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Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Cadet and the Lovely Jenna are here

The Cadet and Jenna are here. They got here on Friday night and it feels like such a holiday. We have done nothing but eat and shop the last couple of days. But it's been great. I don't realize how much I miss the Cadet until he walks in the back door. I am so happy to see him!
Yesterday, we went to the Kitty Store (aka the Animal Care Council). Mike and Jenna wanted to get a cat. Mike's landlady adores cats so she is ok with Mike bringing home a little kitty. We spent about 2 hours getting to know about 100 cats. Jenna picked out the cutest little calico kitty and she came home with us. Her name at the shelter was Freddie but they renamed her Ella. I hope to get a few pictures of her soon. So, we got her home and it took an evening for everyone to acclimate themselves to a new friend and for Ella to acclimate to new digs. Now she's off exploring and getting into all sorts of trouble! Mike and Jenna went kitty shopping at PetSmart, they bought her a kitty cave, good food, cute water and food dishes, a brush, nail clippers and a few kitty toys. She's going to be spoiled. Ella is going to live here over Thanksgiving and will go back to Rochester with Mike next Saturday. I think she's going to be spending the holidays with us.
I haven't been stitching alot this week either because the kids were coming home. I've become Martha Stewart over the weekend, I baked an apple pie and tonight, I am making Mike's favorite meal, lasanga. And of course, I've done a lot of laundry. I've been thinking about what I want to stitch next year. I'd like to finish up some of my Wips and maybe start a redwork piece. And a sampler with a lot of alphabets. And My Home Town. I've also decided that I am not a rotational stitcher, in my heart of hearts, I am a one at a timer...and I work on one thing until I am sick of it. So I think that I will be working off my wip pile and slip a new piece in here or there. I'd like to do another house piece too, maybe The Virtue sampler (pinched the pix off of Sandra's blog, hope you don't mind!).

Anyway, I am in a pensive mood...I've got to go, the kids want to go to the with you all later!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

What's flashing red and carries eleventy dozen guys?

A fire truck! En route to MY house!

Yes, dear readers...we had a fire. Fortunately, it was contained to the chimney and due to a very calm headed DH, we escaped with just a lot of smoke and no significant damage.

On Thursday night, the David and I were snuggled on the sofa, I was reading the Thanksgiving issue of Martha Stewart (wishing MY Thanksgivings were as elegant) and the David was watching Glen Beck on CNN from behind his eyelids. We had a toasty, merrily burning fire in the fireplace insert. The Wonder dog was at my feet and Ms. Nasty Cat had assumed her position on the sleeping David's lap. Ah-h-h-hh...domestic bliss and harmony. UNTIL....

There was a whoosing sound. A large rumble that increased in volume that sounded like it was coming from behind the wall....I poked at the David and told him that I thought we had a chimney fire. He jerked awake and said...Nah....the cargo planes are doing night maneuvers at the airport (earlier they were rumbling over the house).....and he shut his eyes again. Me, ever suspicious and now getting somewhat nervous, poked him again and said, I THINK we have a chimney fire.....and the David, opening one eye said, Really? I think it's just the furnace coming on (cause it rumbles when it wakes up).

And I watch him scrunch down a little lower in the corner of the sofa.

The third time, I poked him again and said GO CHECK. Ms. Nasty Cat was pretty annoyed when he pushed her off his lap and got up to get a flashlight to go out side and PROVE to me that we didn't have a roaring plume of fire spewing out of the chimney like an after burner on a jet engine.

Which, of course...we did.

And then things got pretty exciting.

Call 9-1-1!!! Get the hose, turn on the water, get the wonderdog and Ms. Nasty Cat out of the house. Where's the car keys, shoes, jacket, purse....oh no! If the house burns there goes the photos, family memorabilia, my stash, my framed samplers, our CD collection...where's the damn cat! Where's the DAMN cat!!!

Meanwhile, the house is filling up with smoke.

I shove the wonderdog out the front door. I can't find my shoes, I can't find my car keys, can't find the damn brain is telling me to get out, the fire in the fire box is boiling and rolling as the oxygen is sucked up the chimney fueling the fire. The sound is like a freight train. I am waiting for the chimney to explode, the walls to ignite, the sound is louder...

Outside, the David is on a 6 foot ladder trying valiantly to put out the fire with the garden hose. Me, once outside, I am transfixed, watching this 5 foot column of flame shoot out of the chimney. The DH is yelling at me to turn the on the water...the hose is kinked. I trip and fall cause I step in the one hole in the entire yard because it's pitch black outside. I am in my socks. This isn't working...he runs to the barn to get a bigger ladder. I stand at the foot of the chimney watching the column of flame, helpless, but mesmerized by this surreal event. I feel disconnected and think to myself...this isn't happening. I am not standing outside in my socks, watching fire shoot out of my chimney.

I hear sirens....

Thank God for the Castle Creek volunteer fire squad. They came with a hook and ladder, an emergency rescue truck, a water tanker, the sherriff, an emergency crew and eleventy dozen firemen.

In 5 minutes the fire was out. They tossed fire retardant down the chimney.

The crew spent 3 hours here making sure that the fire was out. They pulled the insert from the fireplace, brought in hugh fans to clear out the smoke, made sure that none of us were hurt. Calmed me down. Made sure that the roof wasn't damaged and there wasn't anything smoldering in the attic. Took the temperature of the chimney. Calmed me down some more. Filled out paperwork. Calmed me down some more.

No real harm done. We were fortunate. Fortunate that this didn't happen at 3AM when we are sleeping like the dead. Fortunate that both of us were home. Fortunate that the DH was calm. Fortunate that the night was calm and there was no wind....fortunate, fortunate, fortunate.

The ironic thing about this entire experience is that we have a chimney sweep scheduled for next Wednesday, the earliest appointment we could get.

So, we are fine...the house is fine. Ms. Nasty Cat didn't turn into Ms. Crispy Critter. All that's left to do is clean the fine layer of soot and fire retardant out of the firebox and off the furniture, get the fire inspector to come out and check the chimney for cracks in the flue.

And thank God for His protection and for the Castle Creek volunteer fire and emergency crew.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Calling all Moms and everyone who has a Mom

Listen to this it's too funny and oh, so true!!!!


It's true, you can't go home again - October musings

I went to my brother's last weekend. I had a lovely visit with him and his family. My SIL, Barb, and I are like sisters and we have such a great time together. On Friday evening, we went to Barnes and Nobles where I met Barb's good friend, Kim. A lovely lady. We spent the evening sipping Starbucks and shooting the breeze. I bought Patricia Cornwall's new novel, The Book of the Dead. Scarey stuff.

On Saturday, we went to the Covered Bridge Needlearts in Bridgewater. What a lovely store!!!! Shelley is such a hoot!!! She has goodies and coffee waiting for her customers and since it was the weekend before Halloween, she made up treat bags for her customers. Great customer service! She made us feel so welcome and I really wish her store was in my neighborhood. I'd become a fixture there.

Barb and I must have spent 4 hours visiting and oohing and aweing over all the lovely models hanging all over the shop, pawing through racks and bins of patterns. Shelly has such an extensive inventory or needlework and she has decorative items, punchneedle, rughooking and all the stitching accoutrements to make any needleperson feel like they've gone to stitching heaven. What a treasure trove. If you get to Western PA, run to her shop. You will not be disappointed.

I thought I was going to be good but true to form, I overspent. But I only bought a couple of patterns, The Sewing Circles, Soldier Boy and Little House Needleworks, Blossoms and Blackbirds. I mainly spent my $$ on thread (GAST, Weeks, Caron Waterlillies and a skein of Belle Soie silk just to give it a try) and, are you ready, punchneedle supplies. I bought this little halloween kit, a CTR punchneedle and since I didn't have any appropriate thread, the WDW for the pattern. I love how punchneedle looks and after having an impromptu lesson from Shelley I decided to give punchneedle a whirl. Then Barb and I went to Panera bread for lunch and to the Mall just to browse.
Then we went back to my brother's to watch movies and mess with the punchneedle. Unfortunately, the hoop that I brought with me was not a locking type so we basically watched movies and I started my book.

On Sunday, we went to Joann fabrics for hoops. We also went to Wallyworld for groceries, then home again. Off to try punchneedle again...hmm...not as easy as it looks or explained. As much as I tried and tried, I could not get it to work for me. Frustration reigned!! So it went into my bag and maybe when I am less irritated by it, I'll give it a go again. Barb had difficulties too. She's going to stop by one day after work to have Shelly show her the correct way to punch. I'll probably stop down to Stitchery Row for a quick lesson after work too.

Well, the last thing I did was go back to my old home. I took a walk past it. Fortunately, the only neighbor that would have recognized me wasn't out and about so if I ran into anyone they probably wouldn't have recognized me and if they did they probably wouldn't have remembered my name. As it was, I felt like a stranger, a stranger on the street that I grew up playing hopscotch, riding bikes and pretending that I was a cowgirl with my horse. What a weird feeling to know that I spent 22 years living on that street but now was an intruder. I felt like a stalker but I really wanted to see what the new owners have done to the place. The new owners put in a flowerbed around the front porch and side of the house and put up a privacy fence around the back yard. I was really sad to see the house and my heart ached knowing that I couldn't go in. You would not believe how badly I wanted to do just that. I wanted to sit on the front porch steps. It took all I could not to go around the back of the house and go in the kitchen and call for my Dad. I thought that I was past the entire thing but I guess I really wasn't...but now, I think that I've put it past me and I could go home again and not even go down the street past the house. Closure.

As far as stitching goes, usually when I am at my brothers, I can get a lot done. Not this time. My eyes aren't as good as they used to be and the lighting in the evening wasn't terrific. During the day, we were not home alot to even break out the needle and thread. So really, I didn't stitch at all even though I brought most of my Wips with me. Hey, you never know what's going to strike your fancy right?

On Monday, I traveled and Tuesday, it was back to work...and back to my life here in good ol' was good to be home again. I missed the DH a lot and even the cat must have missed me cause she stuck to me like velcro.

So stitching wise, I've mostly picked up what's screamed at me the loudest. I worked a little on Blackbird Designs, Merry Hallo'een. I started it last year and I am now finished with the border. It's an easy stitch but it won't get worked on again for awhile because I want/need to work on Christmas-y things. I also worked a little on Maria Short. I've stitched the upper left quadrant of the sampler. It's very pretty. Also, I've stitched a little on Hallowed Gameboard, Prairie Schooler's Autum Winds (past the center motif now!) and I was fortunate enough to pick up an old JCS magazine with Mary Garry's, Spring Sampler and Pins & Needles, so I've worked the border and the words on Pins and Needles. And this weekend, I picked up my Stitcher's Wallet for the first time since September when Patti and I worked on it. I am 3/4 the way through the second panel. Like Sue, I don't like the verse on the third panel and I am searching for something to replace it. I will be skipping that panel and moving on to the 4th panel and to the sampler which I am SO looking forward to stitching!

I am no where near a finish on anything. So it's not worth pictures.

Looking back on the year, once again, my starts far outweighed my finishes. Who cares?!!!