Home is Where the Cat Is 

I started this project in late 2014, and finished it early July 5th as my neighbors set off a variety of illegal fireworks in celebration of Independence Day. It is one of the largest projects I’ve stitched, though not the most challenging. The most difficult part about this project was all the backstitch. The reason it took so long to finish is because I lost motivation to stitch. It happens from time to time, and can last for months. The problem is, I have so many things I want to stitch that losing this motivation makes it harder for me to get around to everything. There are so many things I want to stitch, but I had this and another large project to finish first. I met this goal, and I’m making steady progress on the other large project. My goal is yup finish that by the end of August.

This is the third design by Joan Elliott that I’ve finished. The other two are a birth sampler and a small ornament. I’ve got numerous others in my stash, including “Enchanted Aurora”, which I’ll be starting soon. Anyway, the main reason I got this kit was all the orange kitties. I’ve always been fond of orange cats.

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Falls and Cars

My grandfather has fallen twice recently.  On the 22nd, we were notified of the second fall. It was while Mom was checking on him that evening that he admitted that there’d been another about a month prior. That fall was the worst. There was concern that he may have fractured something, so Mom made arrangements to take him in for x-rays. She also notified her siblings of this development. Well, she tried to. My uncle and one aunt promptly responded and have been in contact. Another aunt, who has refused to speak with Mom for more than a year now, has not acknowledged Mom’s message. Mom and I were wondering if she’s blocked Mom’s cell phone and such. Anyway, I haven’t heard anything about the results of those x-rays, but Mom was under the impression that there was nothing serious to be worried about. I’m glad, but I really hope Grandpa stops withholding such details. Yes, we worry when something happens, but we need to know so we can help with any necessary appointments. 

Mom told me that Grandpa brought up the possibility of hospice care for Grandma for the first time while she was helping him with his doctor’s appointment. He said it would be soon, but he doesn’t think her health has deteriorated that badly yet. I’m not sure I agree, but she continues to surpass my expectations in terms of longevity. 

A few days after Grandpa’s fall, I was rear-ended while stopped at a traffic light. Neither of us were hurt, thankfully, and I was ecstatic that the other driver stopped and exchanged information, but I’m not happy about having to replace the bumper again. My car is 15 years old, and it’s no longer made, so getting parts can be a challenge. I have a rental car while my car is in the shop. I know I could’ve borrowed a car, but that would mean someone else has to find another way to work out wherever in the meantime. I wouldn’t want to burden them, so a rental seemed like the best option.

Anyway, it wasn’t the greatest week, but things are looking up. 

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Celtic Birds

One thing I really miss about being stationed in England is all the small cross- stitch kits I could find in the various gift shops. If I want to find such kits now, then I either have to go online or drive at least an hour away to find them.

I bought this bookmark last year and started it soon after. My enthusiasm for working on it disappeared after I made an error and had to pull out a bunch of stitches while doing my best to salvage as much thread as possible, because I wasn’t sure if there was enough in the kit. Turned out that there was, thankfully. Anyway, this bookmark was set aside after that. I’m trying to finish some of my already started projects before working on anything new, though, so I eventually came back to this bookmark.

There’s actually another bookmark that needs to be finished, too. That’s next on my list of small projects to finish. I hope to post that soon. 

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Northern Snowman

This is the fourth Mill Hill kit I’ve finished. I have a growing collection of them. I enjoy them because of the sparkle and challenge the added beads bring to the cross stitch, though I’m always nervous about stitching on perforated paper. This is one of four snowmen. I believe may be getting the other three soon as a birthday gift. I mostly bought this one to see if I could cope with the number of beads. There are more than 1,100 tiny beads in this picture. I’m kind of dreading the other three. The cats were mostly behaved during the beading, too, though Tux enjoyed sitting at my feet and batting at any thread that came his way. I’m now back to one of two large projects I’m trying to finish.

My stitching helpurr, Tux.

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Tulips and Squirrels

I normally like squirrels.  I always have, especially after one turned and basically played patty-cake with one of my cats when I was child.  The cat had been stalking it and it decided to show how unimpressed it was.  Anyway, tulip season is the one time of year where squirrels are pests, because they like to eat the tulips.  Some years are better than others.  This year is one of the worse years in recent memory.  It seems we lose another tulip every other day, despite me putting out something to deter the pests.  Gr…

Mom and I went up to the Skagit Valley tulip festival last Monday.  My brother’s girlfriend tagged along, because she wanted to see the tulips in person.  She’s planning future gardens and wanted to see all the varieties.  It was cloudy and increasingly windy, but it didn’t start raining until we were well into the drive back.  We went on Monday for a couple reasons.  One, it was my day off.  Two, the fields are very busy during the weekends.  Especially the weekend before we went, because the weather was very nice.  I looked at the traffic report on Sunday afternoon.  Traffic was backed up for miles and miles because of all the people heading north to see the tulip fields.  Dad even encountered the traffic when he went to pick up my other brother for Easter dinner.  Crazy!

On our way to the gardens and fields at RoozenGaarde, I checked to see which of the old houses and barns were still standing.  I think all of them were, though some had clearly sustained weather damage since we were last up.  I was amazed one particular house was still standing.  Well, sort of.  The front half is partially caved in, but I’m more and more impressed when we find that the rest of the house hasn’t followed suit each year we drive by.

The gardens were lovely, though more crowded than I would care for.  When I take pictures of the gardens, I try not to get too many passerby in the photos.  One, I don’t know any of the people and really don’t know if they want to be photographed.  I hate being photographed, so I give that courtesy to people I don’t know.  Two, it’s hard to get long shots of the gardens with all the people passing through.  I managed.  Mom and I were happy to point out the Kung Fu and Ninja tulips.  Both are shades of pink, which annoys my brother greatly, so we figured his girlfriend would enjoy knowing that tidbit.  His favorite tulips, Black Parrot and Queen of the Night, weren’t in bloom yet.  I wasn’t surprised.  With the cooler spring, many of the later tulips weren’t quite ready.

After wandering through all the gardens, we headed out to the fields.  The closest was a large daffodil field.  I was surprised to see the daffodils still in bloom, though Mom and I speculated the fields would be plowed last weekend.  There wasn’t as much mud as I feared and my brother’s girlfriend was delighted to find the ground was quite springy in a number of spots instead of packed.  We had fun bouncing on it.  My phone’s battery gave me one more reason to add to my growing list of why I want a new phone.  It died as we reached the first of the tulip fields.  I didn’t get as many photos as I would’ve liked, which was disappointing.  I like taking photos of the whole fields, so one could see how they change color.  I also like looking out for misfits, like a yellow tulip standing out in the middle of 20 rows of red tulips.  I got a few of those, but would’ve liked to get more.  Oh well.  Next year.  I’ll have a new phone and will remember to bring an external battery.  Maybe I’ll splurge and upgrade my camera, too.

When we were through with the tulip fields and RoozenGaarde, we wandered into nearby La Conner.  Even though there weren’t as many people as the day before, we still struggled to find a parking spot.  We finally found one in a small private lot.  I have no idea if we were actually allowed to park there, but we paid the fee and knew we wouldn’t be gone long.  La Conner has a small needlework and yarn store that Mom and I frequent whenever we’re in the area.  It moved locations last year, so we had a little trouble finding it.  The owner told us last year that the new location was further downtown and would attract more people.  It certainly looked busier than last year, so I hope that’s true.  I didn’t buy anything this year, but Mom sure did.  It was fun just to see the new place.

After La Conner, we went to the Snow Goose Market and enjoyed their immodest ice cream cones.  They were out of cookies ‘n crème.  How does that happen? I opted for moose tracks instead, which seemed to melt much faster than either of my companions’ flavors.  Next time, I’ll have to remember to get more napkins.

There are two roundabouts on the way to the tulip fields and La Conner.  Mom isn’t as experienced with roundabouts as I am.  I got really used to them during my tour of duty in England.  Anyway, Mom managed to get through them with only a little difficulty.  I much prefer stop signs or traffic lights.

All in all, it was a great trip.  I have a new coaster.  Mom has a new coaster, some new needlework, and a new pot of a variety of tulips that we didn’t see in the catalogue.  Vampire.  A nice shade of red with white tips.  Now, if I could get the squirrels to leave them alone.

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Spring is Here

I think.  It hasn’t really warmed up as much as I would like, and it’s still fairly wet out there, but the daffodils and tulips are slowly blooming in the flowerbeds and I was out yesterday pulling dandelions up.  Also, my cats are spending more time away from the heating vent behind the couch, so I take that as a good sign.

Our front and back lawns are non-existent, really.  They are infested with dandelions and moss.  The front yard especially is more moss than grass.  Mom wants to tear everything out and put in a new lawn.  I’m all for it.  She also wants to make part of the backyard more level.  That would be nice.  It’s so uneven back there that I risk rolling my ankle just walking.  We also need to look at repairing our fence.  It’s old and coming apart in places, especially with how wet it’s been this year.

My youngest brother is in the midst of buying a house.  He figured that was more cost effective than facing another rent hike at the apartment building he’s been living at for the past several years.  I’m proud of him.  He was hoping our other brother might consider moving in with him, but that doesn’t look possible at the moment.  Our brother is resistant to change, despite acknowledging that this would provide a better living situation for him.  Perhaps down the road he’ll be more open.  One step at a time.  I have to remember that with our brother.  He tends to act out if we push too hard.

Next week, Mom and I will make our annual trip up to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.  I am confident that we’ll see a lot more than we did last year.  We had a fairly warm spring last year and waited a bit too long to make the trip, so most of the tulips were spent by the time we got there.  We still enjoyed ourselves, don’t get me wrong, but I’m really looking forward to getting many more pictures.  Also, as always when we make this trip, I will be looking out for the older abandoned buildings along the way.  It’s always interesting to see which of those old buildings are still standing each year.  There are also stops at a local needlework shop and the local market for ice cream planned.  We might even have company with us this year, though that hasn’t been confirmed yet.  We’ll see.

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Never Fails

Ever receive an e-mail from someone about how they’ll be on vacation for the next few days and how everything should work fine in their absence, but in the slim chance of anything happening, here’s so-and-so’s number? Heh.  I got one of those last week and rolled my eyes.  Sure enough, something happened this morning and not only could I not get a hold of the person who is filling in, but their voicemail was full so I couldn’t even leave a brief message explaining the problem.  Ugh.  I was hoping to have everything resolved by the time I left work, so my colleagues on day shift didn’t have to worry about it.  No such luck.  I wonder what might happen before I go back in tonight?

I heard on the news the other day that it’s the coldest winter we’ve had in Seattle in decades.  I wasn’t really sure that was true, until I recalled just how many weeks we’ve endured the threat of snow, including this weekend.  In fact, it’s snowing right now.  Meanwhile, I have a friend stationed in Illinois who was bragging about how warm it’s been there.  Gr.  He said that after I asked “WTF?” when the Space Needle was struck by lightning last week.  It caused me to reminisce about the ice storms in Oklahoma.  Until I experienced those I don’t think I realized thunderstorms could occur when it was that cold outside.  Fortunately, I haven’t had to chisel inches of ice off my car since moving back to Seattle.  I hope it warms up soon.  I’d like to see my kitties again.  They’ve been sleeping on the heat vent in the living room for weeks because of this lingering winter.

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