Monday, September 24, 2007

Mailart received

Wow, got my mailart a few days ago. This is related to the Mailart Round 2 post from earlier in September. Brandy did a fantastic envelope with motifs from I Still Do (Ink Circles) and she did everything in my favorite color....BLUE! She must have put a lot of time into the envelope because not only are there designs on the front and back, but she also took the time to measure the flap and put a design there too! I love the idea of the button/ribbon closure on the back, it looks rather elegant and pretty simple to do. If I ever do another mailart, I may have to use that idea.

Brandy put some great stuff into the envelope too. I got three skeins of very soft overdyed (variegated) blue silk flosses (Dinky Dyes, Gloriana, and Gumnut) and a neato Sweetheart Tree chart called Friendship. Can't wait to try the design and some of the floss!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ahhh, finally organized

My stitching stash (as well as knitting and crochet stash) has slowly been growing over the last few years as I find more cool stuff (or *ahem* have friends enable me to buy cool things). I've been using a spare closet in the foyer for couple years for all my storage but its been very ad hoc with various storage drawers and wire shelves in there. I've been thinking about putting in an elfa system for about a year to help with organization but I would always decide against it since the current system worked well enough.

This year I finally got sick of all the wasted space and cramming everything together the best I could. Container Store was having their bi-annual elfa sale so I finally just took the plunge and bought some shelves. I didn't realize but they cut everything to the right size before you leave the store with all the parts. Mike and I took two days to rip out the closet rod and shelf that was in the closet, putty the holes, sand everything down, and paint it all. We certainly could have put more effort into making it professional but we figured the shelves would cover most of it. After the closet was primed, it only took me about 1 hr to put in the hardware and set up all the shelves, very simple to use. Then of course the fun part of organizing all my stitching stuff.

Unfortunately I didn't think in advance or I would have taken a before picture; however I do have an after photo. I'm quite pleased with all the space I have now and its all so much easier to get to.

Course this means I have more space for more stash now!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

New York friends & family

As Mike's blog mentions, we made a whirlwind trip up to NY last weekend. We left on thursday morning and didn't stop moving until Sunday evening, it was full but very fun.

Our friends Marc and Shannon are located in Manhattan right in the middle of everything! While it's tough to give up the space that suburbia provides, I definitely see the advantage of living right in the city. They must have at least 40 restaurants (most of them non-chain!) in a quarter-mile radius to them. The Zabar's right near them has fantastic looking pastries. You can walk to everything, which is nice since parking in NY is EXPENSIVE. It took us a little while to find a garage that allowed 24 hours of parking. I could easily visualize living in NYC for a year (without the dogs) but I think any longer than that and all the noise would be tough. It was great to see them, since it was only for one day we spent it at their place just chatting and catching up. In my opinion a great way to spend a day.

Kris and Jen's home is located in a small town called Red Hook, quite a difference from NYC. They have 7 acres of land and lots of privacy. Their fourth child is on the way and I have to say that Jen is definitely made for motherhood! She looks so content and unruffled with three active kids running around and very pregnant with the fourth. Their kids are fantastic, absolutely trusting and outgoing. Within 5 minutes of meeting me, Zoe was walking hand-in-hand while telling me about her day at school. Ellie is full of personality and so much fun to be with. Aaron is still a bit shy around strangers but has a wonderfully sweet grin once he warms up. I can see why they would want a fourth child.

Then off to Long Island to see Mike's brother and sister-in-law. Like us, they love animals but its more focused towards cats. They've neutered/spayed the neighborhood strays and feed them. They also have a number of indoor cats, most are pretty shy so we only saw a couple of them. Thanks to Benadryl I was able to pet Scout and Moe (the two friendliest cats) while they sat right next to or on me.

On Sunday we had a nice brunch with Mike's family before heading back home. Lots of driving that weekend so by the time we came home we were exhausted. It's really nice to visit people we haven't seen for a while but we both gained a few pounds a piece from all the food we were given!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

LRR Reunion picnic

Last saturday was LRR's 14th annual reunion picnic. Every year, LRR reserves a large pavilion and provides food, games, and free rabies & bordatella shots. All volunteers and previous adopters are invited to come on by and brag about their dogs. Usually we'll have close to 80-90 dogs and over 100 people at the picnic. This year we kept it short (only three hours) because next year will be LRR's 15th year and we want to hold a large picnic with lots of activities, catering, games, etc.

On our way to the picnic, we moved Harper to another foster home. Actually this is a home she's been in before but she still had a lot of trouble re-integrating with the dog there. Harper is such a cutie-pie, I did really enjoy her company. I have to be honest and say if I didn't have Sheba, I'd be very tempted to adopt Harper. Unfortunately there can only be one Queen in our household and that is Sheba. I really do hope Harper finds a fantastic home.

This year we only had two games for the dogs: food eating contest, and egg carry. Each lab gets approximately 10 different foods; to win the labbie needs to eat every single item. The first few items are usually pretty easy (cheese, doritos, egg) and they get progressively harder (orange, cauliflower, snap pea, raw potato). We didn't enter the contest simply because Sheba is too picky (I know, can you believe it?!?) and Max is so methodical about his food he actually tastes it before it goes down his gullet so we knew he wouldn't get through it either.

For the egg carry, two lines are formed (similar to Red Rover game). One line has their dog and a raw egg, the other line is the receiving end. The egg is placed into the dog's mouth and sent to the other line (approx 50 ft away). The dog needs to carry the egg, without cracking it, and drop it (without the person prying it out of the dog's mouth). I am proud to say that Max co-won that contest! Max has such a gentle mouth that he's perfect for this game and he's won it in the past. He got a great little rubber squeaky toy as a prize.

The rest of the day involved eating grill food (or in my case feeding my food to the dogs) and swapping dog stories with everyone else. We got to see a few of our old foster dogs there, Maggie, Winston, Libby. Its always nice to see how much the adopters love and spoil their dogs, totally makes fostering a joy seeing what great homes these dogs have.

I'm looking forward to the huge picnic next year and hope to see lots of our old fosters there.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Longest vet visit EVER

Like any doctor's office, we've often had to wait a long time to see our vet; sometimes as long as an hour before we're ushered into the room. In the past, we've had the brilliant idea of calling ahead to see how far behind they are but we've been told "Come on in, we're only about 10 minutes behind".....right.

Since we needed to take Sheba in to check on her increased wheezing/coughing and her weakening back legs, we decided to try for the earliest time available for our vet. She doesn't have office hours in the morning so we got a 4:20pm appt, first available in the early evening. Wonderously we only waited for about 10 minutes before we were brought in, and only another 5 minutes before our vet came in. Unfortunately in the middle of the exam, an emergency patient came in and she had to run out to take care of the cat. We found out the cat had problems breathing when he was brought in. The hospital did all they could but unfortunately the cat had to be put down.

I can certainly understand the need for being bumped for an emergency and I hope that would be the case if I ever had to bring one of ours in for an emergency. Unfortunately this happened to be one of those rare days I didn't bring my bag with me full of electronics (Nintendo DS, iPod) to keep me occupied so I had to just stare off into space while we waited.

We finally got back in to see the vet and continued our exam. We mentioned that in the past 6 mos, Sheba has mentally regressed in age. She's more playful, more affectionate and constantly ARFs at us. The vet said it is common in older dogs and compares it to senior senility in humans. It makes sense so we've decided that Sheba has doggie dementia but as long as she's happy, we're ok with it. Otherwise Sheba is just getting older and having all the normal issues of age. With luck though, she'll be with us for at least a couple more years before crossing the Rainbow Bridge.

By the time we finished the exam and paid for the bill (one of our smallest ever), it was 7:30pm, 3 hours after we first arrived! Definitely not something I'd care to repeat again.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Mailart round 2

One of the stitching forums I belong to has been doing a mailart exchange amongst members. This is my second time I've participated and it's a pretty neat idea. Mailart is exactly what it sounds like, you stitch the actual envelope that is being sent in the mail. Then a few goodies are placed into the envelope and shipped off to the person you were given.

The first time I did the exchange I was so paranoid the entire thing was going to get lost in the mail so I sewed the stamp on the envelope AND got delivery confirmation. This time around I was a lot more relaxed about it so I just had the post office put the stamp on it (they were nice enough to also put an extra piece of tape on top) and forgo the delivery confirmation. I think most people at the post office are so impressed by the mailart they tend to take better care of it.

Since my recipient got my mailart (whew), I thought I'd post a few pictures. The items surrounding the envelope are the goodies I stuffed in the envelope for her. The envelopes are fun to make and pretty quick projects but I think I'm going to probably skip round 3. I still have a halloween exchange and a christmas ornament exchange coming up.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Take me out to the ballgame

Jen had four season tickets to go see the DC Nationals vs SF Giants last night so she asked us along. I haven't been to a baseball game in years, last night was an excellent night to go back. Not only was the weather gorgeous, but season seats are definitely the way to go. Up to the bottom of the 2nd inning, you can get free food at the private area (alcohol extra). When we got there we stuffed our faces full of hot dogs, popcorn, crab cakes, beef flank, salad, nachos, and cookies. Then we headed to our seats a couple of rows RIGHT BEHIND HOME BASE! Those seats also get free food/drink through the game (minus beer and cotton candy). Servers just walk through the aisles with drinks, hot dogs, soft pretzels, popcorn, snacks, ice cream and hand them out when you ask for one. I haven't eaten this much junk food at once in a long time.

Baseball is probably one of the more slow sports (disclaimer: my opinion only!) but it's much more interesting to watch it live while munching on junk and chatting with friends. We also got to see Barry Bonds, one of the most hated players in the league. Everytime he stepped up he was booed loudly but ironically also the most photographed player of the night. Everyone was hoping to catch him swinging another home run (no luck last night).

We must have been good luck since the Nats broke their 6-game losing streak last night, 4-1 against the Giants. That night was a lucky night for a lot of fans since a large number of baseballs made it into the stands.

I guess a great thing about Jen working for Clark Construction is that she gets these sports tickets fairly often (baseball, hockey, basketball, (rarely) football) and they are great seats. Now that she knows we had a good time, she'll be tossing more tickets our way in the future.