Oct 28, 2008

Knicker Knotter #6 - HUH?

October is "National Protect Your Hearing Month." I think it's too late for the generations behind mine. And statistics back that up. People are losing hearing at earlier and earlier ages. Probably because they've had headphones or earbuds stuffed in their ears since they were old enough to stuff them in by themselves, and they are almost always turned up too loud. (BTW, if you have earbuds on and the person next to you can hear your music, your music is loud enough to damage your hearing.) They think loud is better.
I usually always wear my hearing aids out in public or when I am with another person. I feel more connected to the world that way. However, lately, I've stopped wearing them when I run errands in town. Mainly because just about every store I go into (and most restaurants) play music so darn loud that I end up turning them off anyway.
I have several marvelous conditions often associated with hearing loss. One is called "hyperacusis." This means that loud sounds sound REALLY LOUD AND ARE PAINFUL TO ME. That's why I turn off my hearing aids. Grocery "shocking" is bad enough without being in physical pain.
Everything is louder here in the college town I live near. The students are used to blasting their ears with sound, so this loudness is "normal" to them. There's one store I frequent where I can tell which manager is on duty by the volume of the Muzak. The college student has the volume turned way up; the guy my age has the volume much, much lower.
I bought a CD recently and the seller told me it was a great album and to make sure and "turn it up real loud!" Volume does not equal good music. Experiencing music is not dependent upon how loud it is. More bass is not better. But then, I'm a music and singing snob - what do I know? Uh, I know enough to protect what hearing I have left.

Oct 27, 2008

Molding away

Before you ask, yes, we still have cows. Yes, the neighbor came up to work on the fence. No, it is still not cow-proof. Yes, he will be up again this week "sometime" with some bobwahr to "fix it." No, I am not hopeful.
I have not stitched much at all lately. This makes me grumpy. I hope to stitch some this week. I have backstitching to finish on my WIP. No, I am not a backstitch hater - it doesn't bother me a bit to backstitch. Once the backstitching gets done, I will post a picture.
We are making progress on the house. Hopefully, it will go much faster now that bowhunting season is over and DH won't be gallivanting around the state hunting on the weekends.
This weekend, DH finally got all the door and floor molding installed in our bedroom. (Notice I did not mention the window molding; that will be done later. I SOOOO want to cover those pink studs!) I will be spending the next couple of days spackling the nail holes, caulking all the seams, and touch-up painting it all. Then I will remove all the various bits and pieces of construction debris and bring in some furniture! Only the bedroom furniture, but it is better than nothing! Yeehaw!
Unfortunately, this will not include my stitching chair. Yet. Soon, very soon.

Oct 23, 2008

The Bovine Conspiracy: an epic tale (or tail)

As always, I truly appreciate all the comments y'all take the time to make on this blog. I'm glad I can entertain you and hopefully put a smile on your face - you certainly put a smile on mine!
I have some weird connection with an alternate universe. It seems that every time I pick up my current WIP and begin to backstitch, cows appear in my yard. This does not amuse me.
When our neighbor came to get his cows, I learned that checking fences regularly is a main part of keeping them (literally). In fact, I helped him check the fences adjoining our properties for cow escape routes. Apparently, we missed one as the cows came back, and Socks (the black one with the white on her legs) was already down the driveway about 10 yards through our open gate when I spotted them.
Of the four cows, three are all black as they are Angus cows, and the fourth one is black with white splashes on her legs as she is an Angus cow mixed with another breed that I don't remember the name of. They are all cows (female), but are not heifers (cows who have calved). I figured since we were neighbors and that we seemed to see a lot of each other, I might as well name them. Of the four ladies, there's Socks, Baby (the smallest), Middlin (the middle sized one), and the biggest, Bossy (because when you walk with her, she'll nudge you gently in the backside with her head if she thinks you're not walking fast enough).
Well, once again, I had to wrangle cows. I grabbed the five-gallon bucket that DH and I have taken to leaving on the porch for cow emergencies, chucked a couple of rocks in it, and shook it at the ladies. Bossy, Middlin, and Baby all gathered around me. And since they were all around me, Socks came back into the yard to investigate, which was what I'd hoped would happen. I then sauntered down and shut the gate.
Next, I went back to the house and put on jeans and some shoes. Then I went out and led the ladies around to the back of our property, hoping to find where they had escaped. I stepped in cow poop a lot as it hides well in goatweed. I could not for the life of me find their escape route. After about 45 minutes of this, I went over to a different section of fence that could be opened to let the ladies go back to their own pasture. Middlin went right through. Baby was next in line, but I had to really sweet talk her to get her to come through. While I was talking to Baby, Bossy wandered down the fence about 20 feet and ambled through it near a tree. AHA!!! Mystery solved!
Once the other three cows were on the correct side, they mooed at Socks. Socks is suspicious of me (probably because I've poked her in the flank with a stick a few times lately). The other three will let me scratch them on the head. Anyway, after much mooing back and forth at each other, Socks finally came through the fence and I closed the opening.
Then I investigated the escape route. All of the fence around our property is in really bad repair. All the wooden posts are rotted and falling over, the few metal T-posts are falling over, and most of the barbed wire is either rusted apart and falling off the dubious posts, or is so loose that it can be conquered by cows. Our neighbor had a small stash of old hog panels (4' x 20' long steel mesh), so I grabbed one of those and wrangled it to the hole in the fence. That took me about ten minutes. I'll bet it weighed about 70-80 pounds. But I'm a strong woman and I was determined to remain cow-free. I got the panel in place and managed to get it to stay there.
Note to self: never wrangle cows without wearing leather gloves to handle barbed wire (bobwahr to us Texans), always carry a knife and some rope with you to repair fences, and a pair of pliers to bend bobwahr with wouldn't hurt either. Wellies would be nice for your feet so you don't have to scrub cow poop off your sneakers and wash them. Again.

Oct 22, 2008

It's a conspiracy, I tell you!

Yesterday afternoon, I settled on the porch to stitch for a couple of hours until I needed to get supper started. I had the laundry done. The dishes were done. DH had called to report that our neighbor would be sending someone out to tend to the cow infestation. There were no cows in sight. Stitching bliss...
Yeah, right. I got about 20 backstitches done when I hear, "Hallooo! Here cow, here cow! Anyone home?" A man appeared out of our woods from one direction, and the cows darted out of the woods from another direction heading towards him. Our neighbor had driven up from Houston to tend to his cows. I think he mostly felt bad because they were on our property again. Other than the cow pats and their presence driving the dog nuts, they really aren't that horrid (unless you step in a cow pat!).
I didn't get to stitch much, but I met our neighbor, learned a lot about cows, and learned a lot about some of the other neighbors (and yeah, a lot of them live in Houston!). And DH ended up with spaghetti and meatballs for dinner (my back-up cook-quick meal).
I'm a knowledge junkie, and I'm always willing to learn about something I don't know anything about from someone who does. And our neighbor, who rents the 62 acre pasture behind us from a guy who lives in California(!), is passionate about cows. So I picked his brain and learned a lot - at least about beef cattle; he doesn't know much about dairy cattle.
I also learned that it's best to wear jeans instead of shorts when tramping about an unmowed pasture. (Hey! At least I put on shoes!) And that you should not run in a pasture lest you step in a hole, lose your balance, and fall face first into a bunch of goatweed. And I learned that the nicely pungent-smelling weed I fell in was goatweed. It can be used in skin care products. ☺
Oh well. Maybe I'll get to stitch today. Uh huh.

Oct 21, 2008

Battling bovines again

DH returned late last night from a weekend hunting trip. He got nothing. The other two guys got nothing. Which means I will have nothing to put in my freezer. Although he saw a lot of deer, he only got one shot and missed. He is a grumpy hunter. And I am washing/drying mounds of grubby hunting clothes. (But he gets to fold them and put them all away!)
And the darn cows are back. I've been chasing them away from the front of the house for two days. There are cow pats everywhere. Darn cows. And the dog is completely obsessing over the cows being in her yard which is making me want to duct tape her to a wall.
In fact, I’ve already chased them twice this morning, once before and once after breakfast. Picture a short disheveled woman in a long bathrobe who is barefoot running across the dewy wet grass yelling, “Hyah! Hyah! Get out of here!” at the top of her lungs while brandishing a stick and leaping tall mounds of cow poop. Yep. That’s me. Scary, huh? ☺
We're trying to get a hold of the neighbor. DH is going to see if he can temporarily repair the fence this evening when he gets home from work. Of course, this means he has to persuade the cows to go over to their side of the fence. Yeah.
Thankfully, there only seem to be four of them right now, instead of the eleven we had trespassing before. And it means we have to keep our gate closed and open and shut it every time we need to leave or come back to our house. Darn cows.
And life conspired to keep me from stitching all weekend. I hope to stitch this afternoon between tending to loads of laundry. Hope forever springs eternal.

Oct 17, 2008

Long ramblings

No, this isn't my cat - I'm allergic to them. The picture was posted on a message board and I thought he was cute. It reflects my mood. Some days, you just want to bite a flower.
Yesterday, I wrote a long blog post, carefully edited it, checked it for spelling and grammar, added a picture, formatted it, and then somehow deleted the whole thing right before I hit "Publish Post." GAH! And no, I couldn't find it in "Drafts." Weird.
Hopefully, today will be better post-wise. WARNING: This will be a long ramblin' and rambly post.
Yesterday afternoon I made cookies for DH to take on his hunting trip. Every time my oven timer went off when the current batch was ready, my silly dog would run like mad into the utility room where we keep her food bowl and start gobbling her kibble like a starving dog. She does the same thing when my cell phone goes off. Silly dog.
I have stitched some in the last few days, but I want to get some backstitching finished before I post a picture. Also, it's been rainy, dark, and cloudy (glummy and grismal) here weather-wise which makes taking a decent picture difficult. And hence my biting-a-flower mood.
Being a "home-moaner" is a pain sometimes. Our 1000-foot driveway has a hump and a low spot about a third of the way in. The previous owner made the hump to raise the driveway out of a boggy area, and the low spot is "supposed" to channel away water from the bog. All that really happens is that every time it is actively raining, the hump gets slicker than greased snot and any car/truck attempting to drive over it slides off the side of the driveway into the ditch. The low spot fills with water and becomes a car trap until it dries out (usually after three to five days) unless you speed up right as you come off the hump. If it is not raining, you won't slide off the hump, but you still have to gun it through the low spot. It's quite exciting to drive on this section of the driveway - not for the faint of heart or light of right foot. Oh, did I mention that you have to make a 30-degree turn as you come off the hump?
Wednesday night, DH slid off the hump in the Jetta and had to call a tow truck. The planned work on the house for that evening didn't happen. Shucks.
While waiting for the tow truck, he slipped in the mud and fell, twisting his left knee. His PT wife and the Certified Orthotist guys at work who fit lots of knee braces on people with knee injuries all agree that he probably tore his ACL and a meniscus. Joy. He will "go to the doctor if it keeps bothering him." Uh huh.
DH and I have decided that the driveway needs attention. This will push back work on the house in other areas, but it will be cheaper in the long run than paying for a tow truck visit every time it rains. Oh well. Luckily, DH knows a guy who knows a guy with a bulldozer and does driveway work. We'll probably need to put down some caliche rock in that area also. But the bulldozer guy knows a guy that delivers caliche. :-)
Our fence is still not Emma-proof. Our friend came out to help DH weld it last weekend and although they had two wire welders, neither one of them would work correctly, despite them working on and with them all day long, and with a trip to Lowe's right before lunch. So he is coming back next weekend to try with a larger arc welder. I am still the dog's personal door-opening slave at this point.

Oct 15, 2008

Ornament stash in the mail!

I mentioned on a previous post that Drema at Needlecraft Corner sells ornament fabric cuts, button packs, and most of the specialty floss needed for the ornaments in the 2008 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments Issue.
Well, after deciding what ornaments I wanted to stitch, I placed an order. I received it yesterday. Last year, after trying at two different needlework stores and scouring the internet to find all the JABC buttons I needed (and not finding them all), I decided it was less work to order them from Drema. More cost effective, too as she charges exact postage.
Ornaments are about the only thing I'll use buttons on. Ornaments aren't out on the tree for that long, and I store them carefully so the buttons are protected. And DH and I usually like to get one new ornament every year. Lately, I've taken to stitching them.
The holly button and fabric are for M Designs' Bluebird of Christmas Happiness. The pile of buttons, and the Estaz floss and GAST wool floss are all for the Snowden ornament by Jemini Designs. I'll enjoy using the wool floss. Hopefully the Estatz won't be too difficult; it shouldn't be as it is all couched on the ornament. I'll post a picture when I get it finished. Someday.

Oct 14, 2008

"National Protect Your Hearing Month!"

Okay, this is mostly a stitching (and unexpectedly a house remodeling) blog, but as a hearing-impaired person, this hits close to home with me. So, you'll have to put up with me posting on this topic on occasion during the month of October.
Hearing loss is probably the least understood of physical "handicaps." When I tell people I am hard-of-hearing, I get comments like, "But you talk normally." Or, "But you don't use sign language." And, "Oh but you wear hearing aids so you're okay."
With my hearing loss, I am able to hear sounds, but I am unable to hear a lot of the sounds that make up human speech. I use many strategic coping mechanisms to compensate for this. And yes, this includes hearing aids. Hearing aids DO NOT replace lost hearing; they augment the remaining hearing.
At any rate, I could spend a great deal of space explaining hearing loss in detail as I have taken a lot of time and effort to educate myself regarding hearing loss - mine in particular - but instead I'll refer you to the links in the sidebar of my blog. These are all great informational websites on hearing loss and what to do about it. Of every 10 people who have a diagnosed hearing loss, only three are actively doing something about it.
If you think you might have a hearing loss, here is a Hearing Health Quick Test from the American Academy of Audiology: click here.
I'll be posting more thoughts and insights during the rest of October. But don't worry - this is still a stitching blog. And I spent yesterday afternoon stitching! I'll post a picture later this week.

Oct 12, 2008

I'm in pirate heaven!

I enjoy reading the 123 Stitch message board. It's pretty cool that several designers often drop by and post.
One designer, Sue Hillis, will post previews of new designs. If she is having trouble coming up for a name for a new design, she will have a contest for the name with the winner getting the new pattern free.
Anyway, Sue is on a pirate kick and has designed four pirate-themed designs in the past few weeks. (I collect pirates and have very few cross stitch pirates. Most of mine are figurines.) Yesterday, Sue posted this preview Santa pirate pattern that I MUST HAVE! I'm not a Santa fan, but this pattern is just so darn cute! And it speaks to my eccentric side. This is a Post Stitch pattern with charm that will fit in a 5" x 7" frame. It will be available by the end of October at your LNS or directly from Sue's website.

Oct 9, 2008

Lightening strikes twice

I was busy on Monday and didn't have time to post. Monday night or early Tuesday morning, depending on your perspective, we had a major thunderstorm. It was forecasted as a light rain. Right.
Anyway, on Tuesday morning I sat down at the computer to post to my blog and couldn't get the modem to connect. Turns out both my computer modem and our T.V. were fried. Whee. We have a T.V. antenna on a pole by the house, and the cable for it and the phone line come into the house at the same place in the wall along with the main electric power supply to the house. So either the T.V. antenna was hit, or the power supply; an unwanted power surge occurred.
Yes, I had a surge protector on my computer, but not one with a phone line protector. The new modem is now protected by a phone line surge protector. And the new T.V. (thank goodness for savings) also has a fancy surge protector on it.
DH is now talking about putting in a whole house surge protector when he finishes rewiring the house. I think it's a good idea!
I'm happy that nothing else was damaged. My computer was fine other than the fried modem. All's well that ends well.

Oct 5, 2008

Do you succumb to "gottahaveititis"?

Since I joined the ranks of cross stitchers who look online for supplies and patterns, I've greatly increased my stash (and my stash spending). Unfortunately, due to the many forms of enabling on the internet, I've also gotten gottahaveititis a few times.
Most of the time, my inner tightwad can overcome the gottahaveititis, but not always. For instance, I came across the many Brittercup Designs patterns of cats and kitties and fell in love with them. I decided I had to have them all. I bought them all. Then I actually stitched one. ACK! I found it very boring to stitch. (Note to self: always stitch at least one pattern by a designer before "collecting.") But I still think they're darn cute. ☺
And then there's Prairie Schooler. Now, I have stitched several of these and do enjoy stitching them. And since PS has many out-of-print (OOP) patterns, it is very easy to get caught up in PS acquisition frenzy. I admit to having several OOP Prairie Schooler patterns. I got most of them off of eBay.
But I've learned to be very careful. While I love PS, I don't love all of them. I try to only buy patterns that I like and know I will stitch (someday). I don't want to have patterns just to have them or to "collect" them. I learned that lesson with Brittercup Designs. And I'm a stitcher, not a collector.
Anyway, this was brought home to me when I came across an eBay auction for PS #6 Barn Cats. This pattern is very hard to find and OOP (and the auction had 20 minutes left with no bids). Well, I like PS and I like cats, so I started to bid on the pattern. Then I looked more closely at the larger picture in the auction. YUCK! I thought these were the most dorky looking cats I'd ever seen and would never waste time/materials stitching them!
So there are ways to avoid gottahaveititis, you just have to be aware of them. Most of the time I can avoid it. Most of the time. And for the other times, I plead the fifth.

Oct 3, 2008


Twenty-one years ago, I married my bestest friend forever! Through life's ups and downs, adventures in moving twelve times in 20 years, schooling, job changes, troubles and triumphs, through it all, I wouldn't change a thing. We are stronger together and I'm glad God chose us for one another. May we continue on in His will.
Matthew 19:4-6 (NASB): And He answered and said, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?' So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."
May the Lord grant us many more years together.

Oct 1, 2008

Saying goodbye to an old friend

Soon after DH and I got married, we bought a new 1988 Chevy step-side pickup truck. We were young and dumb and bought it on credit. It lasted us over 20 years. It had 227,000+ miles on it, burned and used a quart of oil every few days, clunked, rattled, had two black eyes, and it still ran. But not reliably.
So this summer, right in the middle of all our moving/remodeling frenzy, DH decided we REALLY needed to replace it when it started getting REALLY unreliable. Being repeatedly stranded by the side of an asphalt farm road in the middle of nowhere in the 100+ degree summer heat was not appealing to either of us. As we didn't yet have enough money saved up for a new truck, we bought a used one with the money we had at that point. And we paid someone to find it for us.
And before someone gets on the "ya gotta save gas and the planet" bandwagon, let me point out a few things. If you do remodeling, or own property with trees, or hunt a lot, you need a truck. You can't haul logs or brush to the dump in a VW Jetta, and you can't get a full sheet of sheetrock or a 50-gallon ice chest in one either (not to mention all the stuff a hunter seems to need to go on a hunting trip; it will fill the back of a pickup truck!). But I digress...
DH has a friend who used to own a car dealership. He still has access to all the dealer databases, so we hired him to find us a truck. We told him how much we wanted to spend, brand preferences, mileage wanted, etc. He found us one in about 10 days and then went and picked it up for us (it was in Texarkana, Texas). Best money we've spent in a while as DH really didn't have time to do all the legwork involved in looking for a used vehicle. That old time versus money equation again - our time remodeling was worth more to us than the money we paid DH's friend.
So now we have a new-to-us truck that is reliable and I had to say goodbye to Old Faithful, my dear old truck (painted Aggie Maroon, no less!) of 20+ years. By the way, the new truck is MINE. The truck is always MINE. DH gets the car; he likes cars better than trucks. Silly man.