Today he had greenies

I mentioned that the youngest was traveling. I volunteered to check on her rather well fed cat. As a rule, he really doesn’t like or appreciate anyone who is not one of his two people. It means that he met me at the door, then promptly had to play cool and collected. No sense in letting the person stopping in to check know that the visit is appreciated.

Bribes are good, right? He loves greenies. So I sent out to win some affection. Or at least a purr. A purr would be nice. However, on the table is not allowed.

which meant he was promptly dropped back to the floor. About an hour was all that he could stand before marching off with tail held high.

I am still working on the Brown Bat and have elected to rob The Woodpecker of Kohl figuring I can replace the skein later,

which leaves me with two leaves, one full tree and the leaves on the second tree to go. But then I have some other things on the list: the Fox&Rabbit, the 2nd planting in LolaCrow’s Greenhouse of Oddities and a bajillion (ok 10) other partially completed projects….


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(me nuts?). I can’t say that I really enjoy driving anymore. Perhaps it is that the roads are more crowded or the drivers are bad or…. anyway – I use the car when I have to but not usually on a voluntary basis. And going for a drive, which was a “thing” when I was a child (but that was also in the pre-seat belt era….) just to go and …

Anyway – I have been doing more driving since spring of 2019 than I did in the previous 10 years. Of course, those ten years included a fair amount of time deployed or on a ship. Today became another of those days. The youngest and her guy wanted a ride to SFO. It isn’t all that far, but since it involves the Bay Bridge and traversing downtown San Francisco on the freeway, there is time involved. About an hour as a matter of fact to cover the 26 miles…(right now MAPs claims it would take 33 minutes). On BART it is about an hour, including a line change as needed. 

Since I was that far, why not keep going? My friend Alison lives in Palo Alto and we haven’t seen each other in person since before the pandemic. It is another ~23 miles to her house – which took 45 minutes due to accidents on the freeway…(note – right now Maps says 26 minutes).  Anyway – you get the idea. We headed out to lunch so as not to disturb the two “work from home” individuals on computers in her household. 

Getting back to her house after lunch, we had a chance to visit. Originally meeting through knitting, she is still creating the most amazing afghans, finger puppets,


along with enough scarves and hats to keep everyone she knows warm. I pulled out my portable stitching – two designs from SilverCreek Samplers featuring cats and bad puns.

Sadly, I had to keep  an eye on the time. By 14xx my choices were 1 hr 25 minutes via the East Bay (44 miles)  and 1 hr 45 through San Francisco (48 miles).  I arrived at home just after 1600. If you are tired just reading this, imagine me being tired from driving all of it. I would much rather drive to Portland than deal with local traffic…

The Brown Bat (Oct from The Year in the Woods by Carriage House Samplings) is at 75% and is at a decision point – do I wait till StitchCon, purchase another skein of WDW Kohl and finish it there, or pull the skein I have set aside for The Woodpecker (same series) and replace that at StitchCon. I have the rest of the wing in that color, plus 4 ½ leaves and a couple of trees….

(note, I won’t be sending them out, but I will be releasing most of the last couple of weeks posts in the next couple of days as I have time to upload the pix)


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Our visitor today amply demonstrates that all is not symmetrical in the Cervidea kingdom. Deer , my friends – deer.  To add to the confusion – the sub-family for the New World is called  Capreolinae. With me so far? Happily reading the Wiki article, it appears that the ancestors of the modern deer camping among my metal flamingos are also out-wanderers from Asia.

Our particular invasive species is locally known as black-tailed deer as apposed to the white tailed deer of New England and the mid-west. Some expert somewhere has decided that they are a sub-species of mule deer. I don’t think it really matters to the deer. Around here, they are just considered an invasive species.

Look at him, look at him closely. Click on the picture if you need to see him better….

No clue what happened to him earlier this year – but he obviously survived….



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A bit more border

Back to Fox&Rabbit’s Royal Garden

Doesn’t look like much, but actually computes to 1066 stitches (about 1/5th of what is needed) and has nothing to do with the Battle of Hastings…

I also added 203 stitches to Dream (SAL from TemptingTangles), and did a bit of cleaning…

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All the excuses

Over the years, I have lost track of just about everyone with whom I attended various schools, courses, and universities. That is, with the exception of Carmen who I have known for just about my entire adult life starting from when we were roommates as undergraduates).  And we were never classmates – oh never mind, where was I?

Yes, not keeping track of people as moves, life changes, career etc all got in the way.

Where am I going with all of this? University of Minnesota’s Center for BioEthics has a Friday Morning seminar. I stumbled across it during the pandemic when it became available via Zoom. All of this leads to this morning’s presentation from Dr Steven H. Miles who was a medical school classmate of mine. From looking at his publication list, being from Minnesota and completing a residency in Internal Medicine didn’t slow him down. At some early point, he became  from becoming interested, involved, and an expert in bioethics – especially as it related to physician responsibility. Not going to go over his publication list, either in journals or textbooks. He was interviewed on the webinar this morning for the novel he wrote during pandemic times. Not surprisingly, it is on physician complicity with torture. Also not a surprise, he couldn’t find an agent or publishing house with any interest. I am assuming he published through Kindle Direct since  The Leopard’s Furies can be found on Amazon.

I found listening to him describe his book and the writing both interesting and a bit one-sided. Up front, I don’t think there is ever an excuse for torture. It is not a way to get any information or truth, it simply is a way to be evil. Most people in pain will say anything to get the pain stopped in an attempt to please the captures. Others will die rather than comply. In any case, torture is simply an excuse for sadistic people to punish those who stand in the way of accomplishing whatever they may have for goals. Yes, physicians have been complicit, involved, and sometimes leading the charge. All you have to do is look at WWII (if you have the stomach for it).  But others who have family to protect, I am not sure that the lines are all that clear. Some drink the kool-aide while others are victims themselves.

Off soap box. Otherwise, I had a lovely morning spent with Alex. We admired their new kitchen cart which doesn’t take up too much of their limited floor space but provides both a bit more counter space and a location for dishes.

and now home to stitch.

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Back to Royal Gardens

I think I have probably avoided this SAL long enough – Royal Gardens by Fox&Rabbit. They think big. Much bigger than I normally will tackle, even if it is split into 12 portions. In April it was the left sided border down to the bottom border. This month it is the other side which obviously mirrors the first.

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Finished today – altho it took a bit longer and a few more stitches –

The Vintage Black Sampler from Owl Forest Embroidery

started 3 April 2023 – finished 17 May 2023.

We had another set of visitors today – this being the youngest –

But I have a serious preference for the poppies seen on a walk with the Youngest.


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Almost done

Somehow, I thought I had been stitching on this particular pattern longer than I really have. Perhaps it is because my Dragonling has been hanging out for well over a year? Anyway – the Vintage Black Sampler was my “new cruise, new start” on the NCL Sun leaving out of Lisbon last month. Actually – the start was on 3 April since I spent very little time off ship in Cadiz.

This particular pattern clocks in at a total of 23,376 stitches of which I got to here

by the end of the evening. I still have about 1700 stitches – give or take to finish it – so by the end of the week.  Most of the remaining stitches are in the border with the solid parts being the remaining sails and ship hull. This pattern is fun, and I am stitching it on Aida (Cotton Candy by BeStitchMe) in one color (PR043 by Silks4U) both of which mean that it is possible to make fairly rapid progress. Most of their other patterns are a bit more complicated (Treasure Island, Alice, Lemurs, and the Cats came back all come to mind).

Tomorrow is errand day ending with pizza which I am taking as a reward for sorting out my two project bag bins and another pile of misc things from the floor.

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I am almost afraid to look up when I started this particular full coverage piece. It has been a while, a long while. (Actually, looking it up – it has only been since Jan 2022. Could be much worse).  With my basic rule about only one at a time – all the other ones that I have wanted to do have been on hold till this piece has been finished.

What am I talking about? One of the Randall Spangler Book Spine illustrations. The previous one I did was in fall of 2019 and cranked off in about 6 weeks. This one? Well it was going fine till I spilled that cup of coffee which got all over the side of the piece. I then put it on hold and decided that it didn’t count as far as projects so I started and finished the Bengal Cat for the Eldest and the Sloth for the Youngest.

From my picture gallery record it looks like I didn’t pick him back up till 25 April and started to make some steady progress. Today – I decided that he really needed to be finished. And 1472 stitches in a day on a full coverage is a bit much. Way too much.

So let me introduce – Investigating the Effects of Caffeine on the Mind by I. M. Dragging.

a measly 22, 428 stitches…on gridded Aida with DMC. The washing is going to be less than fun…

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There is a lovely park as part of WildCat Canyon near where all three of our daughters live. The park includes picnic areas which you can reserve for parties, open areas for playing, and trails you can hike.

The Eldest reserved an area this afternoon as a good place to have a bunch of toddlers and friends for a birthday celebration for Lev. The kids seemed to have a good time as did the parents.

Plus there was an additional, and not particularly invited guest.

This particular gopher popped up next to the picnic table. Noah attempted to discourage the beast by plugging his hole with that rock. Nope, the rock got pushed aside and mad digging ensued.

The best anyone could do was to keep the kids away and tamp down the area. Obviously, he was here first, but no one wanted a toddler to step in a hole either.

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Have I mentioned that I have numerous pairs of glasses floating around. Most of which are several years old. The prescriptions in all of them are similar, but some are a lot better than others.
Last year about this time, I got a new pair of glasses. I really liked them. They fit even when wearing a mask. They let me see well enough for stitching that I wasn’t spending my entire life with them somewhere else while I peered through a magnifier or squinted at what was in my hands.
And then I couldn’t find them. I looked all through my craft room, our bedroom. Suitcases, closets, bathrooms. I looked.

And then this morning, when I got around to heading into the guest bedroom to change them bedl linens, I happened to glance over at the built in bookcase. There is this pair of glasses sitting there..

I brought them out to my craft room and spent time looking at them.

No question – these are the missing glasses. 

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Treasure Island

I have been suckered in again. This time by Owl Forest ( whose designers, in addition to a lot of Russian looking patterns, are the guilty parties behind my 85% complete Alice from 2021. And the Vintage Black Sampler now at 89% complete. Anyway – each year there is a free Stitch-a-Long which is in about 18 parts one of which is released every two weeks. The first section was released May 12.

The fabric is 16ct Moccasin from Fortnight Fabrics and I am pulling out random Silks4U and substituting for the DMC.

I am not really happy with the white – although it matches the DMC. Looking at their website – that sun and half the moon are definitely yellow. Looks like I might just have to do a bit of backstitching ….

this part was only about 1200 stitches. Easily doable in a day.

Otherwise, I headed over to Avenue Yarns for their open sit&knit and managed to gift away two lengths of spinning roving to other attendees who are also spinners. I have more than several lifetimes of fiber and realistically am never going to spin most of it….


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The best toy

Can sometimes be the simplest. It doesn’t have to have bells and whistles. Be shiny or terribly expensive. What it needs to do is be the exact thing to bring joy to a two year old’s heart.

Lev turned two today. Overall I think he had a pretty good day which ended at our house for supper. He loves noodles, so that was on the menu along with cupcakes. He didn’t completely get the idea of opening presents. Since the first one he opened was a book, that took up a significant length of time sitting on his grandpa’s lap. 

But the best present? One that his Uncle Noah found. Blocks. With magnets inside. When you are two, sometimes that tower you are building to the sky just doesn’t go up as far as you would want before it comes crashing down. (and, as most of us adults know, that tower may continue to crash as we age and the stakes become higher.)

Blocks with magnets? They stack and stack and stack!

I think he would have happily sat with Miriam and stacked blocks for hours. Eventually toddlers get exhausted, all the desert is gone and it is time to head home.

Now guarding the stairs heading to our house 

Since I am starting to run out of space on the upper patio…

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Today started out less than auspicious. Of course, I didn’t know about my contribution to destruction  until I returned home. When Amazon dropped off a package in the middle of the driveway (after dark I might add) is it any wonder that it got flattened as I drove out on my way to the SFVA at 0dark30? Apparently it was small. Barely a bump that was grazed by a tire and went Squish.

Noah asked me on my return if I had noticed a small package on my way down the driveway. Had I gone out early? Yes. But something in the middle of the driveway? Small and flat? No, hadn’t seen it. He called Amazon – reminded them of the delivery instructions (NOT in the driveway, NOT abandoned on the public stairs leading up to Keith – next to the number sign at the big tree was fine) and whatever it was will be replaced.

Otherwise – dental appointment. A bit more garage organization.

meaning that it is actually possible to walk to the back wall in one of the three bays.

and then there was the evening visit from one of the nearby nature preserve residents.

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This was a cleanup day. I had mentioned to George several days ago that we really needed to tackle the garage. He promised right after his first two morning conference calls. And I promptly forgot all about it.

I was just back from running an errand or two and was headed upstairs – stitching was calling me. And then I was reminded that organizing the garage had been my idea. The next couple of hours were spent sorting, consolidating, re-organizing. We made serious progress. Tomorrow I am washing a couple of loads of clothing that need to be donated.

Feeling full of energy, I grabbed the heavy duty clippers as I was headed up the stairs and back to the house. I had been watching some of the plants along the stairs. Those on our side were getting well out of control. Imagine my horror –

when I discovered these babies growing along the stairs and into our upper lawn. I haven’t ever seen thistles here before. They are really nasty suckers and are more than willing to tear up hands and shed little spikes into any and all clothing. The only positive thing I can say is that their roots are very shallow. 

I will try and remember tomorrow to get pictures of the sightly cleared stairway and the garage…

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Fog Bound

Unlike many other areas of the world – people talk of a marine layer, rather than fog. Whatever, it is water vapor hanging in the air dense enough to obscure vision and to create havoc with ground level navigation.

From our living room looking toward the Bay

you can see the edge of the driveway and the trees on our side of the road

looking down and toward the left, besides the skylights of the downstairs apartment, the neighbor’s road is barely visible.

From upstairs –

the camera sees a bit of the houses across the street, not visible to my naked eye (but putting on my glasses does help – duh).

Otherwise, I have been doing the occasional organizing, straightening up and cleaning. Not so much on the cleaning, but at least I am unpacked.

This is where I am on the Halloween Fairy (Nora Corbett) stitched on 32 count whatever was in the kit along with the Classic Colorworks (same).  According to the stitch count, I am about 50% complete. Which is going to be a gross under-estimate, since there isn’t any black in my skinned PK version. Given that there are two skeins of black (and three of the green for the wings) I should be ok…


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WSC – Day 2

I missed the first portion of the conference. At least at the time it was offered. There is something about a meeting starting at 0900 Geneva Time (Central European, DST) which is beyond me. My clock was happy to remind me that the time translated to midnight….
I am too old to be pulling all night sessions, no matter how interesting the subjects or speakers. So I tuned in again about 0500 my time and used the breaks between sessions to catch up on a few that I missed. Included today were specific sessions on infant, maternal, and low income settings. 

Meanwhile, I decided that the Halloween Fairy kit by Nora Corbett from Hoffmann that I have had sitting in my collection for years really needed to be started. The fabric is a 32 count natural Zweigart Linen and the threads are Classic Colorworks..

it is just a start ….  the day was long, and I am pretty tire..

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WSC – Day 1

.For the 4th year in a row – The World Sepsis Conference is being held virtually – sponsored by the Global Sepsis Alliance.  According to the opening sessions, there were about 15,000 registrants from 109 countries.

This leads me to the side discussion and reality of our current world. The pandemic has done irreparable damage to families, countries, economies as well as to individuals. On the flip side, there has been incredible strides in science & technology. I was debating with my friend Beverly the pros & cons of on-line meetings. I am firmly on the side of participating on line as I view the wider reach, greater audience, and decreased environmental impact of dozens->thousands of people traveling more than off-sets the loss of personal contact. For others, the networking which can only be attained in person, is key to life & career.

I view the on-line meetings as an opportunity to tune in to what is going on in other areas of the world. To be able to stay up to date on various professional and scientific advances in the field and to learn things from individuals whom I would never be able to meet in person; from locations where I am not (or can not) afford to travel.

The (*updated since the original agenda was removed at the second meeting day) Conference is listed here with the release schedule for open posting of the sessions..

But it is where I spent my time today – along with attempting to clean up the craft room…

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the time

Does anyone really know what time it is? (Here you have your choice between the classic song by Chicago 

I think we should start with the fact that time and time zones are an artificial construct agreed upon by various international organizations in order to standardize the whole “what time is it?” and enable international commerce (more information on Wiki).  In fact, the specific time may have no particular relevance to you personally if you are not doing much interaction with the world outside your door.

Or if you are on a cruise ship where that pesky time defines food availability or when you need to be back should that particular bit of confusion be on a day where the ship is in some port or another. But obviously I am digressing.

Over the last seven + weeks, I went from Pacific Time (GMT – 8 in March) to Miami (GMT -5) to Barcelone (CET) to Edinburgh (UTC) and then daylight savings time kicked in at various points which made a total mess of all the entries I had made of various ZOOM CME events in my calendar.

Heading toward my ship leaving from Lisbon I went to Zürich (one hour ahead) to Lisbon (dropping back an hour) and then there was the ship which had to turn back those hours, on a sea day and in synch to whatever ports were on the schedule. By the time I arrived in Miami there had been about 5 hours gained back. Add in 24 hours almost awake to travel home and you can start to see that I don’t have a clue about time.

It might be why I woke at 0430 local time this morning. The house was quiet. I was able to stitch for several hours before anyone else was stirring. By the end of the day I had managed 1643 stitches which completed the large motif and most of the next one. I have just under 500 stitches to go on this project for now. Means I am running out of excuses on a few other things…

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Felled Trees

It seems like little has changed here at home.

Other than a pile of packages waiting on my return.

which actually looks a lot worse than it is. Being gone for almost 7 weeks means that a couple of my “whatever of the month” memberships had two deliveries each, a number of journals which I get in hard copy are in the pile, two mystery boxes, and finally a number of presents for various people which I have been waiting on for anywhere from a week to almost a year.

I cleaned up that pile, and Noah took all the recycling out for me. I unpacked my suitcase, backpack and ventured upstairs to find that I had left my craft room at least partly organized.

Now, on to the trees. What isn’t common knowledge outside of my local area is that some “brilliant” person back in the 1920s imported eucalyptus trees and planted them all over the Berkeley Hills. The positive is that they are fast growing and provide a lot of cover. The stupid side is that they are incredibly flammable, and will rapidly imitate a torch should they catch on fire. This is a drought area…. For the last several years, the city has been encouraging people to clear out deadfall, brush, and the eucalyptus trees in an attempt to improve fire safety.

We have neighbors on the street above us, just on the other side of the city stairs who are tackling their trees. These suckers are large and are being chain-sawed out in pieces. Those pieces, for whatever reason, are being stacked on Euclid between our garage and driveway. I have a feeling that the tree-removal people just don’t want to deal with the narrowness of  the uppers streets where the house is actually located.

But this is what greeted me…

Those rounds are not quite a meter across. They are heavy. As it turns out, the wood is hard and resistant to most of our local insects… Noah is contemplating side tables and cutting boards. I am thinking wooden plates from one of the “smaller” branches. We might have just tucked a few bits away in the garage.

And finally – I am back to working on Royal Garden by Fox & Rabbit. I finished the section for March which was just those last couple of floral segments

then moved on to April’s section which I would really like to have done before May drops. I managed to make a dent in the 3k worth of stitches..

and when I finally finish this large motif there are three smaller ones to go….


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