Gratuitous kid pic

Not a great scan, and I can’t find the orig­i­nal, but it is one of my favorite pho­tos of her at that age.

Katie playing dress-up

Now run off to get your own free Zooomr pro accounts, folks!

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SBQ: Framing and glass

This week’s SBQ:

When you get a project pro­fes­sion­al­ly framed do you get glass insert­ed into the frame? Why or why not?

smoke damaged cross-stitchI’ve post­ed some notes from an attempt to save one piece that was not framed with glass. I was a teen, in high school, and didn’t see a need for glass at the time.

smoke damaged cross-stitchMy father smokes, and that piece isn’t ever going to real­ly come clean after 25 years of hang­ing in his den. I was suprised that I man­aged as well as I did.

smoke damaged cross-stitchSo now, yes, I get glass every time. While I don’t smoke and won’t (can’t, even if I want­ed to, due to aller­gies and asth­ma) live with any­one who does, I find it impor­tant to pro­tect the pieces. You can’t always pre­dict where one will end up, and after I’ve put so much love into some­thing, it’s worth a few more dol­lars to add the glass.

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My heart has been stolen!

By a dark, blue-eyed stranger who walked up to me last night. He looked into my eyes and I was gone!

Ninja Kitty

We think he’s about 8 weeks old. He’s very skit­tish right now, pre­fer­ring to stay out of sight and away from Shel­ley unless there’s crack wet food in ques­tion.

Shel­ley is NOT amused.

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SBQ: Stitching habits?

This week’s Stitch­ing Blog­gers Ques­tion is:

Since you start­ed blog­ging, have you noticed any dif­fer­ence in your stitch­ing habits? Tell us about them.

Blog­ging hasn’t real­ly changed my stitch­ing habits, but I haven’t got­ten to know a great many oth­er stitch­ing blog­gers — yet 🙂

When that hap­pens, though, I expect that it may have the same effect that sub­scrib­ing to rec.crafts.textiles.needlework did back in 1995. I dis­cov­ered Q-Snaps and Ott Lites and new tech­niques and fibers and fab­rics! And there were design­ers who actu­al­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed in the news­group!

I’d been stitch­ing for over a decade then, but r.c.t.n. sparked a peri­od of growth and renew­al that has con­tin­ued to this day. I’m excit­ed about the new inspi­ra­tion I’m sure I’ll find from read­ing the blogs of oth­er stitch­ers!

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TEDTalks

You actu­al­ly want to go watch Hans Rosling talk. You’ll need your sound on. If you ever need to give a pre­sen­ta­tion of any kind at work, it should count as “how to do it” train­ing. Even if you don’t, go watch. You’ll enjoy it, and this is good stuff to know.

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The Challenge and a challenge/invitation

A few days ago I referred to the Change Your Life Chal­lenge, but I didn’t real­ly explain much, as I was in a bit of a rush at the time. I’ve been so excit­ed about it, too, that some part of me thinks that of course every­body knows what it is!

Not so, sil­ly Cyn.

So let me back up, and explain a lit­tle more about WHY I want to do it, and why I’d think any of you would have any rea­son to plunk down mon­ey to do it, too.

Every morn­ing, no mat­ter what else my email brings, I know there’ll be an uplift­ing mes­sage from Brook Noel. I’m hon­est­ly not a big fan of most gener­ic affir­ma­tions or inspi­ra­tional newslet­ters, but some­how Brook’s dai­ly Good Morn­ings don’t annoy me. They avoid glurge, and I fre­quent­ly add her quotes and affir­ma­tions to my Pop­Up Wis­dom file.

I first “met” Brooke through her book, The Change Your Life Chal­lenge, which I found at a local book­store a few months ago. I learned that the book is actu­al­ly based on a suc­cess­ful online pro­gram, looked it up, and was intrigued. It promis­es to teach:

  • A step-by-step sys­tem for con­quer­ing clut­ter and keep­ing your home clean
  • How to recre­ate the din­ner hour and man­age meal­times
  • How to make time work for you —instead of against you
  • How to dis­cov­er and live by your core val­ues and beliefs
  • How to imple­ment the sim­plest “diet” in the world
  • The “key” to nev­er for­get­ting any­thing
  • How to improve your rela­tion­ships with the “5-Minute Mir­a­cle”
  • How to end pro­cras­ti­na­tion
  • How to imple­ment a bud­get and man­age your mon­ey
  • And much more!

I was wor­ried because of the “70 day” part, though. What busi­ness did I have sign­ing myself up for yet anoth­er cal­en­dar-bound thing that I’d end up hav­ing trou­ble with?

Well, I list­ed to Brooke’s pod­cast last Mon­day, and she hap­pened to say that if she could go back and change any­thing, she would reti­tle the pro­gram as “A 70 STEP Life Makeover Pro­gram” and toss out the idea of tying it to the cal­en­dar. For­ward motion is impor­tant, but mak­ing it fit your life is more impor­tant.

So yes, the Chal­lenge is very much doable for any­one, includ­ing those of us who have chron­ic ill­ness­es. It’ll be even more so in a small group of women who under­stand each other’s issues.

So here’s my chal­lenge: I’m going to begin the 70 Step Chal­lenge on July 15. I’ve set up a pri­vate group for any­one who joins up to do it with me. You’ll have all the nor­mal (exten­sive!) sup­port of the orga­ni­za­tion — there are thou­sands of peo­ple on her lists! — as well as a chance to build friend­ships with­in a small­er group of peo­ple in my group. We’ll do some chats, set up “bud­dies,” and use oth­er tech­niques to help each oth­er suc­ceed. We won’t get tied up in rush­ing through the chal­lenge as much as in work­ing it with a sense of bal­ance.

Won’t you join me? I’d love to get to know you bet­ter, and it’s always good to have more friends and a bet­ter sup­port net­work.

I’m tak­ing the Challenge.….are you?
Take the Change Your Life Chal­lenge:
A  70 Day Life Makeover Pro­gram for Women


If you join through this link, I’ll be informed and will invite you to the pri­vate sup­port group with­in 24 hours. I do hope to hear from you soon!

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They’re STILL here!

Wait — did I men­tion it? No, because I was try­ing not to whine.

We’ve had con­trac­tors here for weeks and weeks, repair­ing the bath­room that was slid­ing into the crawl space.

No, real­ly. I have pic­tures. The floor was falling in, and the toi­let and sink were slid­ing in from one side, the tub from the oth­er.

There had been a crack on one of the tiled walls that was poor­ly repaired before we moved in. Some­one had tried to fill the crack with grout. That crack start­ed open­ing wider and wider, then we real­ized it was because the floor was get­ting low­er beneath it.

Turns out there was a long-time water leak in one of the walls that led to struc­tur­al dam­age. That got togeth­er with a whole lot­ta cracked floor beams, and thus we had the dance of the porce­lain enti­ties.

Any­way, that doesn’t explain why the con­trac­tors are still here after weeks. Espe­cial­ly why they’re here on a Sat­ur­day, and want to return tomor­row. Much less why they didn’t show up at all yes­ter­day (or call to say they weren’t com­ing), then called at about 6:45 while we were out hav­ing din­ner to let us know they were on the way to grout the floor tiles. Right then.

The head guy sound­ed sin­cere­ly sur­prised when I said no, and stuck with the no. Maybe that’s a nor­mal Fri­day night for him, but it isn’t my idea of a good time. Sam and I went on with our evening, much to the contractor’s dis­may. So they’re here today, instead. And will be here tomor­row morn­ing. And maybe Mon­day, too.

I’m mak­ing allowances for them find­ing a lot of unknown dam­age and hav­ing to sis­ter most of the beams under the liv­ing room and kitchen. I’m also not­ing that Mr. Bigshot didn’t see that dam­age when he did his inspec­tion, so he didn’t do a very good job of it.

Yesterday’s lack of time­li­ness is typ­i­cal, though. There have been sev­er­al days in a row with absolute­ly no sign of these guys (when they said they’d be here), and no excus­es or expla­na­tions when they return. IF I can get hold of them, I’m just told, “You nev­er can tell in this busi­ness, man.” You can’t tell what? How late you’ll be out drink­ing each night? Whether you’ll be too hung over to work ‘til 2 or 3pm? Whether you can afford gas to get to work?

In any case, the com­pa­ny won’t get a good ref­er­ence from as, as you can prob­a­bly tell. I didn’t hire them, so I can’t fire them–the land­lord is in charge there.

I did insist that I’m not clean­ing the car­pet they soiled, even though they offered me mon­ey to do so. My body isn’t up to it.

After they’d hope­less­ly ruined the car­pet, I made sure the land­lord knew it–so we’re sup­posed to get new car­pet in the liv­ing room and hall, too.

But I real­ly want these guys out­ta my hair!

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Stitching Notes

First, I’ll answer this week’s SBQ:

What do you do with your charts once you’ve stitched them? Do you keep them or dis­pose of them? If you keep them, do you orga­nize them in a way that is dif­fer­ent from the way you keep your unstitched charts?

I keep them. ALL of them. In fact, Sam has point­ed out that col­lect­ing charts should be con­sid­ered a hob­by in and of itself, sep­a­rate from the actu­al stitch­ing. If I could dis­play my love­ly pat­terns some­how, I would.

Next, I must Squee! For I’ve been asked for an orig­i­nal cross-stitch design for a book that’ll be pub­lished this com­ing year. I’m so tick­led! I’m not telling more than that, but it’s all pro­fes­sion­al and every­thing.

And final­ly, that was the impe­tus for anoth­er change. I’ll announce it in the next week. It’s a sur­prise for now 🙂

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The ManDiet

I have referred to The Man Diet sev­er­al times as some­thing I have done and rec­om­mend. After explain­ing it sev­er­al times, I’ve decid­ed to write it up here and just refer peo­ple to the arti­cle.

I call it the Man Diet, but that’s real­ly a mis­nomer. It should be an SO Diet or Rela­tion­ship Diet or some­thing like that. It just doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as well, so just take it as giv­en that I’m refer­ring to women, men or who­ev­er you would nor­mal­ly have romantic/sexual rela­tion­ships with.

There was a time when I went from one rela­tion­ship to the next. If I didn’t have one or more SOs, I felt incom­plete. I didn’t have incred­i­bly healthy rela­tion­ships, but I was sel­dom alone! I derived much of my self-esteem from being in rela­tion­ships with oth­ers.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, that led to “set­tling” for peo­ple who didn’t real­ly meet the stan­dards I thought I want­ed in sig­nif­i­cant oth­ers, and often to accept­ing treat­ment that ranged from unpleas­ant to down­right abu­sive.

Right now, I do not tru­ly remem­ber what trig­gered the real­iza­tion that I’d nev­er have a tru­ly healthy rela­tion­ship if I felt that I absolute­ly had to have a rela­tion­ship with some­one oth­er than myself—that, in fact, cul­ti­vat­ing a healthy rela­tion­ship with myself, being com­plete in myself, was vital.

I didn’t think all that out so clear­ly at the begin­ning. I was just tired of the crap. I was tired of going from one rela­tion­ship to the next and hav­ing the same crap come up over and over again. I was tired of the mer­ry-go-round. I didn’t hon­est­ly count on hav­ing any more sig­nif­i­cant oth­ers. I just decid­ed that I was done. I swore off men for a year.

At the begin­ning of that peri­od, I felt anx­ious. I felt lone­ly. I felt more than a lit­tle des­per­ate, because hon­est­ly, I have nev­er been alone unless I chose to be that way. I’d spent my life using rela­tion­ships to avoid hav­ing to deal with my own issues in a deep way. If I hadn’t told sev­er­al friends what I was doing and asked them to help keep me hon­est, I don’t think I would have stuck with it.

In the next few months, I seemed to meet poten­tial SOs every time I turned around. It was tru­ly rain­ing men! That was dif­fi­cult. It was real­ly tempt­ing to just make a lit­tle excep­tion, because hey, he was just so nice! Or so smart, or fun­ny, or what­ev­er. But there’s noth­ing like true friends to kick your butt when you need it.

To be hon­est, I’ve nev­er had a prob­lem deal­ing with most prac­ti­cal things—balancing check­books, basic home repairs, even sim­ple auto main­te­nance. I didn’t need a man to take care of any of that. No, I looked to SOs to keep me com­pa­ny, to keep me occu­pied, to suck up lots of ener­gy. I felt beau­ti­ful because they said I was, because they want­ed to be with me.

So I found oth­er ways to use my time and my ener­gy. I went out with friends as friends. I devel­oped new friend­ships that were much bet­ter because I wasn’t putting any­thing into won­der­ing whether or not the rela­tion­ship would move into oth­er areas. If nobody else want­ed to go see a par­tic­u­lar music event, I went alone.

I final­ly faced up to some of the issues I was avoid­ing when most of my ener­gy was going into inter­ac­tions with an SO—like why did I need a man around to feel worth­while? Why did I accept treat­ment that I wouldn’t want any of my friends to accept—that I had, in fact, told oth­er peo­ple to walk away from? Why wasn’t I hold­ing out for the kind of per­son I want­ed? Hell, why hadn’t I sim­ply become the per­son I want­ed?

While I was real­ly count­ing the days at first, by the end of that year I didn’t even real­ized it was done. I didn’t think about it until a cou­ple of months lat­er when a friend men­tioned it. Hey, it was over! I real­ized that I didn’t feel an urge to run out and start any­thing new. I was just fine with being me, with­out a man.

I won’t pre­tend that I’m all past all of that stuff. It comes back at times, but not near­ly as strong­ly. It’s much eas­i­er to insist on the kind of treat­ment I deserve from an SO, because I don’t fear being alone. I can be alone, and be hap­py. Not a prob­lem.

I think spend­ing at least a year alone as a tru­ly inde­pen­dent adult is a good idea for absolute­ly any­one. If pos­si­ble, live alone. Be sole­ly respon­si­ble for your­self finan­cial­ly. Devel­op a healthy social life that has noth­ing to do with whether or not you have an SO. Do any­thing you’ve been putting off. Were you wait­ing to take a vaca­tion until you had some­one to go with? Go now. Go back to school. Change jobs. Vol­un­teer. Learn to dance. Just do it, and enjoy it.

Dur­ing that year, prac­tice celiba­cy. That means not only do you not have SOs, but you don’t have “friends with ben­e­fits” or one-night stands. Just be with your­self. Hon­or your­self. Love your­self. Treat your­self as you would some­one you tru­ly trea­sure.

Tell some­body what you’re doing. Tell peo­ple you can trust to help you con­tin­ue on to your goal. If some­one isn’t sup­port­ive, dis­tance your­self from that per­son. I don’t care if that per­son is an imme­di­ate fam­i­ly mem­ber. You need to main­tain bound­aries, and you don’t need any­one tear­ing you down. Seek out new friend­ships with peo­ple who are sup­port­ive.

It may take some peo­ple longer than a year to get past the “ohmigod I’m gonna get old and be ALONE!” pan­ic. That’s fine. Take what­ev­er time you need. I promise that you will be health­i­er and hap­pi­er for it. The world, and all the men and women in it, will still be there when you’re ready.

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I want to do this

Change Your Life Challenge Logo

I’ve thought about it for about a month. I’ve bought the book and looked it over. I decid­ed that I real­ly need bud­dies to do it with. Any­body will­ing to go through the pro­gram with me?

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