes to take care of.  Despite the drastic color difference between the model photo & what I'm ending up with by following the designer's suggestions, I think I'm going to like it   : )  

Below is the beginning of a Pine Mountain Designs pillow called Winter 9 Patch.  I started this back in January, I think, & I didn't get very far before I decided I did not like stitching it.  If anyone is interested in stitching it, it's yours   : )   If more than one person is interested, I'll throw names in a hat & pick one out when I wake up & stumble over the computer on Friday morning, April 26.  Just mention in your comment that you'd like to have it.  It has everything included except the 2 winter related charms, but you can easily find replacements for those. 
Tha-tha-that's all for this morning!  I'm heading off to Louisville in a few minutes for an appointment with my endodontist to see how my root canal infection surgeries are healing.  I hope I get a good report!         

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Prayer Request

A friend of mine had an accident many years ago & the damage done to her body causes her a lot of pain.  The pain is always with her, but there are times when it gets so severe she can hardly bear it.  She has been having a particularly bad time with the pain lately.  She tries to be positive, but there are times when it is a real struggle for her.  I'd really appreciate it if you would lift her up in prayer.    

Thank you.

Monday, April 15, 2013

That Little White Box Again

I have mentioned a few times about how suddenly, just before Christmas, I was no longer able to post comments on blogs that have the little white comment box appearing directly underneath the posts.  For comments on these blogs, you see that little white box & you just click into it & start typing.  When you finish your comment, you simply click Publish & your comment is accepted .. unless you're me.  Maybe if you're other people, too.  I don't know.  What I do know is that it makes me (& possibly other people) sad that I (they) can't leave a comment on a blog when I (they) want to leave one.

There is a way for you to fix this, if you want to.  Here are step-by-step directions for you to follow should you so desire.

1.  Go to your Dashboard.  Next to the name of your blog, you will see 3 little rectangles that you can click.  The first one is orange & it has what looks like a drawing of a pen or pencil in the center.  The middle rectangle is not orange & it has 2 parts to it.  The left part of this middle rectangle has a drawing of what looks like a notebook or some pages. The right part of this middle rectangle has a little drop-down arrow.  Click that arrow & move your cursor down to the very last choice, which is Settings, & click on it.  This will take you to your Settings screen.

2.  On the left side of your Settings screen, you will see a list of Blogger choices.  The word Settings will be colored orange. Underneath the orange word Settings, you will see another orange word, Basic.  Just underneath the orange word Basic, you will see the words Posts & Comments which will appear in black.  Move your cursor down to Posts & Comments & click on it.  This now takes you to your Settings/Posts & Comments screen.

3.  The first section in the center of your Settings/Posts & Comments screen will be titled Posts.  The next one will be titled Comments.  The first line of this Comments section says Comment Location, & next to that is a little rectangle with a drop-down arrow.  If you have that little white comments box appearing directly underneath your posts, then you will see the word Embedded in this little rectangle.

4.  Click the drop-down arrow in this little rectangle next to Comment Location.  You will be presented with 4 ways to choose from for your followers to post on your blog ... Embedded, Full Page, Popup Window, & Hide.  Move your cursor to Popup Window & click on it.  Then move your cursor to the top right corner of the page where you will see a little orange rectangle that says Save Settings.  Click on that.  You will get a very brief flash message box at the top center of your screen which will say "Settings were saved successfully."  Then just click to go back to your Dashboard by clicking on the orange Blogger logo at the top left corner of the screen (the orange rectangle with the white letter B in the center), & that's all there is to it!

What will now appear at the bottom of your posts is a little link for your followers to click on that says Post a Comment (like you see at the bottom of this post).  Your followers will click on this link, be taken to a popup box in which to make their comment, & they will still be able to scroll up & down your post to see what you've written & the photos you've included ... & we will all get up out of our chairs & dance about the room in wild abandon, celebrating the fact that we can now comment on your posts!

Thank you for your time   : )

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Blanket, a Cross Stitch Start, & a Couple Birds

I decided it's about time for me to share a photo of my crocheted blanket progress which I've promised to do a time or two recently.  These photos aren't great.  Maybe I need a new camera?  Please try to ignore any mess that is so obviously apparent.


As you can see, I have quite a ways to go yet.  I thought I was about at the half way point, but not quite.  I haven't really been doing much in the way of crochet this past week thanks to the miserable temperatures we've been having.  It's been in the 80s already!  BLAH! 
   
Since crocheting has been out, I decided to begin a new cross stitch project.  I did finish the one I was working on last week, but I can't show it to you since it's a gift, & the person it's for will undoubtedly see it posted here & immediately know it's for her, & it's a surprise, & well, there you have it.  I can, however, show you my new start which is Plum Street Sampler's Christmas Tea.  I've been wanting to stitch this for a long time. Although I've stitched various things on osnaburg many, many times, I have never stitched anything on 40 count linen.  I am enjoying it very much although it would not be possible without the aid of my Daylight magnifying lamp!  This is also the first time I've ever used silk threads.  I am liking them so far.  The colors in my photo are showing very strangely.  The linen is the suggested Vintage River Willow which is kind of a mottled green.  I'm looking at the photo now & the linen is showing up like kind of a blah gray.   
My photo is not the only color discrepancy that is puzzling me.  There is quite a difference between the suggested silk thread colors & suggested linen color per the designer, & what shows in her model photo. The model appears to have a very light blue background, dark blue lettering, & a dark blue bird on the left side with a red bird on the right.  It is beautifully showcased in a navy blue frame.  However, following the designer's recommendations, I've got a mottled green background with black lettering & a black bird on the left side.  I think the answer is obvious ... designers (some, not all) like to play with our minds.

Despite the sadistic bent of some cross stitch designers, I recently ordered a bit of stash from 123 Stitch.  Prairie Schooler came out with a few new nursery rhyme leaflets.  I love nursery rhyme anything.  I also got their Cranberry Christmas leaflet.  I was very happy to see the last 2 parts of the Cherished Stitches Feathered Friends series finally available ... November & December. My goal is to stitch all 12 of these & display them in a nice basket.  I have been able to find all the 35 count suggested fabrics I'll need for 11 of the designs.  The fabric suggested for the December chart is 36 count Lakeside Sea Storm.  I have not been able to locate it anywhere.  Does anyone know where I can find this?
An odd bird came into our yard recently. I've also heard an unusual, but very pretty, bird song.  I had no idea what I was hearing or seeing, but this is it ... a Western Meadowlark.

It is quite striking!  I also got this nice photo of one of the downy woodpeckers that come to visit us.  This is Roberta Downy.  Her husband, Robert Downey (get it? ... tee-hee-hee!) enjoy our feeders & cakes.  
We have a red-bellied woodpecker that comes to see us a few times a week but I haven't been able to get a picture of him yet. We named him Gregory.  Gregory Pecker   : ) The only kind of pecker we haven't seen around here is a pilated woodpecker.  We enjoyed watching them when we lived in Tennessee though.  They are huge!

I came across some interesting info online yesterday to back up my opinion of the devil's playground ... the results of a survey conducted to rank states on the basis of the happiest ones in which to live on down to the saddest ones.  Hawaii is #1.  I can sort of understand that.  Quite possibly my favorite state, Montana, came in at #7.  Want to know where Kentucky came in?  I'll bet you think I'm going to say #50.  Well, no ... Kentucky is #49.  It's hard for me to believe there's a state sadder than this one, but there is.  It's West Virginia, #50.

Happy weekend to all of you!  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Life and Other Stuff

Up at 5 a.m.  Trouble breathing, left arm/hand/fingers kind of numb.  Psychologist who did neuropsych evaluation a couple weeks ago to check my memory issues said my mind is great but my fine motor skills are the pits.  Didn't bother to do any tests for my lousy balance but suggested that my ever more frequent episodes of numbness/tingling/weakness in said arm/hand/fingers are probably due to a pinched nerve in my neck, quickly adding "of course I'm not a doctor."  I get to visit a neurologist next Monday to talk about these things, then a GYN the following week (upper body issues), then a vascular surgeon (bad leg issues), & hopefully I'll get a rheumatologist referral as well (lupus & arthritis issues).  What fun!

Last Monday I called the pharmacy to refill my heart medication.  They said I had no more refills, they needed to contact my cardiologist for authorization, & the med should be ready on Wednesday.  On Wednesday I received an automated phone call from the pharmacy telling me my prescription was ready to be picked up.  I was in no rush ... I still had a few days worth of pills left.  Yesterday John went to get the prescription.  The one he brought home was not the one I was expecting.  I called the pharmacy & asked about it.  The pharmacist said they never received a response from the doctor's office.  I told her I now had no pills at all & without them I would be in the ER within 48 hours.  She said she would fax another request to the doctor & she could give me a few loaner pills if I needed them. If I needed them?  I ignored the stupidity of that remark & instead thanked her profusely. I then decided to be on the safe side & call the cardiologist's office to ask why they had not provided the requested prescription & remind them that I needed to have these pills or the doctor would soon receive a phone call from the ER to come visit me there.  The receptionist seemed very concerned.  She took down all my information & said she'd call me back after she spoke with the doctor.  She never called me back.  A while later I called the pharmacy to make sure the loaners were ready.  The pharmacist who answered the phone (a different one than I had spoken with earlier) said she would check & if they weren't ready, she would get them ready. She also confirmed that the first pharmacist had faxed another prescription request to my doctor's office.  I thanked her & told her I would be leaving soon to get the loaners. When I got to the pharmacy, no one knew what was going on but thankfully the now third pharmacist went back & threw a few loaners in a bottle & handed it to me.  She then asked if I wanted her to fax another request to my doctor's office.  I told her yes ... bombard them with requests.  I wonder if the pharmacy will receive my prescription by the time my loaners are gone?  This is not the first time my cardiologist's office has not provided a prescription when they've been asked for one.  The doctor's nurse is very rude & likes to tell you that you've said things or done things that you've never said or done.  I think I need to go shopping for a new cardiologist. 

Our riding mower has died once again.  This is a least the 8th time this has happened in the almost 3 years we've had it (3 years on the 19th of this month).  We thank God that we paid extra to Lowes for an extended warranty plan.  Last Thursday I called Lowes to let them know the mower needed servicing again.  They said they would alert the company they contract with for repairs in this area.  This company is in Lexington, an hour away.  I then immediately received an email saying that contact had been made & the company would be calling me the following day (Friday) to schedule pickup.  At 3 p.m. the following day they still had not called me.  I called Lowes & voiced my concern.  Kelly said "Oh, you are supposed to call them yourself to schedule pickup!"  I thanked her & called the company, Lexington Outdoor Power & Supply (hereinafter referred to as "LOPS").  The LOPS person, Margaret, said she was waiting to receive the repair authorization from Lowes & she would call me when she received it. Yesterday morning I called Lowes again.  Joe told me the authorization had been sent.  I thanked him & called LOPS.  Margaret said she had the paperwork on her desk but not the authorization & she was just getting ready to call Lowes to ask them about it. She said she would call me after she had spoken with them.  She never called.

This past weekend I finally decided to talk with a professional about selling our house. The house & gardens are by no means ready, & nothing here is ever going to be "staged," but it's clean & neat & what more could a person ask for?  At least I won't be leaving the new owner 2-1/2 years of grease to scrape off the kitchen cabinets, piles of crumbs & other assorted filth behind drawers, black crud in the shower, etc.  This, & more, is what I found when I moved here. Anyway, I spent a lot of time Saturday morning researching realtors & finally found one with great reviews on Angie's List.  I was rather surprised that AL was referring me to a realtor in Lexington (again an hour away) but I figured he must work here.  I sent him an email which he answered almost immediately.  He said he does not work here but he does have a branch office in this area & he would refer me to someone at this office.  Within half an hour or so I received another email from him saying he had tried to contact someone but they did not answer their phone which meant they were "with clients."  He said he left a message.  A couple hours later I received another email.  The agent he was trying to contact returned his call, telling him that he had been on his way back from Florida & that is why he didn't return the call right away.  He said this agent would be in touch with me.  No contact from said agent on Saturday, no contact on Sunday, & no contact yesterday.

Life in the devil's playground is ... I don't even know what adjective to use.  Unimaginable, perhaps?  Unbelievable?  Unpalatable?  

On a happier note, I've started a cross stitch project.  This happy note goes hand-in-hand with a sorrowful note though.  I had to start the cross stitch project because of the miserable heat that decided to make an appearance this past weekend.  It was in the high 60s on Sunday, the mid 70s yesterday, & today it's supposed to be 80 degrees.  I just want to crawl inside a cryogenic chamber & hang a sign on it that says "Do Not Revive Until Mid October 2013."  It's much too early (per Mr. Cool) to turn on the air conditioning so sitting in my recliner with a big wool blanket spread over my lap just isn't appealing to me ... so for now the blanket is sitting in it's project bag awaiting a cool spell, man made or otherwise.

I know I promised to show a photo of my blanket progress with this post ... & you would probbly like to see a photo of my cross stitch start as well ... but I'm not going to include any photos today.  There is a method to my madness.  What method, you ask?  I'll tell you in the following paragraph.  

I am going to be celebrating my 2nd blog anniversary on May 1st.  I never thought I would have a blog. I certainly never imagined that I would have a blog that anyone would want to follow!  I also never imagined that I would make some of the very good friends I have made via blogging.  People all over the world!  People I never would have known otherwise.  It's been a good 2 years & I look forward to more of them!

As is the custom, I would like to do something special for my anniversary to show my appreciation to my followers.  I never advertise my giveaways because I don't have giveaways to attract more followers.  I'm not here to play a numbers game.  Isn't it crazy when someone is on Facebook & they brag about having 3000 friends?  Friends? Really?  I feel that if people aren't interested in my blog unless there are gifts involved, then I'm not interested in having them here.  I therefore bury my giveaway announcements in a post without any hint of them being there.  Today especially ... if you have read this far, you deserve a giveaway   : )

I have tried to think of something really nice to offer for a 2-year anniversary giveaway & I have come up with a bit of a twist. Instead of just one item, I am going to offer several items so that more than one person will win something.  I wish I could offer enough giveaway items for all of you, but that, of course, is not possible.  I will tell you what you can possibly win ... & how you can win ... in a moment.  First, the rules.  Second, what you can win.  Third, how you can win.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  This giveaway is only open to my followers as of 10 a.m. EST, 
April 9, 2013.

RULES

1.  Do not advertise this giveaway on your blog or anywhere else.
2.  Do not advertise this giveaway on your blog or anywhere else.
3.  Do not advertise this giveaway on your blog or anywhere else.

WHAT YOU CAN WIN

1.  Something cross stitch related.
2.  Something knitting related.
3.  Something crochet related.
4.  A primitive collectible or two or three.
5.  Something sheep related.
6.  Something made by me (not necessarily a cross stitched item).
7.  Gift certificate to your favorite online shop.

HOW YOU CAN WIN

Simply comment on this post & let me know the numbers of the items above that you would like to have a chance at winning.  This giveaway is open to all my followers, those in the US as well as those in other countries.  I will draw names on my anniversary date, May 1st, & contact winners that day.  If you are a no-reply blogger, make sure that I have your email address.  If I don't, I will toss your name & draw someone else's.

Good luck!!!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Easter Revisited

I have finally downloaded the photos from my camera of my very few but much cherished Easter decorations this year.  Yes, I have others, but we all know where they are   : )

The 2 large stitched cards you see here are from my friend Paula who lives in Portugal (no blog).  Last year she sent me the blue one, this year the green one.  Aren't they pretty?  The card in the middle is pretty too! That card was made for me last year by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching as a thank you for being in her Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop   : )

I also wanted to show you the Godiva Easter basket that the bunny (aka my Bear) gave me.  Yum!
Not much has been happening here ... just the never-ending dance of doctor visits & referrals for more doctor visits.  The lupus diagnosis is being batted around again   : (

The weather has been getting warmer ... BLAH!  My depression at the thought of summer weather just around the corner has only put me into bed with the covers pulled over my head a few times during the past couple weeks.  Against my better judgment, I went outside with John on Wednesday to do a bit of yard/garden work.  I just dug up weeds in one small area of a foundation bed & transplanted a few iris there.  Remember those iris plants I pulled out of the ground in May 2011 before the swindling, inept landscapers did their thing?  I just tossed them willy-nilly into planting pots with some dirt thrown on top of them to plant at another time.  They sat totally neglected on the driveway wall for an entire year.  Last year they were blooming like crazy in those pots.  They were then neglected for another year until Wednesday when I noticed them growing green & healthy again.  Thus my reasoning in finally transplanting the poor things.  Watch ... now that I've taken them out of their pots of neglect & placed them lovingly in the ground, they'll probably die. Anyway, this is all I did ... weeding & transplanting in a bit of landscape bed about 5' x 6' in size.  You would think a gang of thugs beat me senseless & then tied me to a horse & slapped his behind to get him to pull me all over the devil's playground for a few hours.  I am walking around here like a 90-year-old severely arthritic woman.  

Today I finally did something I've been meaning to do for a long time.  I sorted through my cross stitch charts & kits & put a bunch aside that I know I will never stitch. There are a lot of autumn things, some Christmas/winter stuff, & some miscellaneous. I don't know what I'm going to do with them yet.  Of course I kept ooing & ahhing over certain charts that I kept, my fingers itching to grab a needle & start stitching.  That ain't gonna happen though.  I'm wanting to work only on my crocheted granny stripe blanket so I can finish it before the hellishness of a devil's playground summer falls upon me like an Acme anvil falling on Wylie Coyote's head.
Yep ... this is just what I feel like when warm weather arrives.  

I hope everyone has a great weekend!  I intend on hobbling around my house (see previous 90-year-old severely arthritic woman reference) doing a bit more reorganization & sorting out.   

Monday, April 1, 2013

Mirrors

The above photo is not a photo of my bathroom.  My bathroom is similar ... it has a toilet & a shower & a sink ... but it is rather untidy at the moment so I am instead using a bathroom photo that I pulled off the internet.  It's a pretty nice looking bathroom, isn't it?  I wouldn't mind having a bathroom like this.  Bathrooms are not the subject of this post, however.  The subject is mirrors.

Last summer, I wrote a blog post titled Perfection in a Yarn Shop.  You can click on the title & read the post if you are so inclined.  I ended that post by stating that I was thinking about knitting covers for all the mirrors in my house.  I did not knit those covers.  Therefore, I have no one to blame but myself for what I am now going to share with you.

Last night when I stepped out of the shower, I caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror.
I was quite dismayed.  I knew that I had put on a bit of weight over the past year.  I wasn't blind to the signs ... I just chose to not think about them.  Elastic around the legs of my underwear cutting off my circulation. Socks splitting at the seams.  A second set of breasts underneath my armpits.  Needing to lift my chin with both hands while John secures a necklace clasp for me, then asking him where the heck the necklace is when I don't see it & him saying "Lift your neck skin ... it's under there."

Stupid mirrors   : (