Monday, July 27, 2015

Time to Brag!

Hello again, dear friends!

Remember the stick that I posted a couple of weeks ago - part of BRD ornament? Well, it got stitched into this...

"Silent Night" by Blue Ribbon Designs
stitched on Linen with DMC Floss

I always recognize a BRD pattern by the "signature" trees and branches. It was a pleasure to stitch, with, perhaps, the caption being the most tricky part - one over one, with 2 strands.

Now I will have to mobilize my decor stash to turn it into an actual ornament. I will do it, just don't know when exactly - some time before Christmas.

That concludes the cross stitch bragging.... Now - on to the family!

My dear daughter Vera, who is now 12 and is going to the 8th grade this year, went to Tech Trek Science Camp at University of Santa Barbara last week!

She participated in a competition and was selected to attend the Science Camp on a scholarship: study math and physics, perform hands on experiments, and live like a college student - for a whole week.

About two days before we dropped her off, I asked her if she was excited. She answered, "I guess... I did not realize that I signed myself up for one extra week of school." I could see she was nervous and self-conscious, unsure of how she was going to be accepted. She does not feel "popular" at her regular school, and I could see the old fears creeping in.

Vera and her roommate on the first day
I kept telling Vera (and myself) that this was a new experience, that things were going to be great, that she was going to - finally - find people to connect with. My DH was apprehensive - with teachers and leaders - and students - being entirely girls, a few over eager matrons shot an eagle eye in his direction every time he hugged our daughter. One of them even tried to say he was not allowed to be there - until he said his daughter was there and he just wanted to say good bye before taking off. Generally, my being a woman helped ease the moving around process - no suspicious looks, no restrictions. Finally, we hugged our daughter good bye and drove away - to our own mini vacation.

Six days later, we were there 30 minutes early to pick her up....

Our daughter has transformed. From all the things described above and a couple more - she came to greet us - happy, confident and focused. She did find friends - the whole time we were there, Vera was hugging girls that were running to her, or hugged by girls that she ran to - and we took pictures. She introduced us to them and vise versa, laughed, talked, smiled.... She was in her element. She was among friends.

Vera with a new friend.
For the first time in years, I saw my daughter just as she was - no makeup, no cover up, no glitter - just herself, beautiful and confident. She found her team, her group, of like minded individuals - and they turned out to be - young scientists...just as herself.

Thank you, Tech Trek!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Vacation: When Time Stood Still

Hello, dear friends,
Did I mention my DH and I were planning a vacation? Probably not - because we have been planning it year after year, on and on, and something always came up.
But this time, it did happen! Taking advantage of the kids being away and the vacation time, we packed the car and went...

We stayed at the Bed and Breakfast we "discovered" for ourselves about 6 months ago. Our room had a private patio with a hot tub, and I took full advantage of it, starting and ending my day with hot bubbles...

It felt like someone had turned back the clock, and we arrived... thirty years ago. Everybody's polite, the view is beautiful, the food is delicious, and - the time is all ours...

Water Mill at Apple Farm
One of the features of the garden at Apple Farm (the name of the place we stayed at) is the Water Mill. I know it is decorative, but it was so pleasant hearing the sound of running water every night falling asleep. There were sounds of frogs, too - I still don't know if the frogs are real... Joe really hoped they were.

Every day there was a complementary wine tasting - hosted at the patio. I have never seen so many flowers in one place - that was not a garden.


The most  amazing thing about our vacation was that - for the first time, we did not have to do anything - unless we wanted to. Joe and I consciously gave up planning and cramming "experiences" into our schedule and just went along with what felt right. If we wanted to go to the beach - we did...

When we felt like sleeping in - we slept... We even ordered breakfast in bed one morning - and when it arrived, all the things in it could feed a small army... I did it just to see what would happen - for having the experience. My first room service ever. I can now check that off my "bucket list."

Now, after three days of soaking in the tub, smelling flowers and drinking wine, we are back. Thankfully, we have time to gradually get back into the rhythm of things, one or two adjustments at at a time...

It was nice to do things at our own pace, on our own time. No rush, no stress. This part, we'll have to do more often.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Stick... And a Workout Update

Hello, dear friends!

With my projects on time, I've decided to give myself a couple of days off and - yes, stitch again. The difference is - this time I am stitching for myself and for my family. I have looked at several projects and decided on a new Christmas ornament by Blue Ribbon Designs from the most recent Just Cross Stitch magazine.

Here's the start of it....
"Silent Night" progress

It's a stick! At the time I am typing this, it has actually grown into the full blown tree, with one (of two) owls to boot. Hopefully, I will complete it by tomorrow, and then do the finishing. I still am not sure whether to use stuffing and make it into a soft ornament, or cut a mounting board and make it into a "firm" type. The other BRD ornament I had has turned out to be a soft one. 

In addition to some stitching, I have been working out. Those who have read my previous post know that I joined the gym about six weeks ago, and since then I have been going regularly, three times a week. After working out on my own for the first two weeks, I've joined a group workout two days a week, and then, on the third day, I go in for the swimming exercises. 

All this effort brought results - some good, some... not so good. The good news is - I lost 6 % body fat (hooray!), the not so good news is - I gained 3 pounds. Now, I remember the trainer telling me that for the first six weeks I will be gaining muscle mass, and that will result in some weight gain. In fact, he even suggested I did not weigh myself for the first 5 weeks at all. So, maybe, it's all good news? I will try to look at it so.

Right now, I am going back to stitching. Until next time...

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th of July!

My dear friends,
Happy Independence Day!

Design by Nancy Turner
I hope you have a wonderful time with your family and friends. Originally, I had big plans about cooking- and eating, but my DH has to work all day, so- instead I will just go to the gym, then stitch and cook dinner. Oh, and hide my cats away from the fireworks.

Still, even with my children away (girls are visiting family) and having to work, it's a special day. A day when the colonies decided to do "their own thing" and declared their independence from England. Ever since I came here - about 20 years ago - I felt that doing one's own thing is the main theme, the corner stone of this society. Becoming independent and making one's own decisions, becoming an adult is what the colonists have done as a country, and now perhaps it's their spirit that calls each one of us to do the same thing - on an individual level.

So, barbecues and fireworks aside, today I will be thinking about - what it means to be independent.

Have a wonderful holiday!