Monday, October 11, 2010

A Wonderful Find and a Peek (I really HAVE been stitching!)

Look at the beautiful book I found at the bookstore this past week!  It actually never made it to the sales floor, cuz I found it (thanks Amy!) right after it was unpacked in the sort room....It's by DK publishers, who publish such beautifully illustrated books.

The examples of stitches are so large and easy to follow.This is going to be such a great resource for learning new stitches and possibly trying something besides counted cross-stitch (in my old age, ha!)

I just love how life-like the pictures are!

Oh yes, I have been stitching. I'm afraid Crypt Club has taken a back seat to Robyn and Tom's anniversary sampler. Can't give away too much, cuz she reads this, but here's a snippet:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Table is Set

The table is set, and it's on to the big-haired lady guest. Still haven't tackled the waiter's right arm, as it's mostly 3/4 stitches, and I really need to fully concentrate on that! It doesn't look too promising that this will be finished for this year's Halloween. I have been pretty occupied with my genealogy blog, and also working on a secret anniversary sampler for my sister Robyn and her husband of 25 years Tom.

Am taking an R & R day today. Being on my feet all weekend at the bookstore does take its toll. So looking forward to going home to Maine in mid-October - a much anticipated break!

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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Two Legs, One Arm

Look how pretty my friend Vickie's table was during our recent stitchy night. She is so talented, and, lucky kid, is retired, so she can really be creative. We had a blast!

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After a delicious dinner of top-your-own baked potatoes, salad, and cupcakes, we sat around and caught up with what everyone was working on. Here's my progress on "Crypt Club":

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Four Seasons FINISHED

My Four Seasons is finished at last. I am very pleased with it - think the colors really pop. Am headed over to Northern Kentucky tonight after work to spend the evening with the stitching gals - a rare night off for me.

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Stop by my "just-started" genealogy blog if you have a minute. Since dad's passing, I have been collecting more and more memories and gems from the folks, and have wanted to document everything in one place for a while now.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It was a dark and stormy night...

There aren't too many nights when I don't shed a tear or two lately, either from missing Dad, or being exhausted, or just being lonely. It was around 2 am, as I was wiping my face with my bedsheets, when my cell went off. I was thinking it must be my alarm, as I fumbled to unplug it from its charger. The voice on the other end was Eric's, saying my name and telling me that she had no injuries, that he had just seen her in the ambulance, and that I should not "freak out."

And yes, thank God, she was fine. Not even a scratch. She didn't realize she'd even hit the utility pole until the trooper mentioned it in the ER, as he cited her for failing to control. It was probably a combination of losing sight of the edge of the road and hydroplaning. No distractions, except for the new Emimen cd playing. One flip, and she was hanging upside down by her seatbelt, reaching for her phone. Coins (saved up for tolls for the NYC trip) were everywhere, all over the road, mixed in with the broken glass in the car - yeah, they'd broken all the windows to get her out.

She'd only made one payment on the car, and you don't want to know what IT looks like. Unscrewed the Maine license plates and left it. No wallet - never found it. Cancelled credit cards, scrounged around for documents to get a OH driver's license, so she could get the loaner at Enterprise. Oh, did I mention I got a ticket (!) picking up her HS transcript at Mason Central School Dept. (wrong way on the one-way - screw Mason cops!). Had a few things on my mind....

And now she's left this morning with Eric, to take him back to Juilliard, and then back to Maine, and hopefully a fresh start. I know I could use one.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Carrying On

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Ok, so I'm listening to "Carry On" by Crosby, Stills, and Nash (remember them?), from the soundtrack to Patch Adams. I had originally obtained this cd off SwapaCd, just for the first track, "Faith of the Heart," by Rod Stewart, a song which ended up being VERY hard to find - why I don't know.

This week I have been learning more about my new Palm Pre, and downloading a TON of apps. I got the phone just a couple of days before Dad died, and spent that drive through the night (listening to a Yankees/Red Sox game on Yankees Network radio stations across New York State - UGH!) just learning the basics of sending texts and receiving calls (Smart Phone 101!) A very stressful time to learn about your new phone.

Well, let me just tell you, this phone is SWEET! It's catalog of apps is nowhere near as extensive as say the iPhone's, but I have found some that will come in quite handy.

Steph is home for a few days. Of course, she is making the rounds of seeing old friends and chilling. She deserves it. She worked extremely hard to earn her degree, and REAL LIFE will catch up to her soon enough.

Nate came down the other night. He is getting a lot of hours, and looked pretty beat. It was good to see him. Hard to believe he will be 26 next month!

I am listening to audio books now (The Given Day, Matterhorn, The Passage, The Road) while I stitch, and have begun the arduous task of backstitching Four Seasons:

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I hope this finds you enjoying your summer days. It is extremely hot here in SW Ohio, and that means Yours Truly stays inside. The yard is totally overgrown and full of weeds, but there is simply no time. Life seems to be settling down somewhat, after a Spring of life-changing events to be sure.

I wish you peace, and above all else:

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

A-Readin' and A-Stitchin'

Just popping up to say hi to all. I am doing the back-stitching on the Four Season Windowsills below, and will post a pic soon. Daughter is all graduated, and I am off to eastern PA this weekend to nephew Kerry's graduation from high school.

Also, to follow up, I have just made a killing at the library's booksale, on Audiobooks !! Thanks Shelleen for the great suggestion. Got my software all downloaded to get the free (!) e-books from the library as well. Now I'll be able to read and cross-stitch simultaneously - heaven :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Eyelids Up

One of my greatest frustrations is finding time to read. But with working two jobs (roughly 60 hours a week), and trying to stitch a little each evening, it's nearly impossible to keep that stick-to-it-iveness that the big thick juicy historical novels I love require. I have recently, however, stumbled upon a couple that just may keep my eyelids in the up position: Dennis Lehane's The Given Day and Karl Marlantes' Matterhorn.

Be forwarned. I have, I suppose, pretty unique reading tastes for a 50-something single gal. No apologies here for loving gritty historical fiction, even gorey, bloody, wartime stuff.

You know Lehane from his many books made into film, Mystic River,
Gone Baby Gone, and, most recently, Shutter Island. The Given Day has all of promise of being another page turner, one of those two family sagas, set in Boston (my town!) at the end of the first world war. I read the Prologue on the plane back from Maine last week and I'm hooked, a vignette of Babe Ruth witnessing, and then participating in, a Negro League pick-up game. It is a narrative that rings so true with its racial tensions that you feel instantly vulnerable, like another layer has been pulled back.

I also recently read the NYT Book Review piece on Matterhorn, by Karl Marlantes, a novel of the Vietnam War. Apparently 30 years in the making, it is destined to be the classic fictional account of what the Vietnam War was like to fight, with telling parallels to our present quagmire. Let me just say that about a dozen pages into mud, fog, and leaches, and I am totally there.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Husband, Father, Grandfather

Dad passed away on Easter morning. We are all still filled with sorrow and loss, but feel so fortunate to have the love of family and friends, which is such a comfort. I want to share the words spoken at his service by his only granddaughter, my daughter Stephanie. Reading them cannot convey the poise and grace with which she spoke, but her words, as well as the words of the two pastors, give you a true sense of the man my father was, and always will be, in our hearts.

"Everyone has their own definition of what the ‘perfect man’ should be. To me, what truly makes the perfect father, grandfather, husband, brother, son, etc., is a man who fulfills those roles without asking questions or second guessing himself. That was exactly how my grandfather looked at life. The other day our family sat down with our minister and he asked us questions about grandpa. He asked us if we thought there was anything my grandfather had wished he had done in his lifetime that he never got to. As I sat back and thought about this question, it occurred to me: Richard Seavey lived the dream. I honestly believe he never thought he would get from life what he did and therefore, he left this world with no regrets. I guess you could call it a blessing in disguise, but my grandfather was a bit na├»ve; a wife and family that loved him dearly was more than he ever could have dreamed of. He woke up every day with a smile on his face and a kiss for my grandmother…it was as simple as that. That’s what my grandfather was: a simple man.

As for me, I never really had a father. Not one that cared enough to stick around to figure out who I really was anyway. I watched my friends’ relationships with their fathers grow as I waited patiently for summer to arrive and I could see my grandfather. I don’t know if he ever knew how much seeing him meant to me. In his arms I was grandpa’s little girl and I felt invincible. On our summer trips to the ocean he would carry me on his shoulders out into the water, and although I couldn’t touch ground anymore, it didn’t matter. With grandpa I knew I was safe.

As I got older and the grandkids followed suit, I realized how special my grandfather was. In high school I brought friends with me on my vacations to Maine, with the added bonus of meeting my crazy grandpa. He would sit at the dinner table and tell and retell and retell again my favorite stories. Although we had heard these stories thousands of times before, sometimes I would sit back in my chair and think, ‘I’m gonna miss this when it’s gone’.

I am lucky enough to say that I know I was, and will always be, loved unconditionally by my grandfather and even though he is gone, I know he’ll always be looking down on me and have a hand on my shoulder. It hurts me to know he won’t be there to see his only granddaughter, grandpa’s little girl, graduate college in May. Although he never went to college, he was incredibly proud of all of my accomplishments and never hesitated to tell me how he felt. Whenever I came to my grandparents’ house for a weekend away from my hectic college life, I would walk in the door and he would immediately start chanting the Maine Stein Song. I have pushed myself to be the best person I could possibly be for the past 22 years of my life and it goes without saying that my grandfather was quite influential in that matter. In May, and for the rest of my life, I will walk with a smile on my face knowing I have made my grandfather proud.

I was asked by my cousins to speak on behalf of the grandchildren today and it’s a hard task to sum up how we all feel in a few words. What I do know is that we are lucky. We are the six luckiest children in the world to have grown up with a man like him to look up to and to share memories with. On a day like today it’s hard to think about anything but what we have lost, but I would like everyone to remember what we gained through this man. We learned values, gained insight, and most importantly, shared laughter with him. All of which can never ever be replaced. I am incredibly happy to know that my cousins, five very special boys and men, will have the memories of my grandfather to turn to when they have their own families. If they take even one attribute of my grandfather with them into their family lives, I’m sure they will be successful husbands, fathers, and grandfathers.

There’s no one in this world that could ever take the place of such a beloved man. Although he was many different things to many different people, and each grandchild loved him in their own special way, throughout his life, I know that being a father and grandfather were the roles that truly completed him.

Grandpa, thanks for being who I needed you to be, sometimes without even realizing it.

On behalf of your six grandchildren, we send our love to you and we want you to know that you will be dearly missed but remain forever in our hearts."

Stephanie Claire Schaffner, April 8th, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day by Day, Stitch by Stitch

As you can see, I have finished "Winter." I have actually made fairly good progress on "Spring," but haven't taken a photo yet. This has been an enjoyable project. I love the colors, and am now very pleased that I stuck with the raw linen that came in the kit.

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We visited with my dad earlier this month. He is at one of six Maine Veterans Homes, in Scarborough, not very far from the house at all. We met with two case workers there, and the social worker and M.D. at Southern Maine Dialysis. These people are angels on earth.

All of us have every confidence that they know my dad's health and mental issues fully. We are dealing with mid-stage dementia, chronic renal failure due to diabetes, and, now, a large rapidly growing inoperable carcinoma which extends from his lower back muscles to his abdomen. He is in increasing pain, and has, since our return, not been able to complete the four-hour dialysis on a couple of occasions. He is asked every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, is he wants to go, and, if he doesn't, they don't force him. Ultimately, this will decide things.

But we all were able to visit with him, tell him how much we love him, and tell him what a good dad, and grandfather, he is. He still recognizes us, and enjoys seeing everyone, as much as possible. Aside from my brother and his family in Topsham, we are all out of state, so this has been extremely stressful for my mom, and I try to call her every day. They have been married for almost 55 years.

I am planning on going up for Steph's last concert (The UMaine Symphonic Band at Merrill Auditorium in Portland) in mid-April. Of course, we do not know how much longer he will be with us, but we are leaving it in God's hands. As prepared as we think we are, a light will go out in our lives very soon.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Treasure from the World of Stash

Some of you may remember a 123'er showing off her "seasons" wall in the Friday Finishes a couple of years back. Like alot of others, I fell in love with one in particular, a Dimensions "From the Heart" kit called Four Seasons. I remember a frantic search on eBay, etc., and then made a brief start on it. It remained a WIP for quite a while, until I recently came across it in a pile beside my stitching chair. I need the "mindless" routine of a kit right now, in the midst of dealing with my dad's recently diagnosed cancer. I love the colors in the design and am enjoying settling down with this each evening during the Olympics.

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Summer and Fall are done, but for the backstitching:

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Here's what the kit looks like, if you want to hunt it down:

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sailors' Knots is FINISHED

This is where the payoff is, I suppose. When you can't recount how long ago you began a project (I know it was a stitchin' night at Creative Cottage in Madeira - wow, how many years ago THAT must be, since the shop's been closed for a bunch of used to be a monthly treat back then, now just a fond memory, with all but one area shop gone out of business....but I digress). Still, it's never a good idea to try to start a KIT at a stitchin'; just too many distractions, and too much gossip to listen to. So, I'd brought it home barely started (somewhere in the clouds), using the wrong shade of blue I realized later, when I pulled it out of my stash, and took it up again. It's taken two summer trips to Maine, and alot of patience on those sails, but here it is:

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Still here....

Just a quick post to show my progress on Crypt Club (see prior post). It is really a fun stitch, albeit a lot of BLACK and A LOT of 3/4-stitches (which you can see by clicking on the pic) ....

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Yesterday, I had the whole day off so it was re-watching almost all of Season 2 of Damages, cuz Season 3 starts tonight, and backstitching on Knots.