Friday, November 30, 2007

Champagne & Turtle Doves

Thank you all for your concern and support. I am doing ok, but just trying to get my resume all lined up. All that good stuff, as you might imagine. I think this is a good opportunity to move on to a new position, which (truth be told) I have really needed to do for awhile. I have stayed in a less than ideal situation for longer than I needed to. So, while I am angry and a little bit anxious about how it will all play out, I am also positive that everything happens for a reason and that better things are appearing for me. My current job position will continue until December 28th, so I have some time to find the new wonderful job! So, in keeping with my desire to look at the positive, Eric and I had champagne (and cheesecake) last night to celebrate the beginning of a new part of my life. Sometimes I feel like a cat, with my new lives I keep starting!

Yesterday I didn't do much in the way of thinking about the job situation, I stitched and watched Amazing Race and Life in the Fab Lane. That made for a relaxing, non-thinking day, which I think I needed. Today has been about making phone calls, and working on my resume in the oh-so-user-friendly system we have to use. (sarcasm) Yesterday I stitched on the 2nd Day of Christmas ornament, and even though it doesn't look like it with all the confetti stitching, the turtledove itself is almost finished. There's a bit of background to be done as well and then the border. But, it was a good start.

I did also go and get a frame and mat for Baby Garden and a frame for Their Song, so hopefully I can squeeze time in over the weekend to get those framed. I promise photos when they're done.

Thanks again to all of you, I really appreciate each and every one of you!

I am grateful for lunch with a friend.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I was laid off at work this morning. They are "getting rid of my job function". Regular post tomorrow.

I am grateful for a new adventure.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wednesday Sampler

Do you ever have the experience that just when you finish something and are anxious to move onto something new (or something else even), circumstances come up that keep you from doing just that? I appreciate all your compliments on Baby Garden, and having finished it, I decided to stitch on my Papillon Creations Mystery Sampler (from the Gift of Stitching). It's been a while since I stitched on this, and I just love this piece. It is so much fun to stitch on. But, I haven't been able to stitch the past two nights! So, just when I thought "hurrah, I can stitch on something new", I haven't been able to. Hee - oh well, tonight!!! I keep trying to stitch on the 2nd Day Ornament for Eric, but I just don't seem to have the patience for it right now. This weekend I will probably kit up that last SB ornament and get it started.

Tonight they are lighting the tree in Rockefeller Center, and I am looking forward to seeing that. Of course, I am really looking forward to actually seeing the tree in person. After I watched the first tree lighting with Eric in 2005 while he was in the hospital, I bought him the annual Swarovski ornament. It sort of symbolized to me the hope and beauty of the season, and with all that we were going through, it seemed appropriate. Swarovski does the star on top of the Rockefeller tree, or at least it has the past few years (I'm not sure how long they've been doing it). The 2005 ornament is above, and this is the 2006 ornament.

They look so beautiful on our tree, catching the light. I've already got the 2007 ornament, all ready to give to him this Christmas.

We won't be decorating our tree until after we get back from New York, but I'll probably be doing some house decorating this weekend. I'm in the mood for little white lights and blown glass ornaments, wrapping up in a quilt and drinking holiday tea.

We have done some movie watching though - we are slowly but surely making it through our Academy Award winners. We've watched On the Waterfront, Marty and Around the World in 80 Days recently. I really enjoyed Around the World, it was so funny and entertaining. Marty was good too, it just ended so abruptly, I kept thinking there had to be more! So, we are up to 1957 with our next movie, Bridge on the River Kwai. We've still got fifty movies to go, so we'd better get a move on in order to finish them up for my 101 Things list! I'm finding it very interesting to watch them in the order they won, especially since we keep switching back and forth between black & white and color. I guess I would have thought there would have been more of a definitive line between the two - like everything before X year was black & white, and everything after was color. But, not so. In the 30s we got color, and in the 50s we are still seeing black & white. Very interesting.

Tomorrow we get the notice about layoffs at work, so keep a good thought for me.

Have a great rest of the week!

Walk to Rivendell: Camp in western part of the Marshes. (Total Miles Walked: 184.75)

I am grateful for all the blessings and joy in my life.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Two Finishes!

Baby Garden
Just Nan
DMC on 28ct Raw Cashel Zweigart
Embellished with Garden Bunny Bead
Stitched 2/5/07 to 11/24/07

I cannot tell you how happy I am to have finished Baby Garden! I am really pleased with the way it turned out, and I think it will be stunning framed. I'll go searching for a frame soon so that I can mail it off for Christmas. I had a few issues with it near the end, mostly because I was anxious to finish I think. Half of the fence had to be ripped out and restitched because I had one stitch that went over three instead of over two, and it threw everything else off. That bottom row of green rice stitches had to be stitched twice because the first time I stitched it in the wrong color green. Although tempted to leave it, I felt like if it was worth stitching, it was worth doing right. So, I pulled that out and restitched. All finished on Saturday, but the majority of that last band was stitched during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Here's a closeup of the last band. I love the bird's nest.

I plan to focus now on finishing the rest of my Christmas stitching, which is my Shepherd's Bush ornaments and the 2nd Day ornament for Eric. So, in the interest of doing that - on Saturday, I also finished up the seventh of eight ornaments.

Mary and Joseph
Shepherd's Bush
Seventh of Eight Ornaments from the JCS Ornament Issue
GAST and Weeks on 32ct Dark Espresso Linen (R&R)
Embellished with Sterling Rose Bud
Finished 11/24/07

Just one more to go, and then I'll be finishing this up into a wallhanging.

Although I have a lot more WIPs to finish, I've decided to start a new piece in January. I think I've chosen the piece, but I'll keep it a surprise for now! Last year I really missed having a new start for January 1st. There seems like so much to do between now and the time we leave for NY. I'm really looking forward to it, but nervous at the same time. Hopefully when we get back, I'll be able to relax, enjoy my holidays and stitch on something for me. So, now I just have to get everything finished before the 8th!!

Hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving, and a wonderful weekend.

Walk to Rivendell: Ground becomes damp. Entering western edge of Midgewater Marshes. (Total Miles Walked 178.75)

I am grateful for a big finish and Thanksgiving parades!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Everyday Gratitude

Today, I felt the need to share with you an email I received yesterday. This is from Rhonda Byrne, creator of The Secret.

"Two words which will change your life!

There are two words that, when spoken, have the most unfathomable power to completely change your life. Two words which, when they pass your lips, will be the cause of bringing absolute joy and happiness to you. Two words that will create miracles in your life. Two words that will wipe out negativity. Two words that will bring you abundance in all things. Two words which, when uttered and sincerely felt, will summon all the forces and vibrations in the Universe to move all things for you.

The only thing standing between you, happiness, and the life of your dreams, are two words...


Gratitude is one of the easiest and most powerful ways to transform your life. If you become truly grateful, you will magnetize absolute joy to you everywhere you go, and in everything you do. In fact, without gratitude, nothing can ever change. Your life will change to the degree that you use gratitude and begin to feel grateful. If you are just a little bit grateful, your life will change a little bit. If you are very grateful, your whole life will change. If you live gratitude every single day, you will become one of the greatest human beings on the planet, and the light of your life will uplift our world.

The greatest human beings who have ever lived showed us the way with gratitude, and by their example became shining lights in our history. Einstein said "thank you" hundreds of times every single day! Ancient wisdom dating back thousands of years gave us the truth about gratitude. Every single religion speaks of giving thanks. All the sages and saviors of the world demonstrated the use of gratitude in all their teachings.

It is impossible to be negative when you are giving thanks. It is impossible to criticize or blame when you are feeling grateful. It is impossible to feel sad when you are in gratitude. Most people are sporadically grateful, however, to change your life with gratitude, a new way of learning how to be truly grateful is what will bring unlimited happiness into your life.

So how do you live in gratitude? Begin your day by feeling grateful. Be grateful for the bed you just slept in, the roof over your head, the carpet or floor under your feet, the running water, the soap, your shower, your toothbrush, your clothes, your shoes, the car that you drive, your job, your friends, your refrigerator that keeps your food cold. Be grateful for the weather, the sun, the sky, the birds, the trees, the grass, the rain, and the flowers. Be grateful for the stores that make it so easy to buy the things you need, the restaurants, the utilities and services and electrical appliances that make your life effortless. Be grateful for magazines and the books that you read. Be grateful for the chair that you sit on, and the pavement that you walk on. Be grateful for your favorite music that sweeps you away, and for movies that make you feel good. Be grateful for your phone that connects you with people, for your computer, for the electricity that lights up your life. Be grateful for air travel that flies you everywhere. Be grateful for the roads and traffic lights that keep the traffic in order. Be grateful to those who built our bridges. Be grateful for your pet, for your child, for your loved ones, for your eyes that enable you to read this. Be grateful for your imagination. Be grateful that you can think! Be grateful that you can speak. Be grateful that you can laugh and smile. Be grateful that you can breathe! Be grateful that you are alive! Be grateful that you are You! Be grateful that there are two words that can change your life!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

The more that you practice gratitude the more deeply you will feel it in your heart, and the depth of the feeling is the key. The more deeply and sincerely you feel it, the more you will bring absolute bliss and happiness on every single subject. Watch what happens in your life when you practice gratitude every single day and in every single moment and in every opportunity that you can. Remember, if you are criticizing, you are not being grateful. If you are blaming, you are not being grateful. If you are complaining, you are not being grateful. If you are feeling tension, you are not being grateful. If you are rushing, you are not being grateful. If you are in a bad mood, you are not being grateful.

To understand the power and the magic of gratitude, you have to experience it for yourself. So why not begin by deciding to find 100 things a day to be grateful for? As you practice gratitude every day, it won't take long before gratitude is your natural state of being, and when it happens you will have unlocked one of the greatest Secrets to Life. "

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am grateful for a day with family.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Don't Fence Me In

Last night, even though I didn't get home from the gym until 7:45, I was able to get some more stitching in on Baby Garden. I finished the white picket fence, and now I can go back and start filling in the flowers, ladybugs, lizards, bunny, etc. We're going to the gym again tonight, in order to not have to go tomorrow. So, although it will be another late night, I should be able to get some good stitching in on this while we're watching The Sopranos. Speaking of Sopranos...did I mention I went to get my eyes checked last week? I haven't had my eyes checked in years and years, so I went to a new doctor. His entire staff was decked out in scrubs and Crocs. So, imagine my surprise, when in walked my young eye doctor wearing a pinstripe suit, white dress shirt (unbuttoned enough that there was chest hair), and very nice shoes. Anyway, my eyes are great - he told me to come back in three or four years. No glasses. I was also told that I have very unusual pigmentation in my eyes - very nice looking - and he sees a lot of eyes.

I received my next installment of the Just Nan "spell" WhimZis - Winter Spell. I still haven't stitched up Fall Spell (so my Halloween WhimZi is still on display). After I get this Christmas stuff stitched, I may get back to these. I haven't been entirely thrilled with the "spells". I'll be glad when Nan gets back to her usual fare for the WhimZis. I am so glad that I am on the autoship for these Limited Editions though - at the Silver Needle, there is apparently a waiting list to get on the autoship. I got in at the second Limited Edition, I think. Unfortunately, I can't find the first one anywhere. Those that have it are not giving it up!! It's Christmas Eve. Here's a photo from the Just Nan site.
Since I've been so good at enabling recently, I simply have to mention that One Star's Light Needlework Supplies is having a Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving - that's this Friday) sale. Here's the details:

"In honor of our first Black Friday ever, we are offering 25% off of your entire order, if placed between the hours of 12:00 AM and 11:59 PM on Friday, November 23rd.This is a rare opportunity, so get your clicky fingers ready and tune into this spot for the coupon code!"

She's got all kinds of goodies - like those Prairie Schooler Santas and Mill Hill ornament kits, not to mention LHN and CCN (two of my favorites!!).

Tomorrow we'll be watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade on TV and then going over to my parent's house for Thanksgiving dinner. My sister, BIL and niece will be there too. I may take something to stitch or knit on, since I can't fathom watching hours of football. Plus, I'll have something sharp and pointy in my hands should anyone get on my nerves!

Since it is relatively quiet at work this week, I took a walk to visit the Chihuly downstairs.

Beautiful, isn't it?

Hope you have a great Thanksgiving (if you're here celebrating it), and a great rest of the week. I'll leave you with a photo of Hamlet in his new favorite spot. (You know I folded that quilt and put it on the arm of the couch to keep the cat hair off it, right?)

I am grateful for my friend Sherri's good news.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Last Row

It was a busy weekend! I hope you all had a great one. My boss is on vacation this week, and since I only have to work through Wednesday (Thursday is Thanksgiving and Friday we have off too), I am hoping for a quiet week at work. Friday night I was able to finish up the next to last row on Baby Garden, which was cause for a small celebration. I have made good progress so far on the last row. I am stitching all of the picket fence first, and then will go back and add in the flowers and critters. Underneath the fence are some specialty stitches - and then it will be done, finito! I have set myself the deadline of finishing this by the end of the month, but truth be told - I would really like to have it done this week. I am SOOOO ready to stitch on something else! I have two other Christmas stitching things that I need to finish also - my 2nd day ornament for Eric (which has a small start), and my last two Shepherd's Bush ornaments (the first of which has a small start). So, everyone send me that good stitching mojo so that I can finish this thing up this week.

Saturday, I got the call that my last thread I needed for my SB ornaments had come in, so I went by Aidaworks to pick it up. And of course, one cannot leave with thread alone, so...I made a small chart purchase as well. I did not buy the chart plus accessory pack, but just the chart. Frankly, I am a little shocked that an "accessory pack" would cause the chart to be $50 more. But, whatever. Maybe when all is said and done, I may wish I had dropped the extra cash. Cute chart though, so I had to have it.

I then went over to Quilt Country to pick up one of my quilts which was already finished! I couldn't believe how quickly she got to it. I am so so happy that this is quilted! Here's a little sneak peek, but it still needs binding and a label. She has one more quilt of mine to do, so I'll be happy to see that one finished as well.

From there, I went over to the place where I purchased my sewing machine to take a class on how to use the embroidery functions on my machine. I have a feeling I am really going to have fun playing with the embroidery. This is a little practice piece I did in class. I didn't snip the jump threads, since we were just playing. I'll now be able to embroider my own quilt labels, which is fabulous. I used to take them to have the embroidered, since I love the look of an embroidered label. But, now I can make my own! I am also thinking of doing a block in our wedding quilt embroidered with our names and wedding date possibly. Now, I can do that too! I feel so high-tech.

Sunday was Eric's sister's birthday, so we did some celebrating with her and his family. Sunday is also my cleaning and laundry day, so I had my fill of that. Plus, we went out and Eric bought me some new clothes for our NY trip (sweater, a new pair of pants, that sort of thing). We also did a little Christmas shopping. So, all in all, it was a productive weekend.

Now, for some enabling...

Have you seen these new Mirabilia's? Dasher and Donner. Love them!

I bet they are all sparkly in person. You'd think I was a bird - as attracted to the sparkly as I am!

Walk to Rivendell: Camp in eastern Chetwood. Come out of the Chetwood. (Total miles walked: 172.75)

I am grateful for having my quilt quilted! It's beautiful!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Back to Baby Garden

As I mentioned on Monday, I was able to get back to stitching on Baby Garden. I am close to finishing this row, and then I have one row left. Woohoo!! I will be so glad to finish this one. The little squirrels, their heart balloons and the birds are over one. I had hoped to get some more stitching in on this last night, but I didn't get home until 8:30, and it was almost 9 before we had dinner because of that. So, I was pretty worn out. This afternoon I am going to have my eyes checked (just routine), and they'll probably dilate my eyes, so I may not be able to stitch tonight - we'll see how long it takes to wear off.

Last night was a lesson in not having an attachment to an outcome in a situation. I had my two-month fitness evaluation at the gym. Well, the person that I had the appointment with, the one who did my last two evals, was busy and so someone else did the eval. The problem I saw with this was that he probably wouldn't measure me in exactly the same place as the other guy. Well, then we discovered that the measuring tape they had been using was stretched out, so the readings were wrong. So, my measurements last night showed me having added like 1-2 inches from all of my last measurements. I was so frustrated and disappointed by the time I got home. Buy Eric reminded me that the best gauge of the progress I'm making is how I feel and how my clothes are fitting. He said that those two things are more important than what the scale says or what the tape measure reads. So, I am trying to let go of my attachment to the numbers and my frustration because of it. Good lesson to learn. Funny, that this sort of thing is what we discussed in my class on Monday - not being attached to the outcome. Timely.

Anyway, I am glad to be back on track with Baby Garden, back on track with working out again after being sick, and back on track with blogging. I haven't mailed out Kathy's RR yet, because I want to make sure I know who I'm supposed to mail to. We had a person drop out and then another join, so I want to make sure I know what I'm doing. I'm also in the midst of getting caught up on reading blogs. So, continue to bear with me...I'll get there!

Quiltorstitch tagged me on her blog for the following crafty meme:

1. When did you start to create and make craft? I think I have probably always created and crafted - at least as long as I can remember. My grandmother (also a Leo) was very crafty and creative. I remember making jewelry and thumbprint animal drawings with her when I was very little. I believe she taught me to cross-stitch and my first projects were pre-stamped tea towels. No idea where those are now. I also learned how to iron on those tea towels (which would explain my issue with ironing anything other than a flat piece of fabric).

2. Why did you start creating? I think it just has always been a part of me - that drive to create. I feel it in crafting, writing, dancing, etc.

3. Why do you create? It's what I do.

4. What do you create? Cross-stitching, knitting, quilting, beading, painting, drawing, sewing (home decor, not clothing), bath products, poetry, short stories, dancing, scrapbooking, punch needle - did I forget anything?

5. Has this changed since you began crafting? I tend to get excited about new crafts all the time - so I am constantly increasing my reportoire. I really want to learn rug hooking, and get better at my knitting so that I can make socks. I want to learn how to sew clothing. I'd love to do some crazy quilting. I'd like to write a book. I'd love to make jewelry and combine it with my painting. I'd like to try my hand at quilling too and making ATCs (Artist Trading Cards). So much I want to do!

I am supposed to tag five other people for this - I'll let you tag yourself if you would like to answer this. Also, thank you so much to all the people that have given me the You Make Me Smile Award. I really appreciate it, and I've tried to thank each of you when I stumble across it on my "great blog catchupathon". Thank you!!

And finally, here are some photos at Valley Forge from our Philadelphia trip.

I am grateful for a lesson learned.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Kathy's Neighborhood RR (Round 2)

I have lots of things to show you today! I was productive this weekend and not only managed to get the rest of my shredding done (the last of three boxes), but I also marked a few things off my to do list. Most importantly, I finished stitching my block on Kathy's RR. Kathy asked for a beach theme, and requested that one block contain a lighthouse. I chose to stitch Bent Creek's The Lighthouse on Snapper Island (from the Summer Snapperland series). I made some changes, including making the lighthouse red and white instead of dark brown and white. I took out the sailor, and replaced him with the crab from Whalehouse (of the same series). Isn't the crab cute? Here's the whole thing so far...

I hope she likes it!

I was able to get back to stitching on Baby Garden last night. I got a lot done on the row I'm working on, but I am really going to have to stitch fast to get it finished this month (which is my goal). I'll have a progress photo next time. Over the weekend I received my Silkweaver Fabric of the Month. This month's pieces are Dust Blue and Summer Meadow.

I also received my fabric and embellishments to stitch Bent Creek's The Red Thread series. My friend Sherri and I are going to be SALing on this beginning in January. I ordered the first two charts as well. And since I am nearing the end of my Shepherd's Bush ornaments, I needed to get the silver charm for the last one - it's a moon, so pretty! I stopped in at my LNS on Saturday and picked up one of the two threads I need for my last two SB ornaments (one had to be ordered), and while I was at it, I picked up the threads I didn't already have for the first two Red Thread charts. I hope that you all like seeing the stash photos. I've caught some flack about them, and hope that most of you (like I do on your blogs) enjoy seeing them. I think the person that mentioned it was more pointedly indicating that I spend too much money on stitching, but whatever. I guess if you're offended by my "extravagance", you don't have to look. So, here's your warning...look away now.

And, since you haven't had enough (or have you), here are more Philadelphia photos. I was asked if these were taken by me, and the answer is that some are by me, some from Eric. Eric is a wonderful photographer, and is much better at getting shots like the one of the Chihuly, which was in a dark room, with spotlights, and of course glass reflects. In this set, I took the photos at Elfreth's Alley, the other two were Eric's.

This is Elfreth's Alley, the oldest continuously occupied residential street in America, dates to 1702.

Aren't these the greatest houses? I love the colors.

We also went over to Penn's Landing, and sat and watched the boats and watched the sunset. It was such a great evening. On our walk back to the car, we stopped at this little soda fountain called The Franklin Fountain. We both decided to have Cherry Bombs (chocolate ice cream in cherry soda). MMMmmmmm!

That's all for today! Next time I'll show you Valley Forge.

I am grateful for another productive weekend.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Tesori and More Philadelphia

Thanks for your comments on my last post. I always appreciate putting something I've been thinking about "out there" and getting a positive response. Last night I was on my own again, so I stitched more on Tesori. I am working on the Lazio region block. I have three more motifs to stitch on this block. As you can see, I've started on one of the three. Eric is on his way home today, so I will be glad to have him home tonight. I'll be back to stitching on Kathy's RR tonight, and hope to have it finished this weekend, as it's due to be mailed out next week.

That's about all I have to show you today, so I thought I'd post some more Philadelphia photos.

We, of course, visited the Liberty Bell while we were there. I felt a little like I was in that movie National Treasure.

We also visited Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed.

The art around Philadelphia is amazing. A lot of pieces that I studied in my 20th Century art history class are here. The LOVE sculpture, for example.

Also, Claus Oldenburg's 45-foot high steel Clothespin. Unfortunately there was construction going on in this area, so you can't see the bottom of the piece, but I thought it was a cool photo nonetheless.

We also ducked in to the Curtis Center to see the 15 by 50-foot glass mosaic mural, The Dream Garden, by Maxfield Parrish and Louis Comfort Tiffany.

And, of course, I couldn't miss seeing the Chihuly. (Which reminds me, I should really go downstairs and take a photo of the Chihuly we have in our building). This is the 20-foot-tall red glass sculpture, Flame of Liberty. It is housed in the National Liberty Museum.

Here's another building on South Street (same street as the tattoo parlor). Several of the buildings were covered in mosaics, and they caught the sunlight so beautifully.

Hope you all have a great weekend! I'll try to get around to blogs more today and this weekend. Bear with me - you are all doing some amazing things! Also, I've posted some photos of my Thanksgiving decorating and my new curtains over at the other blog, cozystyle (link in the sidebar).

Walk to Rivendell: Camp in Chetwood, east of Archet. Head east. Ground dropping slowly. Quiet and peaceful. (Total Miles Walked: 153.25)

I am grateful for Eric coming home!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

To Be Real

Well, I was all excited to show you the progress I made on Tesori last night. Unfortunately, I uploaded the wrong photo of it (I ended up with the last update on my thumb drive, not last night's). So, you'll have to hang in suspense for a little longer. I finished up the motif I'd been working on and did one other. Tonight I should be able to make further progress. The week of craziness at work is almost over - I've been frantically trying to get my end of year stuff done (since I have to get all my accomplishments into my boss this week - which seems a little premature since it is not the end of the year). I hope to get back to my blog reading soon!!

To answer a couple of questions from my last post... no, Eric doesn't read my blog unless I make him (like to read all the wonderful birthday wishes you left for him). So, I am relatively safe discussing Tesori and other related gift items. I have two other friends that occasionally check in on the blog, but other than that - no one in my "in person" circle of people reads this. Maybe that's for the best. And although Baby Garden is a gift too, if I didn't talk about it on the ole blog, what the hell would I have talked about for the past year. That's the majority of what I've stitched on!! So, if I end up outing myself for posting about gifts, so be it. I'm gonna keep on keepin' on.

Secondly, several of you asked about the Taco Soup recipe. It can be found here. It is yummy and I have it with me for lunch today! And you might as well mark it down on your calendar that I have cooked twice recently. That's a big deal!

Yesterday I read a book (yes a book in a day, wonders never cease). I read Crazy Aunt Purl's book and thoroughly enjoyed it. I do enjoy her blog more, but this was of course condensed and intended to tell the story of her journey since divorce. My only hang up about the book was that she ceased to refer to her ex as "Mr. X", which I thought was more appropriate than the name he is referred to in the book. But that's just me. The book though made me really think a lot (which is maybe not the best thing to be doing when your husband is several states away). What I love about Laurie's blog, which I may have mentioned before, and her book is that I can so totally relate to what she went through. When my own Mr. X joined a cult and up and left me (no I am not kidding), I went through a lot of the same things that Laurie went through. I didn't gain weight so much after or because he left, but gained it while we were married (65 pounds to be exact). I was completely trying to hide, to be unnoticeable, to insulate and protect myself - I was miserable. His leaving was the best thing that ever happened to me really, although there are times it didn't seem like it. Like when I was home alone in my little one bedroom apartment, and all my friends were with their families (husband, kids), and I felt I had no family. I spent an entire weekend winding all of my DMC onto those little plastic bobbins in order to try to shut out the loneliness. When I got to the point where I was ready to start dating again, I had no single girlfriends to turn to, so I traipsed through that mine field alone. But, it was better than being married to someone that I didn't want to be with, but was with for the sake of being Married. The only regret that I sometimes feel is that I wasted so much time with my Mr. X, and that when I met him my life took a complete detour. It's like I was on the highway of my life, and I got off and stopped at this truckstop for 8 years. Now I am back on the highway. I just sometimes wish I had those 8 years back. But, 8 years earlier I would not have been the woman I am now, and probably woudn't have found Eric. 8 years earlier, he would probably not have been the right person for me either. So, it all happens exactly as it is supposed to, and I do completely believe that I create my own reality. So, I hope that I have learned some of the things I set up in that situation to learn. Some of them I am still learning. I still struggle with discounting myself and not wanting to be seen. I still find that it is so hard to take good care of myself, because somewhere deep down I still feel like I'm not worth it. But, I am working everyday on trying to take care of myself. I quit smoking seven (almost eight) years ago. I take my vitamins every day, and try to make myself drink water. I watch what I eat (except for between 2 and 5 at the office - that seems to be my weak time and I seem to lose all control of what I put in my mouth). I workout four times a week at the gym. I've lost 35 pounds of that 65. I'll still have a ways to go after I lose that, but losing that 65 is so important to me. I count my lucky stars that this month marks five years that I have been divorced. I also cannot express the gratitude I have that I was able to be the woman that I became after 2002, and that I found someone like Eric who appreciates it. And now, like I said, I am still facing new challenges. I am trying to really live in my life, and not just go through the motions. I am trying to really make our house a home, and be grateful for the people, things, situations in my life. I am trying to be healthy and have my outside match my inside. I am trying to be able to fit in my boots that zip up. So, once again, I find myself grateful for Laurie and her willingness to live out loud and tell the truth and also to pick herself up and be fabulous. I'm working on it.

Ok, so now that you've gotten yourself an earful about stuff other than stitching, if you're still around, I'll reward you with some photos of Philadelphia. Since we are getting ready to take our trip to NY, I figured I'd better get on the ball and finish sharing these with you (yes, there are still more).

The photo way up at the top of this mucho long-winded post is outside the Betsy Ross house. In the center of the courtyard there is this little well I guess, and on top of it is this fabulous cat statue. The house above is the Betsy Ross house. I really enjoyed the tour of the house and I liked some of the detail and information they give you about textiles at that time.

We also visited the Masonic Temple, which was such a cool tour. It was like taking a walk through art history. Each meeting room is done in a different style - Egyptian, Medieval, Renaissance, Greco-Roman, etc. And our tour guide looked a little like John Cleese, and was so intelligent and witty.

A door-knocker. I thought these were so cool.

It was a little difficult to get good photos in there because of the lighting, but the place is really amazing.

Look at this ceiling - golden stars.

So, I will leave you with that for today, and hope that I have not scared away everyone with my "thinking". It's just an interesting place to be. I've been through so much of what Laurie recounts in her book, some of the things she is experiencing I have not experienced and may never. I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like to go to Paris with three girlfriends. I cannot imagine what it is like to have three girlfriends. Ah well. I have a good life, and as I become a better me, we'll see what's out there.

Breathe, and reboot.

I am grateful for the voicemail waiting for me at this office this morning.