Friday, 28 December 2007

The case of the missing gifts

The parliament buildings, Ottawa, ON

I hope you've all had a happy, peaceful Christmas. Christmas this year was pretty quiet around here. My DH and I both worked and so we decided to have our big holiday meal at New Year instead. Bob was finished playing his Christmas services around noon and I returned home around 4. Both boys had slept in. My youngest was pretty tired out since he works in retail when not in school and we all know how busy that was the past few days! We opened our gifts upon my arrival. The boys faired quite well with an ipod for one and a digital camera for the other. They both got books and music as well as towels and sheets for their respective living quarters. Bob and I didn't get a lot for each other but my favourite gift was a coffee mug which had been personalized with a picture Bob had taken of me crosstitching on the dock at the cottage. Now every time I have a coffee I'll think of our great times in Muskoka!

He also got me a lovely pair of lavender mittens to match my winter jacket. Although I almost didn't get them! It's becoming an annual event each year as to which gift Bob will misplace. One year he had me pick out a watch for myself , brought it home and then lost it. It was never found. We think he threw it out in the trash since he had never removed it from the bag and had done a major cleanup of our room just before Christmas!
The following year it was Chris' gift. I'd placed an order online for a gift for Chris in November and it never arrived. At least that's what I thought! When Christmas arrived Bob asked me what about that gift hidden in the crawl space? It wasn't wrapped. When I investigated, it was the online order I'd placed earlier. Who put it there I asked. He did. When did it arrive? He didn't remember!
This year it was my mitts. I found him searching his office on Christmas Eve. When I asked what he was looking for he told me he'd misplaced one of my gifts. He didn't find them until late Christmas night when he went looking for some music in one of his files. He didn't find the music but he did find my gift! Then on Boxing Day he went down to the crawl space for some wine and came back up with another gift for me, a CD. Look what I found he declared!
Bob has an incredible memory for dates, phone numbers, occasions, etc ( really he does!) but when it comes to misplacing things he's awful. As far as the Christmas gifts are concerned I think that it's just because he's so busy at this time of the year with all his music events and his mind is on other things. At least we all get a good chuckle out of it! In the future he's going to keep a file on his computer with the location of his purchases.

My Mom sent me money for my gift which I used to purchase another Jim Shore piece. These are folk art carvings and sculpture which I have received as gifts in the past and just fell in love with! I've always been a big fan of folk art. The particular piece I bought this year was part of a new series based on the Rudolph TV special. I've posted a picture to show you. This was always the favourite Christmas show at our house even when I was a child.

I'm sorry to say that I haven't been able to put in a single stitch the past week! I'm really missing it but I know I'm not going to be able to get to any stitching done until I'm finished with work this Sunday. Even then I have my oldest son and daughters arriving to celebrate the holiday. What are the chances with the little ones around? I'm off work from Dec. 31st until Jan. 7th. Hopefully I can get back to things once my family returns to their home near the end of that week. I did manage to pay a visit to SB&B before their Christmas sale ended and purchase a couple of new charts courtesy of my MIL.
I'm headed off to bed early now. Five o'clock comes much too quickly and we're expecting more snow tonight.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Merry Christmas!

Things here are kinda crazy lately and there's been no time for stitching of any kind. My shopping is all done, the gifts are wrapped, baking is done and my boys are home ( the two youngest anyways). I'm heading into Ottawa shortly for our Christmas Eve service. I have to leave a little earlier than usual since we've had more snow and the roads are slick. My boys are going to stay put and wrap their gifts while I'm gone. Tomorrow is another work day for both my DH and myself. For that reason we've decided to put off our big turkey dinner and celebrate on New Year instead when my oldest son and his girls can join us. My sons are thrilled that they can sleep in tomorrow and we'll open gifts when I return from work at 4.

As you can see from the above picture, Finnigan has some company for Christmas, namely Tugger who belongs to my son Dan. This is where I found the two of them this evening!
Time for me to head upstairs and get some supper ready before I leave. At this time I'd like to wish all of my fellow bloggers a very Merry Christmas! I hope you all have a most enjoyable holiday with your families and friends and the peace of the season rests with all of you. I hope to catch up on your blogs post holiday.

Monday, 17 December 2007

After the storm

Finally the storm is over and I'm able to return home. I was so thankful that I had a place to stay in Cornwall and didn't have to travel to work on Sunday during the storm. My son's place is only a few blocks from the hospital rather than my normal 40 min drive. Final reports are that we had 40 cm in our area. As you can see from the pictures, that's a lot of snow! We are not fortunate enough to have a snowblower but we are lucky enough to have several neighbours who do. I'm not sure yet which one blew out our drive, but it was all complete when I returned home this afternoon. I have a bottle of wine and some gas money ready whenever I find out which one it was. One thing I did notice is that my bushes in front of the house, which were covered in Christmas lights ,are now buried beneath the snow. So much for decorating!

All that snow can look very pretty but for those of us who travel in it, it can be extremely treacherous. I travel to work on the back roads where there is not as much traffic for most of my drive. However I do have to get on one of the major roads for the latter part of my journey. At that point I get on highway 401. The 401 highway is an east/west route from the Quebec border all the way to Windsor, On. At the height of the storm this highway was closed at Cornwall due to a pileup involving six tractor trailors! When I heard that I was very glad that I'd stayed put!

I'd hoped to get some stitching done at my son's during my stay but I forgot my Ott-lite at home and the light just wasn't good enough for stitching at Dan's place. So instead we took a walk over to the local Blockbuster and rented the new Harry Potter release. I enjoyed it but was a little disappointed since they left out so much from the book this time. After this I caught up with a little reading. I almost ended up walking to work from his place this morning because I had difficulty getting my car out of the parking lot at his apartment building. During the night they plowed the lot and my car was surrounded by mounds of snow. I couldn't even see the wheels on it! I managed to shovel a good portion of it and then took a running leap over the last mound where I promptly got stuck. After backing up I had another go at it and this time I managed to get out.

I took the scenic route home this afternoon along what's known as the Long Sault Parkway. This road takes you onto some of the islands on the St. Lawrence River between Long Sault and Ingleside. It was a lovely, sunny winter day today and all that snow made for some very nice pictures. You can see the St Lawrence River in the background of the first picture.

No stitching progress at this point. I'm hoping to get some done this evening and have some new pics for you in the next day or so. Time to go, I hear my DH arriving from Ottawa with supper!

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Happy birthday Bob and Dan!

This week saw the celebration of two birthdays in our family. The first was my husband Bob's on the 12th and the second which is today is my son Daniel's. They decided to have a joint celebration yesterday with just the one cake since there is so much overindulging already in progress! Dan chose a chocolate fudge cake much to Bob's delight. He's a huge chocoholic!! Bob is proudly showing off his new Toronto Maple Leafs lunch bag . He's a big Maple Leaf fan which is no small feat when you're living in Ottawa Senators territory!

Daniel is my middle son and turned 23 today. I can't believe how fast the time is passing now. When my youngest son celebrates his birthday next spring, all 3 of my boys will then be in their twenties. I'm feeling ancient!! Especially since this year I had a hard time remembering where I hid all of their gifts. I try to keep them separated from their Christmas gifts so I won't mix them up but I don't have enough hiding places. My oldest son Jeff has a birthday in early January so I have some of his gifts mixed up in there too. I misplaced one of Bob's gifts and spent most of the week looking for it! I managed to find it(quite by accident!) just as I was wrapping his others. Somehow I don't think I planned this very well. It would be so much easier if they were all spread out through the year!

As I'm writing this I'm watching the news regarding the major storm which is arriving during the overnight. I'm supposed to be working but from the sounds of the reports we're supposed to get anywhere from 30-40cm of snow in our area by the time it's over. That translates to 12-16 inches of snow with strong winds and whiteout conditions. I'm trying to make arrangements now to head into Cornwall tonight and sleep at my son's so that I can make it into work. If it was a weekday I wouldn't worry so much about getting in but on the weekends there is a skeleton staff and unless you're on your deathbed or stuck in the ditch somewhere you'd better make it in! Trying to find a replacement for you is next to impossible. The weather forecast for Monday isn't much better so I may end up staying at my son's for a couple of days. My DH is in Ottawa now and is staying put until the storm's end. So I guess it definitely will be a white Christmas for many since this storm is hitting a good portion of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. I spoke to my oldest son in Quebec this evening and they already have between one and a half and two feet of snow on the ground! We have about a foot here already.
So I'm really glad that most of my Christmas shopping is done. I really only have stocking stuffers and a gift certificate to pick up. Oh yeah and my Mother and stepfather's gift. This is the one I'm stressing over since they have just about everything. I'll figure something out!
Christmas commitments and work have kept my stitching on the back burner for now. I've managed to put in a few stitches on my Lynn's Prints ornament but not enough for another picture. I've managed to stitch only one evening during the past two weeks on my CdC and didn't get very far because I was so tired and was nodding off. Here's a pic of my progress to date.

Time to head off to my son's place now. I've got my bag all packed and the snow hasn't started yet so we're going to hit the road while the goings good. I'll check back in with all of you in a couple of days. Keep warm!

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Lots and lots of snow!

Looks like we'll be having more of a winter here this year than we've had for several years! Last year at this time we had no snow at all. If I remember correctly, we didn't have a significant snowfall until Januray. However that all changed this past Monday. We had our first real winter storm of the season and were dumped with about a foot of snow! According to the news, that's the most snow we've had fall before Christmas in five years. I grew up in Windsor, Ontario where the winters are generally pretty mild and we never saw this much snow all winter. When I moved to the Cornwall area in 1977, they had terrific snowfalls. I remember being shocked at snowpiles reaching the tops of the stop signs. We haven't had snow like that for many years now and I wonder if perhaps this year will mimic one of those past years. Today the sun is out and it's a beautiful winter day. This picture is for you Cheryl! I read your blog about all the rain you were having today and wanted to show you that the sun is around. It's just across the ocean that's all! Hope this brightens your day a little.

I've put in very few stitches this week. I've been working on an ornie from one of the JCS issues by Lynn's Prints called Christmas Day Play. However when I was working on it at my DH's office last Sunday, I managed to leave the floss behind on his desk. He has since brought it home for me but left it in his portfolio and took off with it again today! So much for working on the ornament. My CdC SAL was put on the back burner this week as well because of working overtime and other evening commitments. I've elected to stay at home today instead of accompanying Bob into Ottawa so that I can get caught up again. I also need to get started on some of my Christmas card writing. We generally send out about 75-80 cards. Bob does the bulk of them since most of them are former choir members of his from past years. I just do my usual 25 of family and close friends. I'm just waiting for Bob's newsletter to be finished so that I can include it in my writings.

I don't usually start my Christmas decorating until about the 15th of the month but there are some things I bring out a little earlier. One is my snowmen which stay up for the whole winter and the other is my collection of cookie stamps. I got started with the cookie stamps about 10 yrs ago when I received my first one as a gift. I then discovered that the little gift shop near my sister's home in Livonia, MI carried the stamps as well and often had them on sale. So I added a few more. Over the next couple of years I managed to accumulate around 5-10 stamps in the collection. Each stamp resembles a bell (at least the handle does) and is intricately carved. When you turn the stamps over, you find an imprint carved into the stamp which is to be used to decorate cookies with.
After a couple years of collecting these, the company which produces them decided to discontinue them and go with cookie tiles instead. Since then I've managed to add to my collection courtesy of eBay. There are still lots of the stamps out there. I now have 41 in my collection. I think there are about 100 in the total collection produced. There is a fairy tale series with Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks,etc. as well as the Beatrix Potter collection with Peter Rabbit. There also exists a series of Winnie the Pooh of which I have one and a Circus animal series. I've collected several which reflect the different seasons of which my Christmas collection is the largest. When my DH first saw these he wondered if I actually used them. Yes, I have. More so when the boys were at home and I regularily baked cookies. Now I tend to use them mainly during my Christmas baking to decorate my shortbread.

Now I'm off to write some cards and then put in some quality time on CdC. I'm hoping to make up for my lost evening on Tuesday. I'll post an update on this next entry. Have a great weekend!

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Brrrrrr! It's cold!

I woke up this morning to find a significant change in temperature here. According to the weatherman it's -19 degrees C with a windchill of -25. For those of you who live in the US, that's -3 degrees F with a windchill of -13 F!! All I know is that it's cold! Every year it always shocks me the first time the temperature dips below zero. Eventually I get accustomed to it (maybe not!!) and just keep adding all the extra layers of clothes, scarves, etc. Which reminds me, I guess I better go looking for those sweaters I brought up from storage!
Last night was my staff Christmas party. It's been 5 yrs since I've been able to go. They always have it on a Friday night and for the last 5 yrs, Bob's choir has had a concert on the same date. This year however, the choir changed their concert from a Friday night to a Sunday afternoon so that freed things up for us to go. It was a nice evening, good meal and great music ( in my opinion, since Bob's a fan of classical!) but we didn't stay too late because the roads were icy and we both have a full weekend ahead of us. It had been windy all day which was causing some of the snow to drift from the fields across the road. Combine that with the temperatures dropping and the roads suddenly get like glass. It took us about an hour and a bit to get home where it usually takes about 40 min.

This morning I was looking forward to sleeping in a little but was wide awake by 7. I've got some Christmas shopping I want to get done this morning and then it's off to Ottawa with Bob for a choir rehearsal for Sunday's concert. I also hope to sneak in a visit with my youngest son while Bob heads off to play a Saturday night mass. If I'm not too tired tonight when we return I'd like to finish off the Baby Spots cube. I got started on it last week but didn't have quite enough material to wrap around the cube to finish it off. I picked up more material this week along with some ribbon so I'd really like to get to that if possible. Sunday will be a washout for stitching too since we have our church service in Ottawa in the morning followed by the concert in the afternoon and a reception immediately after it. Next weekend is just a repeat of this one only with a different choir! Being married to a church musician and singing with him means that the whole month of December is pretty much tied up this way. If we're not performing in a concert then we're attending one since the music community supports each other. I love it since there's nothing I love more than Christmas music!

I did get some more stitching done on my CdC though. I've chosen to stitch this one on Tuesday evenings. Recently they put me on the early shift at work which means I'm home now by 4:00pm. Since my DH stays overnight in Ottawa each Tuesday, I don't have to prepare a meal and can devote about 6 hrs of stitching on my CdC. Here's a pic of my progress so far. It won't be long before I'm finished my first page and on to the next!

I've been catching up on my blog reading and admiring all the lovely decorating that so many of you are doing to prepare your homes for the Christmas season. It's really beautiful and I don't know where you all find the time to do it! Usually I don't get started on my decorating until around the 15th which is my son Daniel's birthday. I always tried to have most things done by then. We don't put up our tree though until around the last week before Christmas since we always get a real one and it stays up until Epiphany just after New Year. Our outdoor Christmas lights go on this Sunday, the first Sunday in Advent. I managed to get them put out during that week in November that I was off work. The weather was fairly mild then and no snow.

The mailman brought me a couple of parcels I've been waiting for this week. Inside were some new charts which I've patiently been waiting for. Two of the charts are LHN - Snowflake and Acorn Hill. As well I received Mirabilia's Donner and Just Nan's Scream Girls. I'd love to start Snowflake in the very near future. I'm currently working on a Christmas ornament by Lynn's Prints of which I'll have a picture for my next post.

Thanks to all of you for sharing in the joy of our granddaughter's blessed news. Stitchers truly are a caring community! Have a super weekend!!
( I can't believe it but I'm only able to post this now at 11:00pm since my internet's been down all day!)