Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Snowball Has An Allergy

My middle cat Snowball has an allergy and a sinus infection. He is on eye drops, antibiotics, and children's liquid Benadryl. Did you know that children's Benadryl is on backorder at all of our pharmacies, and so I had to get a generic version? I bought the Walgreens' generic, cherry flavored. I called Snowball's doctor to make sure that the cherry flavor would be o.k. for him. It is. I didn't know that cats could take children's Benadryl (or a generic). Snowball's doctor said that cats and dogs cannot take Tylenol (acetaminophen), Ibuprofen, or Pepto-Bismol. Aspirin is deadly to cats. Snowball's eyes are not running much anymore, and he is not sneezing as much now. Thank goodness for good cat doctors.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Pictures and Musings

For any of you who follow my blog, you may think that I am obsessed with rabbits. I'm not really; it's just that I have so many, and they come so close to my house that I'm able to get a lot of pictures of them. Oh, o.k., maybe I am obsessed with them. Anyway, because I have so many rabbits, I have to adjust my gardens around the rabbits. For example, the vegetable garden is fenced in; my side flower garden is fenced in, and most of my flowers are in containers. I also have many lilies because I have found that rabbits don't eat lillies. So, here is one of my little friends. He's just sitting on my patio beside of my flowers having a peaceful moment.
"I'm just sitting here peacefully enjoying Jon Lee's patio. She doesn't bother any of us; she just takes our pictures. Plus, there's plenty of grass and wild flowers behind her house to eat."
Here is a close-up of one of my yellow lillies. I have purple ones that should bloom next week.
Here are my raspberries blooming. If you look carefully, you can see the raspberries being formed.
I love pentas. They are so delicate and feminine.
Here are my dark pink and white variegated wave petunias. They are doing quite well in my container (in my fenced side garden).
My yellow summer squash is starting. I love it when it's fresh and small.

Paul McCartney

I saw Paul McCartney many years ago at the old Rosemont near Chicago when he was with Wings. I feel fortunate to have tickets to see him again, but this time at Wrigley Field in Chicago in July.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Can You Spot The Bunny?

This little bunny hid in my lily leaves and decided to eat some longish grass for his dinner. You can barely see his little body through the leaves. He comes back every afternoon and runs around and then settles down to eat some dinner. Before long he'll be all grown up.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Reading a Good Book

Today I have spent some time considering the art of reading. I am currently reading The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes by Marcus Sakey. It is good, even though the "F" word in used too much for my taste. The story is intriguing, and the blurb on the back of the book states that two of Sakey's books are already scheduled for movies. Do I sense a movie in the Daniel Hayes' book? Perhaps.

I am also reading A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines. My son recommended the book to me for my students to read this upcoming school year. It is excellent, well-written, and thought-provoking. There is definitely going to be a lesson for me to learn in this book.

Is that to say that one book is worthwhile, and the other is not? No, of course not. There is a time and a place for different types of books. It's fun for me to read whodonits, and I will admit to being totally enamored of M.C. Beaton's Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin books.

However, the other side of the story is what Barbara Kingsolver, author of the fantastic novel (and one of my favorites) The Poisonwood Bible, said about reading (and I paraphrase), when you have a world with Middlemarch (by George Eliot) in it, why waste your time reading a book you don't like?

And I think that is the answer. If you like what you're reading, you're not wasting your time, whether it is an old classic such as Middlemarch, a new classic such as A Lesson Before Dying, or a good summer read such as The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes. The important element, at least to me, is that a person reads and reads often.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Birds and Flowers

I love all the birds that are around in the spring. Here are some pictures of the birds around my house. I have also taken pictures of some of my flowers. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Here is a male cardinal in the tree behind my house.
This is the female cardinal at my bird feeder.
Two adorable baby robins are looking for food.
My purple clematis blooms early.
This is a close-up of the dark purple blooms on my clematis.
This is a New Guinea Impatience.
This is just a sweet bird singing in the late afternoon.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Raspberry Bushes and Flowers

I tied up my raspberry bushes. I have one from my mother's raspberry garden, and the other ones I bought. I am hoping to get some more raspberries this year.

This is my garden statue. I have named her Violet Rose. The clematis behind her usually has a lot of blooms.

Here are some of my flower containers. I love wave petunias. They do quite well here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lily in Chicago

My son and I went to Chicago yesterday. I saw this beautiful lily blooming outside of the train station as we were waiting for our train that we were going to take to come home. There were quite a few flowers all around the outside of the train station. We sat along the lillies and drank our Starbucks. It was a nice, peaceful day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Stitching or Reading

I was reading Tanya Anderson's blog at The Sampler Girl. She was writing about her goal of reading fifty books this year and how that has affected her stitching time. That got me to thinking. If you had a choice, would you stitch or read? Sometimes at my stitching nights with friends, we have table questions. One of the questions often asked is if you had to give up stitching or reading, which one would you give up? Most people at my stitching nights say reading. I have to say I would give up stitching. Reading is a passion that I don't think I could live without. Thankfully, I don't have to make this choice. What do you say?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Becky and Max Progress Update

I've worked a little more on Becky and Max. I have about two hours planned tonight for stitching. It's a simple little piece, but a lot of fun.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What's Old is New Again

These are some of the patterns that I have in my stitching library. I also rediscoverd a Judith Kirby Victorian Winter House (not pictured) as well as a great Liberty and Justice and Apple Annie by Imaginating.

I recently checked out a book from the library titled Howard's End is on the Landing by Susan Hill. It is a non-fiction book, and the premise behind the book is that the author was looking for a book, and in searching through all of her books (she couldn't find the one she wanted), she realized that she had so many books, and as she put it, "I wanted to repossess my books, to explore what I had accumulated over a lifetime of reading, and to map this house of many volumes." In other words, she decided that over the course of a year, she would only read books from her own library. She had two caveats to this. One was that she could borrow academic books from libraries, and the other was that she could read some of the books that literary editors sent her. This got me to thinking about my stitching. Now, I could never, ever, give up my weekly trips to my public library (I'm a library person and check out six to eight books a week, and I read most of them), or to Borders or Barnes and Noble (Sometimes I browze; sometimes I buy). However, in finding an old pattern last week, Becky and Max by Kindhearted Woman, I realized how many patterns I have, not to mention threads and fabric. I have decided, and I have given it some thought, that I will only stitch what I have for the next six months. At the end of six months, I will evaluate what I have accomplished and what I still have. I am then going to give away what I'm no longer interested in and continue to finish what I still have in my stash. In terms of threads and fabric, I will use what I have on hand except in the unusual case where they just won't work. Then I will allow myself a purchase to finish what I already have in terms of a pattern. I have three caveats to this decision. They are:

1. I have already signed up for With Thy Needle and Thread's Mystery Sampler, Birds of a Feather. I will of course purchase the remaining two patterns.

2. I will be attending a Weekend Stiching Event in August. I will work on two new projects for this week-end. I have already paid for this event, so it will not be a new purchase.

3. I will buy Primitive Betty's new Old Schoolhouse Sampler. I have been following her progress on this pattern. I am a teacher, so this pattern intrigues me.

Other than these three caveats, I am going full steam ahead with only patterns, fabric, and fibers I already own. I am not a super stitcher nor a super-fast stitcher. I have some friends who stitch more projects in a month than I do in a year, but I am going to try to do this, and I think it will be a motivating factor in enjoying the patterns I loved enough to buy and not adding to a stash that has become too intimidating to work on.

I know I will save quite a bit of money and also finish some beautiful patterns I already own. I'm sure this will not be attractive to many people, but I think it will be quite fun.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Jessie Rose Relaxes

My sweet Jessie Rose has a relaxing afternoon. She is such a baby and loves to have her belly rubbed. She is my youngest Maine Coon. She cries at the bottom of the stairs when everyone is upstairs, including her two brothers, Dasher and Snowball.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Becky and Max

Here is an update of my stitching project, Becky and Max, by Kindhearted Woman. I don't think she is designing anymore. I bought this pattern in 1996. Does anyone know anything about this designer?

These are my two pair of scissors. The scissors on the right are my favorite. My dear Mother bought those for me. I don't use them except in my own home because I am afraid I will loose them. The pair on the left are my stork scissors with a little red "jewel" for eyes.


I often feel nostalgic for my hometown in West Virginia. A Facebook friend of mine posted this picture of the river park on the Ohio River in my hometown. My little town is on the Ohio River. You can see the bridge connecting West Virginia to Ohio. I always see myself there when I think about my hometown. I love Illinois, but I think a little part of your childhood follows you whereever you go. The river looks so peaceful and beautiful. It's nice to have friends who post beautiful pictures of my hometown so that I can enjoy the memories.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Snapping Turtle

I took this picture of a huge, snapping turtle in my yard. He had obviously come out of the nature area for some night-time foraging. I took this close-up picture of him before he made his way back to the nature area.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Night Reflections

I took this picture as it was getting dark. I love the reflections in the water. The beauty around me is amazing.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

My Flowers

I always plant a lilac chiffon geranium. Lilac is my favorite color, so my garden is always heavy on the lilac and purple flowers.

This is a lilac Penta.

We had a heavy rain storm this afternoon. The rain looks cool on the leaves of my hosta.

My clematis blooms are almost ready to burst into flowers. They are so heavy this year that they almost touch my hosta plant.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Rose

To A Friend Who Sent Me Some Roses by John Keats

As late I rambled in the happy fields,
What time the skylark shakes the tremulous dew
From his lush clover covert; -when anew
Adventurous knights take up their dinted shields;
I saw the sweetest flower wild nature yields,
A fresh-blown musk-rose; 'twas the first that threw
Its sweets upon the summer: graceful it grew
As is the wand that Queen Titania wields.
And, as I feasted on its fragrancy,
I thought the garden-rose it far excelled;
But when, O Wells! thy roses came to me,
My sense with their deliciousness was spelled:
Soft voices had they, that with tender plea
Whispered of peace, and truth, and friendliness

Thursday, June 2, 2011

When You Live By the Bell

as I do for nine and a half months of the year, it takes some time to adjust to life without the bell. Yes, I'm a teacher, and I have my summers off. I love it; don't get me wrong, and I'm lucky, but it's a life I chose many years ago. I love teaching. It is a challenge and a joy. I never regret my decision to be a teacher. But sometimes living without the bell can be a challenge as well as a joy. The words summer vacation bring up memories and challenges. Summer is supposed to be a relaxing time where the days are endless and filled with summer breezes, summer heat, swimming pools; and the nights are long, lanquid, and spent around the porch sipping ice-cold lemonaide or tea. The realities of summer are often equaled to the other holidays where we are supposed to have perfect days just like the memories of our childhood and the images of greeting cards. I have to adjust to my summer life. I have many projects to do and books to read, but somewhere inbetween, I have at the side of my brain those three new classes I am going to teach; the textbook is in the spare bedroom. I can start my lesson plans now. But what about the self-imposed rule of not starting school lessons until after July fourth? But if it's self-imposed, I can break the rule, right? The plain fact is I love teaching and planning, so for me, summer is a time to reorganize for the fall. I still can work on those projects and read and enjoy summer days and summer nights, but maybe next week, I will look at that textbook and start reading and planning. And, yes, I will read Alias, Grace by Margaret Atwood, because I may add that book to my A.P. Class. It's sitting on the shelf and waiting for me. Right beside that book is A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. That is definitely a summer read for me. And, of course, I have my stitching. I always look forward to summer to stitch many projects, but I can't seem to get started. I think it's because I have too many, and I don't have a focus. My mind spins with all the pretty patterns and fibers and fabrics. I need to get back to the days of my stitching childhood, where I embroidered butterflies on my jeans and worked on one lovely project at a time, instead of creating a stash of projects I may never do. That is my goal. And with that in mind, I do have one that I plan to start to stitch tonight. What's old is often new again, and this is the case with my first project. I was going through some of my old projects and found one that I had always "meant" to do. I want something fun and simple without any letters or alphabets. I found Becky and Max by Kindhearted Woman. For me, this pattern is fresh and young and fun. I then want to stitch Finch Song by Shepherd's Bush. I have the fibers separated and labeled, thanks to my dear friend Barb. Perhaps those two projects and two books will take me through June. I always have my gardening. And that's where I'm headed right now. I need to work on my raspberry bushes. Some of them are quite out of control. Well, those are my ramblings for June 2, already.
Becky and Max by Kindhearted Woman is charming. I have decided to stitch this pattern on Silkweaver's 32. ct. Belfast Linen Meadow Mist.
I think this is a carefree and charming pattern to stitch in June.
Here are the lovely fibers that I get to stich with. I still need two more.
Finch Song by Shepherd's Bush is a beautiful sampler.
The fibers are really beautiful.
The button and charms that go on the chart are quite pretty.