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The Day…

  • Posted on September 22, 2011 at 12:36 am

I think perhaps the title should be “The Day That Shall Forever Live in Infamy” but that’s far too long-winded. I’m just going to go stream of consciousness with this one. I may typo, I may skip words and I’ll probably ending up changing tense. Repeatedly. Deal with it. Or move on. Your choice.

—–

So, today was the start of my first ever trip by myself. Yes, I am 35 years old and yes, that makes me sound pitiful, but I have never really had to travel anywhere on my own before. Then a user conference came up in Denver, Colorado for one of the software packages that I just started supporting. Two women I work with were going to be attending and it was going to be a fly in, stay two nights, fly by out kind of shindig. I figured, why not? This would be a great opportunity to prove to myself that I can travel and hold my own if I need to, right?

Or so I thought.

I didn’t sleep well at all. Woke up nearly every hour from the time I went to bed (which was late to begin with) to the time I had to get up to get ready and leave for the airport. I woke up to the alarm at 5 AM and realized in a sudden moment of sheer panic that 5 AM was the time that I had intended to actually leave the house for the airport, not be rolling out of bed!

Strike one.

I got ready in record time and managed to get out of the door half an hour later. We made it to the airport in normal time, so I was in okay shape, but late for meeting up with my colleague. I checked into the flight online and printed my boarding pass the night before. Great. Gate C28. Terry dropped me off at Terminal C. I get inside and go to call my colleague, only to find that I don’t have her cell phone number programmed into my phone.

Strike two.

I email her and she ends up calling me. I tell her where I am, she tells me where she is and then I realize that she’s in Terminal A. The new departure gate is A18. I now have to haul myself quickly across two terminals.

Strike three.

I get into the security line. It’s early in the morning, the line is moving faster than I had anticipated and I nearly fall over trying to pull off one of my boots in preparation for the checkpoint, falling against the person behind my in the process. As I’m standing in line, I break into a cold sweat, realizing that I have all sorts of shampoo, conditioner, hand cream, etc. in my luggage. I normally check a piece of luggage, so I’ve never had to worry about the liquids through security issue with the clear plastic bags and small containers. Awesome. I’m going to get totally hosed by TSA and get everything confiscated or, at the very least, have to check my garment bag. I figure, in for a penny, in for a pound, so I keep going. I get assigned to a line and start pulling out my laptop, etc. No more bins in which to put said items. I have to run across to another line and grab some extra bins. I’m now sweating like a pig because I am very flustered and expect to be mauled by TSA in a few minutes when my garment bag goes through the scanner. I walk through the x-ray machine. It beeps. Belt? Oh yeah. I have a belt on. I take it off, hand it to a TSA person, go back through the x-ray. Good. Start to pick up my things and realize that the garment bag has just made it through security without a second glance. Not sure what that says, but I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth here, folks.

Now here’s where it gets really fun. I put everything back away, put on my shoes and walk as briskly as possible towards Terminal A. Did you notice that I didn’t mention putting my belt back on? Really? Because I didn’t notice it, either, until I was nearly at my gate.

Strike four.

I finish nearly running to my gate, which is not just in Terminal A, but on the far end of Terminal A. I get there and sit down, with sweat literally dripping from me. My colleague shows up a couple of minutes later. I mention the belt, she looks at her watch and declares that I still have time to run back and get it before the flight begins boarding in 30 minutes. I sit and ponder this fact for a moment, then leave all of my baggage with her except my passport and boarding pass and head back to the security checkpoint at Terminal C. Get my belt, put it on, trot briskly back to my gate. Managed to do this round trip in 15 minutes. At this point, I’m so hot that my hair is soaked in spots. My colleague informs me that the flight is completely full and they expect to run out of room for the carry on luggage by the time they board zone 4. We’re in zone 5. Oh, and there are at least 4 children under the age of 2 on the flight. One of them ends up in the row right in front of us.

Strike five.

The good news is that we managed to be seated underneath the one overhead bin that wasn’t filled to capacity when we boarded. We sit on the tarmac for a while, waiting in line to take off. I’m assuming that the 0.5 mile visibility fog that was slowly burning off had something to do with that.

I’ll cut to the chase. We made it to Denver. A little late, but that wasn’t a problem for us. We didn’t think. We follow the directions that my colleague had received from the hotel on how to procure a shuttle to the hotel. Go to the baggage claim area, find a courtesy phone and call for a shuttle. We find someone who points us in the directory of the courtesy phones. Nice. They have a whole section with hotel names and numbers next to phones. You just pick up the phone and punch the two-digit code for your hotel. They tell us where to go to wait for the shuttle. We walk outside, wait for a little bit, hop in the shuttle and finally make it to the hotel. At least we make it to a hotel. It turns out that there are two Crowne Plaza hotels in Denver. One closer to the airport and one in downtown. Guess which one we’re at? Now guess which one the conference is at? Bingo!

Strike six.

A bit of waiting in the lobby of the wrong hotel and one cab ride later and we’re finally at the right hotel. We’re almost at the tail end of the conference lunch (we skipped the first half of the day intentionally). My colleague checks in. Room is ready. Great. I check in, with a different person at reception. Who is apparently an idiot. She tells me that there are no rooms available, despite me having just overheard the other woman tell my colleague that there were several rooms ready. So, she’s going to have to hold a room and I’ll have to come back later for the key. But first she can’t even do that right and has to go get someone else to help her.

We drag our luggage into the main conference room and try to settle in while scarfing down lunch and processing everything that has happened to us in the past few hours. On the next break a couple of hours later, I go back to the front desk to get my room key. The room they marked off for me still isn’t ready and won’t be for another 30 to 60 minutes. At this point, I’m thinking that we could be getting close to the end of the day for the conference, so I ask that they put me in another room that is available right away. I finally get a room key. Yay!

—–

You know what? I’ve run out of steam. It’s now well after midnight east coast time and I’m exhausted. I can’t think straight and I can’t remember if there’s anything funny left to tell, so I’m just going to end this post abruptly. Oh well. Sucks to be you! 😀

Let it never be said that life is not immensely humorous at times. If that’s what you choose to see in it. And I, for one, would much rather laugh than cry, so I put a smile on my face and just keep on going. 🙂

Last of the Pooh Mini Collection

  • Posted on September 20, 2011 at 12:07 am

My brain is totally fried from work overload. I fly out early Wednesday morning to Denver and I have a million things to do before I leave. I haven’t even started to pack yet – eek! So, this is just going to be a quick picture dump.

This weekend I finished the last two in the collection of small Pooh ornament kits that I had:

Bouncing Tigger:

If you think the design is wonky now, you should have seen it as designed. Ugh. Tigger is hard to do this small, even with fractional stitches on 18 count aida (yes, you SHOULD shudder). I smoothed him out a bit and he does actually look better, believe it or not.

Eeyore:

So, that’s it. Last night they were wrapped up and tonight they were gifted to their final recipient, although they won’t make it “home” and be unwrapped for another 2 weeks. 😆

I’m out of here for now. Still waiting for a system at work to be brought back up which has been down for 3+ hours now and into which my system feeds. I think I’m going to get ready for bed anyway, though. They can wake me up to let me know when it’s back up, if they have to. I have to get to sleep soon, though, because everyone seems to want their pound of flesh from me before I leave and tomorrow promises to be sickeningly busy.

Ta!

More Framing

  • Posted on September 11, 2011 at 9:35 pm

I haven’t crossed a single x in a couple of weeks now and I have to admit that I’m really starting to miss it. However, I have had bigger fish to fry, including framing and finishing to be done. As good as it feels to complete the stitching on a piece, it’s never truly done until it reaches its finished state. In this case, I have framed (or had framed) and hung a total of 5 pieces this weekend, with 2 remaining pieces ready to go to a friend once I finish the other two in the set.

Here is the crewel piece that was stitched by my late mother-in-law many years ago:

It was badly puckered, so I had to use nylon thread to lace the piece around some matboard because I kept breaking the rayon sewing thread that I normally use, even when doubled. Even then, I actually broke the nylon thread a couple of times. So, the piece is mostly taut and pucker-free, but it is not square. I had hoped to be able to square it off, but it was a trade-off between having consistent tension across the fabric or squaring up the threads. I obviously went for the consistent tension. It is now hanging in our freshly, new-looking powder room (which is almost put back together, except for the trim around the door) and it looks great!

As for the other pieces, Picasso’s Rooster is now hanging in my home office near my college diploma. Snowflake Surprise is in my craft room with all of my other miscellaneous pieces. The other two pieces are in our bedroom – Summer Breeze is hanging over Terry’s nightstand and the challenge piece is hanging over mine.

Here are the final two pieces, the two tiny Janlynn Pooh collection kits, finished in their plastic frames:


There are still two more to be stitched and set into their frames and then they will be winging their way toward one of my good friends from college and his wife who are expecting their first baby next month. They are both huge Pooh lovers, so I thought that these small tokens would be a nice addition to their baby’s decorations until I stitch the birth announcement. I’m starting to wonder if I should make them into a mobile?

That’s enough from me for now. There’s still a little time left in the weekend and I feel accomplished, having done all of this framing and mowed and trimmed the yard, so I might actually do some stitching. If I can drag myself away from the computer, that is.

I hope that you all have a great week!

I’ve Been Framed!

  • Posted on September 10, 2011 at 8:02 pm

I’m not feeling terribly talkative today, so I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

Picasso’s Rooster by Ladybug Designs – framed by my favorite framer at Michaels:

Summer Breeze by Brittercup Designs – framed in a standard frame:

Snowflake Surprise by Laura J Perin Designs – framed in a standard frame with a mat I cut to the proper size:

I had one other piece framed at Michaels, but I can’t show it because it’s for Stitch Bitch‘s challenge.

After this, I’m reframing a crewel piece that Terry’s late mom made for us years ago. It will go back into the powder room that I finally finished painting Monday night. I’m excited to have found a standard frame that works really well with the design (since I didn’t have the design with me when I bought the frame) and a mat that I think will work okay. I didn’t have Summer Breeze with me, either, and the frame that I picked for it worked out pretty well. I’m getting good at winging it, I guess.

Well, I’m going to go and work on stretching and lacing the crewel piece. I think that it’s going to take a while before I get it to a point where I’m happy with it because it’s really puckered. Terry’s working on putting the powder room back together this weekend, so I want to have it reframed and ready to go as soon as possible.

Soooo Bored…

  • Posted on September 7, 2011 at 2:31 pm

I seriously need either a vacation or a break of some kind. I’ve been working my fingers to the bone. Work all day, eat dinner, go up to the home office and work for another couple of hours. I’m a week behind on the main project I’m working on, but after last night’s push, I’m back in “hurry up and wait” mode. Waiting for things to finish running before I can do more is as exciting as watching paint dry.

Add in a ton of rain over the past few days (with more forecasted through Monday) to this terribly stimulating work and you get an unhappy me. One who, at this very moment, desperately wants to lay down and take a nap. I wish I had been able to work from home today.

Anyway, enough whining. I know where I am. I have a vague idea of where I want to be. And I am going to develop a plan to get there. In the meantime, I’ll be chomping at the bit from time to time. Or a lot of the time. Whatever. 🙂

As far as stitching, I don’t have a whole lot to report. I didn’t stitch at all over the Labor Day weekend. Saturday was gaming day at a friend’s house; Sunday was a family get-together; and Monday was the day to dye my hair and finish painting the powder room. I have to say that I’m not happy with my hair color this time. I think that they changed the formulation because the same color that I’ve been using on my hair for well over a year turned out much darker this time. It’s now darker than my natural brown, with red to it, but not the coppery red that I usually get. More of a maroon-y red. Blah. Now I have to wait a month to fix it, though I think I found a different product line to try. It’s going to be a long month.

So, back to the stitching. I did score another finish the weekend before last and I had been making excellent progress on the adoption piece that I’m working on. I’ll have to try to take a decent picture of that sometime in the near future to show you. Maybe after I’ve been able to put in a few more stitches. To tide you over, here is the finish:

This is my second iteration of the Britty Christmas Puppy ornament, this time for Abby. The Wisper fiber doesn’t show up very well in the picture. I will do one more of these to have one for Lily. I should be able to get Lily’s stitched and all 3 of them finished by Christmas, don’t you think?

Speaking of Christmas, I have no idea what, if anything, I’m stitching for anyone. That’s very unusual. Usually I have something picked out for my mom and well underway by this point, but I’m totally drawing a blank this year. I’ve exhausted all of the old projects that I had queued up for her and nothing new is popping into my head. I guess I could always call her and ask. 😉

Well, that’s enough time-wasting for me for now. I have a meeting in a couple of minutes. Hopefully, I’ll be going to Michaels tonight to pick up my completed framing, if these blasted downpours (that’s an understatement folks – seriously) ever stop. Either tonight or tomorrow night. Yay!

Take a Deep Breath and Jump!

  • Posted on September 2, 2011 at 6:05 am

I’m feeling bold and unpredictable, stale and unchallenged (at least under-challenged). It’s time for a change. A drastic one.

As I work through this on-going process of finding myself again, I’m re-discovering the core essence of my being. I long to express my exuberant, energetic, fun and quirky inner child on a daily basis. I long to express and utilize my natural creativity regularly and in a manner that is profitable. I feel restless, completely unfulfilled and seriously in need of a challenge.

The other week, I was talking to Terry and realized that I am desperately, desperately unhappy. It really is true that money can’t buy you happiness. I feel guilty that, from the outside looking in, I seem to have a great life, with a good, stable job and just about everything I could want. And yet, I weep with an uncontrollable sadness that wells up from deep inside of me. I am not doing what makes me happy. I am not expressing myself creatively, through art, music or dance. Sure, I try to attend a Zumba class once a week, dance around my house and sing/listen to music for hours on end whenever I can (daily, if I’m lucky), but it’s just not enough. I’m not feeling challenged and I’ve come to realize that I’m not happy unless I’m stretching myself and pushing my boundaries. I think that I crave being forced just slightly out of my comfort zone and, for years, I’ve been comfortably numb, but it’s all coming to a head now.

I’ve talked about moving to a large city for several years now. I have no desire to live in Philadelphia and New York City doesn’t hold any real appeal for me. London was an original thought, but the rain and cold would not be good for my headaches and/or joints. Plus the cost of living is sky-high. So now my thoughts are turning to the west coast. What do I want to do? I don’t know. Where do I want to live? I don’t know, but I’m sure that figuring out what I want to do will help to dictate a location. I realize that it’s going to take me a while to figure things out, but I’ve made the decision to enact radical changes in my life and start moving in the right direction towards true happiness. Fortunately, I have the support of (most of) my family and my husband, who is willing to take the leap with me wherever I decide to go. I have always known that home is wherever my husband is and to have him behind me 100% makes this journey so much easier. I already have a fall-back plan in mind, but no big picture plan. Yet. Just making the decision to make a plan, though, has begun to quell the growing restlessness that I’ve been experiencing. We figure that it will take about 2 years before we can fully flesh things out and start enacting a plan. Some days that feels like a long time and some days it feels like it’s right around the corner. Regardless, it’s movement, which is what I need.

The most important thing is to not be afraid. After all, what’s the worst thing that can happen? I can fail. Well, okay then. I always have tried and true skills that I can fall back upon and I can pick up new ones in no time flat. But to be afraid to try is something that I would regret and I try to live a life without regret. So I’m ready to jump. I don’t know how far down the water is or what dive I’m going to execute, but I have time in the air to figure it out.

In the words of Chicago Tribune writer Mary Schmich: “Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.”

Apparently, I’m very interesting. 😀


My Stick Family from WiddlyTinks.com