2011 Cross Stitch Finishes (Picture Heavy)

The last few months of 2011 saw me stitching a ton. I decided early on in the year that I was going to give Cross Stitch for Christmas gifts this year. I had long ago purchased the kits/materials for 3 of the pieces, it was just a matter of me getting them done!

I started stitching in April, and quite quickly finished this piece for my Grandmother: (I must have missed taking a “final” picture, as I sewed buttons between each section in the final piece).

Once that was done, I started stitching on this next piece. I stitched on it for about 10 days in April and May, and then picked it back up in October – finished it on October 29th, 2011. This was for my Parents, and depicts the day they got married, and their initials.

I then did a very quick stitch for my BFF, Melissa. I finished it up in just a few days.

My next finish was for my other BFF, Jill. Her and her family graciously keep my dogs while I’m away on business travel. I will forever be indebted to them! I finished this one in the middle of November.

In November I began a SAL (stitch-a-long) with some girls on Facebook for this next piece. Anyone who knows me, knows I love sunflowers! When I saw this pattern, and found out about the SAL I had to do it! I finished it Thanksgiving weekend.

And, I also finished a couple of ornaments (at least the stitching part), in December. These are part of a set of 24 that I’ve collected for the past 2 years from Little House Needleworks Ornament of the Month series. My goal is to try to finish at least one ornie a month from here on out!

Fa La La:

Pear Tree:

I diligently worked on another piece for most of December, and into the New Year, and finally finished it last night for my first 2012 finish, but as the intended gift-ee reads my blog, and they have yet to receive it for a few more weeks, I can’t post a picture yet. Once it’s been delivered I will post it though! Those who follow me on Facebook will know what I’m talking about!! :)

Stamps 4 Sale!

Hi everyone!

Long time no post! Oops!

Traveling is still going … I’m in Illinois right now! I was going to go into Chicago this weekend, as I’ve never been there, but it’s been so hot and humid (heat index of up to 115 degrees) that I decided to forgo that trip and hang out instead.

I spent last weekend with a group of dear friends scrapbooking for the weekend! It was great fun, and Amanda, Nicole and I even took a break Saturday morning to go see the “brunch” showing of Harry Potter. For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook you know my opinion on the HP movies, but I have to say, this last movie was really good! (If you like Rom-Coms I highly recommend Friends With Benefits as well – saw it yesterday it was definitely a cute movie!)

I’m in “organize” mode these days. I’m going through my “stash” and taking a hard line one what I have versus what I NEED. In that vain, I’ll be throwing some stuff up for sale, starting today. For now, I’m starting with about 15 or so stamp sets, but once I get home, I will be adding more to that page! If you’re interested in anything, just let me know!

For Sale!

May Your (MY) Way!

The Sisterhood started a new Challenge for May … May Your Way!

I’m a few days late in joining in, but figured it would be a good way to set some goals for myself for the month of May!

So, my May goals:

  • Journal my food … good, bad, and ugly
  • Blog at least 2 times a week (I missed April all together – OOPS)
  • Make a new recipe at least once a week, and blog about it
  • Starting tomorrow, May 6th, accumulate 200,000 steps throughout the rest of May. That’s 8,000 steps a day minimum. Melissa came up with that goal and I LOVED it (she started the 1st of May though and is shooting for 250,000 steps).

That’s about it! If you’re interested in reading more about the Challenge, I’ve added a button on the Right to the Sisterhood!

I have a ton of pictures to post, more scrapbook pages to share, and more stuff in general to talk about. I go home tomorrow and will be home for 17 days (w00t), so I’ll be catching up on my Blogging while I’m home! Stay tuned …

The “List”

Tomorrow is the 1st day of April.

We’re already a 1/4 of the way through 2011. So crazy! The last several months have gone by really fast. I’m sure a lot of that can be attributed to the fact that there have been so many changes in my life – great changes!! I’m happy with my job, I’m happy with where I live, and I love that I live in a town where I have friends close to me again! I forgot how nice it was to be able to get together with someone with NO notice!

Anyway, off track.

A new month. What is it with new months? It’s kinda like Monday’s for me. It always feels like a good time for a new start. And if the first day of a month falls on a Monday? Even better! Of course the next time a new month starts on a Monday isn’t until August. Can’t wait that long. So, I’m going to appease myself with the fact that tomorrow is the first day of a Quarter as well! Totally irrelevant, I know, but it makes me feel better m-kay?

In a previous post I mentioned a “list” – and putting the fact that I make a habit of eating at drive throughs on this “list”. This list is a list of things that I need to work on to make myself healthier and even happier.

My goal for this new month, and new quarter (HA!), is to work on this list and create new habits that stick. The thing is, I have to be realistic about it. I spend more than half of any given month in a Hotel. That’s just a fact of life for me. It means that I’m going to eat a certain amount of foods in a restaurants. I just have to make better choices. It’s possible, I just have to do it. It’s not even about learning to make better choices – I know what I should eat compared to what I shouldn’t eat. I’m an “expert” when it comes to that. But knowing and implementing are two very different things, as most of us know.

Without further ado, I present to you The List:

  • Drink a minimum of 64 oz of water each day
  • No pop – not even diet
  • No fried foods – because of the eating out I will be doing, this is the best compromise I can make, but I think it’ll make a difference
  • Track my food, regardless of how much or how little – track everything
  • Do some sort of exercise – whether in the Hotel “gym” or in my room w/ a DVD
  • Order non-fat at Starbucks, its so simple, but it’s not something I remember to do
  • Take my Vitamins daily!
  • Have beef only 1-2 times a week. Choose chicken and fish otherwise.
  • Check in weekly on the Blog w/ a status update on the above List

For now, I think that’s all. I’ll likely add to that list as I go, but for now, it’s a good start.

Till next time!

Hawai’i Scrapbook – Hanauma Bay

Well – over the past couple of months I’ve had the opportunity to work on my Hawai’i Scrapbook (you know, from my October 2008 vacation – oops). And guess what? I finally finished it! w00t! To be fair I do still have some journaling to finish on the last 10 or so pages, but I did all my jouraling on the computer for this scrapbook, so I’m just going to have to sit down and take the time to finish all that out!

I realized as I was going through the pictures I took before I left that I thought I had already shared the Luau pictures, but had only actually shared one of those pages. I’ll have to take pictures of those when I get home though!

So for today I’m going to skip to the snorkeling pictures! We went to Hanauma Bay early one morning for snorkeling. Melissa had never been snorkeling before, so we were looking forward to it. While the breeze was up, and it wasn’t the perfect day to snorkel, we still had fun and it was totally worth going to the Preserve!

The pictures aren’t the best, but I was in a hurry! LOL

This is a picture of Melissa! And then some of the fish we saw – it was pretty murky cause of the wind and rougher water.

And finally this last picture when we were leaving. You can see in the top left picture the hill that we walked down to get to the Bay, well, we decided we weren’t walking up it! We took the handy-dandy Tram ride up! Overall it was a great day!

Canada, eh?

The entire month of March for me has been spent in Canada.

My first trip, earlier this month, was back to the same customer I had been with in December. It was a week of follow up training and went well. Of course it was snowy and cold the whole time I was there, but I suppose I should have expected it right? It’s still winter … in Canada!

As I was driving home one night I saw this little area on the side of the road. I had to take a picture. I’m bummed, because of course the picture doesn’t do it justice, but I thought it was so beautiful. There usually isn’t water in that little valley, but it obviously had melted off and flooded and then froze again! So pretty!

I was home for a little over a week after that trip! I worked on the continuing project of organizing my scrapbook room (I’m getting closer!!) and then on the Saturday before I left we had a get together with a bunch of gals and did a card-making exchange and spent the day scrapping and card making! It was a lot of fun and I’m so glad we did it – can’t wait to do it again!

This brings me up to my current trip! I’m currently in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. Surprise, surprise – it’s cold and snowy here! (That’s why the snow is still on the Blog!) It’s actually supposed to stop snowing though in the next couple of days and warm up to like 9-11 degrees Celcius (that’s 48-52 degrees F … rule of thumb to convert C to F, double it and add 30. It’s not exact, but close enough).

Lethbridge has a lot of history here! They are an old coal mining town and at one time it was the biggest city in the Western part of Canada. That’s not something I would have ever guessed with cities like Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver being out this way!

Anyway, here are some pictures from this past week to share!

I flew into Calagary from Vancouver and drove from there down to Lethbridge which is around 2 hours. On that drive you drive through a town called Nanton which is a Historical town. It has a Bomber museum there (I’m not sure if they built the Bombers there, or not) and there are a couple of Bombers mounted outside! It’s pretty cool.

When I arrived at my Hotel there was a bit of a mix up with the reservation, but they fixed it and made it right. When I got to my room I had to laugh at the sign that had my room # on it. Stop? or Welcome? Which is it??? :)

And this is the inside of my room, though it’s pretty dark, it’s still pretty nice. I love the big desk in the middle of the room!!

As I was driving through the little town where our customer is located (about 10 miles west of Lethbridge) I got stuck behind a train track. For like 15 minutes. I was bored, therefore you get this picture for your viewing pleasure!

On our first day at work here, we had lunch at Ric’s Grill in the Lethbridge Water Tower. About 10 years ago they stopped using the Water Tower and decided to convert it (the 2nd link has information on the conversion).

Here’s a picture from our window seating:

And finally, as I was driving around town yesterday after work, I saw the train going over the train trussle through the Valley here. Down below is a bunch of historical sites and trails. If it gets warmer and nicer I want to check it out next Saturday after work!

So far, that’s about it for this trip! Like I said, I want to check out some of the Historical stuff in regards to the mining and such, so hopefully next weekend I’ll have some time for that. Also, I’m driving to Calgary on Sunday to visit my good friend Vikki! I’m really looking forward to that!!

More later!! :)

Missouri Catch up!

Oops – I got a little behind and never posted the rest of my pictures from my February trip to Missouri!

So Jill came out and joined me for the last week of my trip in February! She had never traveled to a customer site away from home before so it was definitely a new experience for her! So much fun! :)

Work went really well and it was great having Jill there! We were scheduled to fly out on the following Saturday, but not until 6pm at night or something like that. So we had all day to kill. We went and found a local Archivers, which we hadn’t been to before as they aren’t Local where we live. We both ended up buying some things!! Definitely would go back again if I could.

Then we made our way down to downtown St. Louis and The Arch. We didn’t have time to actually go to the top of the Arch in the little Pods, but we got some pictures from the outside, and went down inside and went through the store and museum! I’ve been there before (almost 10 years ago now), but it’s still crazy being there. It’s HUGE.

Anywhere, here are some pictures to share!

And I’ll leave you with one more picture – that does require a little bit of explaination. We were working in Fulton, MO. This town is all about Winston Churchill. They have a restaurant named Sir Winston’s, which serves really good BBQ by the way. This restaurant even has a huge cutout of Winston on their wall. It’s a little odd. Apparently Churchill gave his famous Iron Curtain speech at the University there, as he was given an honorary degree. Interesting stuff! Anyway, this is the front of their menu! I thought it was appropriate!


Today was a travel day for me. I’m in Ontario for the week.

I don’t eat a lot on travel days until AFTER I’ve arrived at my final destination. And I admit, most of those times, dinner involves a drive through. It just does. It’s a habit I need to break … and it’s on “the list”.

I ran through McD’s on my drive to the town I’m staying in this week. As I’m perusing the menu, and I assure it’s quite a bit smaller than it is in the US, I came across something that couldn’t possibly be right. I had to order it. Evil. That’s all I have to say about it. Thankfully it appears to only be a Canadian thing (at least, when I looked at the US McDonalds menu it didn’t appear on it).

For those interested, WWP+ = 8. Yeah, you heard me right. E.V.I.L.

Pictures from Missouri

Here are a couple of pictures to share.

Yesterday I took a bit of a drive (ok, ok … I went to Starbucks … what are you gonna do??), and saw this and just had to turn around and take a picture. When I first saw it there were two geese standing on top of it, but when I got back the geese had flown away!

And from today, when I drove over to St. Louis to pick Jill up, I looked down and saw this:

I actually saw 75 degrees at one point, but couldn’t get a picture of it! It’s February people! When I got here 10 days ago there was 18 inches of snow on the ground! It’s completely gone! Crazy-ass weather here in Missouri!

How far would you drive?

So, I’m spending most of this month in Missouri. And for the most part it’s not been bad. When I arrived last week the temps were in the single digits and low-teens but quickly warmed up to the mid-50′s. It’s been a little chilly in the mornings, but not completely horrible. There was about 18 inches of snow on the ground when I got here.

As of today, and the nice high temperature of 70 degrees, there is very little snow on the ground except the piles where they moved all the snow from the roadways! It’s insane.

My coworker left today, so I’m on my own for a few days until Jill (friend extraordinaire, puppy nanny, and coworker) comes in on Sunday and helps out next week! The job itself is going really well, and I’ve been thrilled about it. The only bad part is that they smoke IN the place of work! So not good. Not only am I not a smoker, but I’m also allergic to it as well – and I have asthma. Luckily it hasn’t been bothering me too bad health-wise (other than some random coughing and eye watering)! However, I hate that all my clothes smell like smoke, and worst of all, I can’t seem to get it out of my hair. What’s up with that??? I even went and bought some good shampoo, and shampoo twice each time and let it sit for several minutes before rinsing. If anyone has a good solution for getting that smell out of hair – feel free to pass them along!

So, back to the original topic of this blog post. How far would you drive? Today I asked myself that question when I got wanting a Starbucks real bad. For those that know me, I’m not a coffee drinker – but I do love my Chai Tea (Iced Venti thank-you-very-much). When I’m home, I’ll have one every other day or so. If there was one in the town I was working in, I would likely have one for breakfast every morning! But the last few towns I’ve been in haven’t had one close at all. The closest one to the town I’m working and staying in is about 25 miles away. After pretty consistently having a headache since I’ve been here (from the smoke) I decided that I was going to find the Starbucks tonight after work.

As I was drinking my yummy Iced Chai on my drive back I had to laugh at myself when I realized that I just drove 50 miles round trip for a $4.25 20 ounce drink. I wouldn’t drive half that distance to do something actually healthy for myself I realized. Heck, there’s a mini-gym in the hotel 3 doors down from my room, not more than 20 feet, and I haven’t been in there one time this trip! I even brought the clothes with me to do it. I just haven’t.

So, how far would I drive to be healthy? The answer should be as far as I need to. And I realized tonight, that the answer has never been that. I’ll drive 50 miles for a Starbucks, but won’t walk 20 feet for my health. There’s something inherently wrong with that picture, and something that I need to fix.

How far would you drive??

And now, on a lighter note. I asked one of my BFFs if she had read my last post. She proceded to tell me that when she was going through her blogs mine seemed a bit wordy with very little (actually NONE) pictures so she marked it to read later when she had more time. So, just for her, here are some pictures!

I got this picture on the second to last night in Iowa as I was driving back to the B&B we were staying at. The sunset looking crazy beautiful, and while the picture doesn’t do it justice, you get the idea.

A few miles up the highway from the Hotel in Missouri right off the main highway is this store! OMG! This store was so cool. We stopped and went through it last Sunday, and I swear we spent an hour in there. It’s just a little tourist trap type store, and it has every knick knack, toy and trinket you could think of! It was great fun!

And finally, I need to give Benny his due! I took this picture of him on the couch the last time I was home! He will sleep in the most crazy looking positions he can find! So adorable!

Feeling fatigued?

I finally got off my butt the last time I was home and scheduled all my Doctor appointments that I hadn’t had in awhile – Dentist, Eye and Physical. Fun, fun.

I don’t go to the Dentist until next month, or the Eye Dr until later this month, but I did manage to re-establish with my Family Dr and RN that I was with when I lived in B’ham before, so that was good.

Everything looked good, and of course she wanted to get a blood draw. I had my blood drawn Tuesday morning of this last week figuring I wouldn’t hear back from them for several days. Imagine my surprise when I got a call while I was in the Seattle airport Wednesday morning waiting to fly to Missouri!

She told me that everything looked great, except one thing. I figured she would say something about cholesterol, I mean come on, let’s be honest. But nope, that was just fine. My triglyceride level was a little high, but that was likely just due to eating too much processed food (ugh). Nope – my thyroid tsh level was showing on the high side, still in the normal range, but high. That was a concern because when I was filling out my family history for them the previous week at my physical I had written down that my Mom had thyroid issues.

Now, when I saw she had thyroid issues let me be clear. It was not happy times right before she figured out that she had thyroid issues. I think we all thought she was going a wee bit crazy, including her. (I love you Mom!!!) So when they told me that my thyroid levels were reading high I wasn’t pleased, and I of course immediately called her and threw blame squarely where it belonged!! LOL She of course tried to spread the blame to her Mom and my Dad’s Mom – because apparently they both had thyroid issues as well. So basically, I’m in a no win situation. Thanks family! :p

I have to go back in 8 weeks and have my levels checked again and meet with my family Doc when those come back in.

I was finally feeling pretty good about that doctor appointment, when I get a call from the Nurse again on Thursday with MORE results from my bloodwork. Apparently one test takes a bit longer than the rest to return. That test would be for D3. My D3 levels came back QUITE low. I think she said 14.1, where normal is 40-70. So, for the next 8 weeks I have to go on high dose replacement therapy (50,000 international units 2x per week) and then have my blood tested again and meet with my family Doc. Deja vu anyone?!?!?

I’ve spent the last 2 days trying to get a prescription filled locally – not an easy task. And of course the pharmacy here doesn’t actually carry D3 because they don’t have the issue here like we do in the Pacific Northwest, so they have to order it in. It’ll be in on Monday – but not ONE pill of 50,000 IU, FIVE pills of 10,000 IU. *sigh*

When I look each of these issues up, both of course have several symptoms, and they share quite a few in fact. The one that stood out was FATIGUE.

Mom has been telling me for weeks that I needed to go to the Doctor because she was worried about me. When I asked her why, her answer was because every time I talked to her I would say how tired I was. I chalked it up to never being home and having poor sleep habits.

Moral of the story? Always listen to your Mother. She’s probably right. Damn.

Cross Stitch Update

It’s been a few days.

I’ve found that when I’m at home on a break from work I tend to hibernate. And that’s not a bad thing! I like being at home. It’s nice. I got together with some girlfriends one night and we just worked on whatever we wanted – I worked on scrapbooking. I’m really close to being done with my Hawai’i 2008 scrapbook and I’d like to finish it hopefully the next time I’m home. I’ll post some of those pictures when I get home again – I didn’t take pictures of my completed pages.

I did finally deliver my Grandmother’s Christmas presant to her last week when I was off. I hadn’t seen her since Christmas and headed over to Quincy and Tri-Cities for a couple of days last week.

I stitched and framed this for her:

She quite enjoyed it, which is nice.

I’ve moved on to a new stitching project. This one isn’t a gift for my Grandmother, but a gift for someone else. Here’s a peak at how far I’ve come on it:

This is the outside border and finished it will be around 13 inches square! I’ve commissioned my Dad to make a frame for it, so hopefully it’ll all be done LONG before Christmas! :)

I’m spending these days in Missouri, while it technically isn’t snowing right now, it’s cold as all heck (around 0 degrees last night). Luckily it’s supposed to warm up by Saturday and be in the 40′s and 50′s for hopefully the duration of my stay! Plus it’s going to be sunny, and apparently I could use the Vitamin D. More on that later though!

One last picture to share tonight, and then I’m off to bed. Last week when I was dropping into Sunland, I saw this beautiful eagle sitting on the ledge above the river! It might be a bit blurry since I took it on my cell phone at full zoom.