Treasure Island

And it is done –

Started about March/April 2023 and finished today. This 17 part SAL was released on an every two week basis by Owl Forest. I kept up till last fall (first 12 parts) when we headed to Asia and didn’t touch it again till the end of last month. Low ball estimate was more than 7k worth of stitches in parts 13-17. Both the Island and that treasure chest + the last two pirates.  I pulled random silks from stash that looked like they might work (read Dinky Dyes, BeStitchMe, Silks4U…). I skipped all of the place labels for oceans and proteins of the island.  I figure if anyone can’t figure out that a large red X marks the spot, there is no hope for them.

So I am back to working on Hobbit House which is now at 73%.

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checking on Boo

I missed a couple of days but spent a good portion of today over at Miriam’s.

obviously someone was comfortable that I was hanging around. Keeping him off stitching patterns, fabric, and the keyboard proved to be a bit of a challenge…

I managed to finish the last pirate along with his pistols, shovel, and small dagger. Now on to the island which is going to be a lot of stitching, but it is the remaining unstitched part.

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George’s turn

and today he had his first cataract surgery. It is so much easier when it is me doing the medical “whatever.”   I figured us as lucky, he was the first case which meant checking in before 0730 but he was ready to be picked up by 0900 which suited me just fine.

The rest of the day was consumed with laundry, checking in on George (who was “resting his eyes”) and trying to decide if anything sounded good to eat. My go to recently has become single egg microwaved omelette rolled up in a tortilla which whatever veg happens to be around.

And stitching.  I am working on the current addition to Vampyrum, having finished the first wing and needing to complete the second plus four little motifs.

plus making a serious dent in Treasure Island. Especially that Island. I have decided that I really don’t care if there are names on different seas or portions of the island. I just want it done – one pirate and 2/3rds of the Island to go.

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Going nowhere fast

Round Four has been not so fun. Not horrible in the “lay on the bathroom floor and vomit” type of horrible – just cranky and mean around the edges. As a result, I am more than willing to play taxi, visit the cat, contemplate cleaning, and otherwise do very little. Note – I said contemplate cleaning, not accomplish it.

I am currently concentrating on three projects; this month’s Vampyrum -for which I need to finish both wings on the new creature + four little guys, the Hobbit House, and the second to last part on Treasure Island.

But there are always computer games…

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backups and notes

This continues my tale of woe and Thursday. While heading toward home, I decided to run a few errands. A stop at the Del Norte BART area Safeway netted me a salad, some fruit, drink. If you need NON-cow dairy – this is the place to go. A huge wall cooler with all the alternatives ranging from sheep & goats milk through soy, almond, oat …. etc. What they don’t have? Half&Half. They did have whipping cream. But I really don’t need to add that to my coffee…Do I?

From there I headed south on San Pablo following “MY SAYDZ.” Yes, it is a good, bad pun. Yes, it actually was a Mercedes GLC 300. $48-52K.  Reply from Rebecca – room for the whole M$HPACHA?  Quick stop at JoAnns and then home.

Heading up to the craft room, I go to start Pattern Keeper. Blank stare at the passcode. Four Digits. Should be easy, automatic even. But my mind is totally blank. I think I know what it is, but I am wrong and get timed out. Then I start to panic. I have the same lovely four digits for several things, means that I avoid face recognition (which I hate and doesn’t work well for most women with glasses and surgical masks regardless of skin color). But that means that Safari, phone, tablet are all locked… as was my PC.

The PC turned out to be the easiest. you blow that several times and it asks you if you want to reset. Yes, done, move on. Apple? Infinite do-loop of going no where. You need the passcode/word to log in to your account. You can’t reset. You can wipe and start over, but you have to be able to access your account. The phone call back failed to recognize me hitting “1” on the keypad so dropped me.  I gave up and headed to bed early.  This was after getting timed out on my tablet which was recording my number of failing tries. When it was up to waiting 15 minutes before trying again ….

I awoke at 0230 to find that my brilliant plan of leaving an audiobook running to prevent my phone from timing out didn’t work. Then was unable to use my new backup drive to actually back up my MAC. Frustration level climbing I picked up my phone and followed George’s advice – let your fingers do the walking. X X X X – phone is open. I find a safe place and write down those four digits.

So – lesson learned. If you are over ….say …. the age at which people normally retire and you have experienced ANY of the following EVEN ONCE – where is my wallet? What did I do with my phone? Who didn’t hang up the car keys…oh, that was me…. You get the idea.  Anyway – if you have critical information locked electronically – make sure that you have good old hard copy codes somewhere that doesn’t require a panicked memory to function.  Especially if you use Apple products. jailbreaking them just isn’t going to be easy and not worth the effort compared to pulling out that weird notebook and looking something up.

I am off to spend time with the cat. Frankly, right now he is one of the more rational beings in my universe.


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The kitty came back

I thought I would start with one of the two major events of yesterday, then move on from there.

The Youngest is changing her internet provider. They had to come to the house to install the new connector and provide the hard wired drop & router.

So far so good? There were also some travel plans involved so I had promised to come over and oversee whatever if the installation wasn’t completed by the time she had to leave. When I arrived the dude was hard at work and Maus had just finished packing.  Ok – with me so far? She decides to give the cat some treats prior to going out the door. The plan is for me to stay till the install is complete, then lock up.

Cat? No response to rattling the treat box. Now remember, this is the cat who was waking me up at 0430-0500 to ensure that he was fed at 0600 on the nose. Followed by check-ins every three hours to get some snacks, food, or treats. Not responding to rattling Greenie Box? Very concerning.  We check the house – no sign of the cat. She has to leave to make her flight.

I go through the house again. Heading to the garage – I find the door to the garage open. The garage door is open, the side door is open. I talk to the installer – mention that the house door HAS to be shut. He says ok. I am not sure we communicated. I double check while he is inside again hooking up the router. Once again, the door is open. I shut it. Five minutes later, it is open. AGAIN!

Finally, he is finished and leaves. I shut the large garage door after taking a turn around the nearest houses, the back garden, the side area and rechecking closets in the house. No cat. Dropping some kibble in his dish, I headed for the living room.

I hear crunching. Guess who has made an appearance. I have no clue where he was or how long he was “gone.” I sent the above picture to Miriam. Tears were averted. Rather than leave right away, I finished listening to UCSF Grand Rounds over Zoom with company

Since I was apparently approved as an alternate acceptable person. And then he slept after such a hard morning.

I am almost sorry that I don’t have him for the time she is traveling. Not completely, but still….

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The Boys are back

We have seen one small fawn so far this spring.  I had not expected to see the boys back so early in the season. But there they were, lounging among my flamingos just outside our front door


Their antlers are obviously still all fuzzy.

That part of the day was easy – the rest? Not so much and I am just not up to even writing it down for the moment.

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Banding Birds

It has been four years since I started watching the Cal Campanile Falcons each spring. Prior to that, I didn’t know that they existed – although Annie & Grinnell had been making the tower their home for at least a couple of years.  Getting stuck in the house, pandemic and panic in full bloom lead to some discoveries of things local to me – via YouTube.

This year there are four chicks and today was banding day.

The actually banding took about 30 minutes, but a recording was made and replayed as a background to a “live” question & answer session. It was fun and interesting to watch as well as educational. The polls are also open now for name suggestions (social media with the caveat that the names have to have a theme or common relation to each other.)

There is a video of the whole thing on YouTube for anyone who is interested.

Meanwhile, there were a few errands and some stitching – with making some significant progress on Hobbit House. My 1500 stitches today put me at 46%. But still with about 4700 stitches to go, this isn’t really a “small project.”

My challenge tomorrow is going to be finding something that is portable while potentially running errands. 18 ct isn’t portable nor are my projects on scroll rods…I may have to dig out one of the yet to be worked on 2020 WIPs as I am remembering one as on 14 ct..

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Hobbit House

It is starting to look like what you might imagine.

or at least like many of the illustrations. But this is 30% done and a long way to go…

Otherwise? The WNBA season has started. I couldn’t manage to stay away to watch the Lynx.

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Trees and birds

and more treasure falling out of the chest…  But in any case – the center section with treasure chest is complete – as is the section with the palm trees, parrot, small ship and some kind of sea creature –

This leaves me with a final pirate to balance the ship wreck survivor and fill in on the island. I figure somewhere between 3-5k worth of stitches. Obviously I will be delighted to have this finished. The end may actually be in sight.

Otherwise – I put only a few stitches into the Hobbit House – and you can see the start of the first of three “doors.” Again, there are a lot of stitches in this pattern, and most are similar…

hanging it early – time for a bit of computer gaming…


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Snow White

My present to myself for US Mother’s Day

Snow White by Bella Filipina. Stitched with DMC, Petite Treasure Braid and move 700 various beads. Unlike most Nora Corbett patterns – there was little block stitching in this pattern Add to that – the pattern and written recommendations didn’t always match, especially with the vines. I wound up substituting a significant number of green seed beads for random PTB green stitches. I like how she looks, but it may be a while before I tackle either Alice or Jasmine (the other two patterns in the series).

Compared to that – finishing this month’s dragon was easy –

and I agree with everyone who mentioned that they think of him as needing to be red – related to blood, fire, life, and sacrifice rather than blue. But hey – not my mythology. Usual decent reference here

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Lev hat Gebǔrtstag

And, for his third birthday his mom and aunt Miriam took him and the baby brother (not quite three months old) to the Monterey Aquarium.

It was a hit, fish, otters and all sorts of creatures.

Of the birthday dinner, there was pizza but I think that the chocolate ice cream was enjoyed more.

Presents were puzzles, and a new soccer ball. Noah scored the biggest hit with a great book about Der Maus… (from Sendung mid Der Maus). Obviously the elephant was also in the book…

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New Dragon

Because it is ever so easy to become over extended, which might explain the left-over SALs from previous years, I have attempted to control my inclination to start all the new things.

Today, however, the 5th dragon dropped on Climbing Goat Designs “A Field Guide to Dragons.” Obviously, since this is the Year of the Dragon – there are a lot  of dragon patterns out there. This particular SAL provides a serious number of them, all on one pattern. This particular dude is supposed to be Quetzalcoatl. I would not have thought of him as blue-  but there you have it.

those 555 stitches make him about 1/3 complete. Block stitching goes rapidly.

Not so beading Snow White’s skirt

which took close to three hours for those 199 beads. Not tomorrow, but maybe Sunday I will tackle all the vines +the apple…

and finally – started the Hobbit House. Not looking like much, I will provide a pix tomorrow.

Otherwise, it is going to be an early night, I think my brain is just about at computer Match-3 game status.

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Obviously better today

Since I don’t think anything could have topped yesterday. Wait! Shouldn’t superstition then hit me with the one thing that could have been worse? I mean – there were no accidents, much less fatalities on the drive home. The motorcyclists were actually reasonable and sensible about making their way through the heavy traffic. There weren’t too many large trucks blocking my view of the highway.

So today, I decided that I wasn’t going to go anywhere. Doing something? Well that seemed like a good idea. I do think that my “almost no side effects” of the first three rounds of oral chemo have made their sneaky way into making my life just a bit more miserable. My bright side look today is on the order of – there is NO reason why I can’t have all the coffee….

While I am thinking about it – I finished the Elephant on Tuesday. That makes two/six in the series with #3 being released on the 20th of this month.

He is stitched on 18 ct lambswool with DMC, two CCW substitutions for the Weeks (Driftwood & Pewter) plus some Threadworms #12-1046 for most of the fronds. He actually looks like he is in better shape than most of the elephants I saw in Africa. Val reminded me that those trees are called mopani trees and provided me this picture.

Otherwise – I hauled out Poison Apple and finally started the beading. 250+ beads later – her hair and the hem of her skirt is done. I still have the whole of her skirt and all the berries and glitter on all of those vines. Normally, I like using the matching DMC to attach beads but it is not going to happen this time. Several of those bead clusters have 2, 3, 4, or occasionally five different bead colors. Changing threads that often with all the accompanying starts and stops just isn’t reasonable. So off to find the clear nylon alternative.

and this was after I made serious progress on Treasure Island.

That ragged pirate is done, and much of the hill in the center. Now working on the treasure chest with all its goodies. That leaves me one more pirate to balance on the other side, the rest of the center hill and a parrot to stitch on top of the treasure chest. We will not discuss the island.

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Longer than I planned.

Today is (was) Wednesday. I had an 0900 appointment at the SFVA. Since traffic going into San Francisco totally and completely sucks, I drive in early. You have already read my rant back a few months about the change in the Bay Bridge metering lights. Today was no exception. It took me longer to get from the maze through the lights than it took to get to from home to the Emeryville turn at the start of the maze or  to get across, through the SF freeway \onto Octavia and heading down Lincoln toward the Pacific Ocean.

I would have finished a shawl early this morning while waiting in the parking garage had I not dropped the yarn resulting in a mess which looked completely cat tangled and took almost two hours to unravel. Hint – yarn loosely wound into a cake can do a sudden dive into total chaos in less than a second.  End result was that I made my appointment on time, but my lab results were late getting back which put me on a delay resulting in not starting till afternoon.  The last couple of cycles, I was out of there prior to 1300…

This gave me enough time to straighten out the yarn, finish the shawl (which all the nurses there just loved the colors) and knit more rows on the 10-stitch blanket.  I didn’t finish at the Infusion Center till 1600 which dropped me in the worst of traffic. It took more than an hour to get from the VA to the East Bay side of the Bridge.  Traffic is now worse, I think, than prior to the pandemic with more people driving. I am one of them; I used to use BART, the shuttle, the bus & BART to make the round trip. It used to be more time consuming, I now think it might just take less time…

I was completely wiped by the time I got to the Ashby exit – but the West Berkeley Bowl is there…. and they had cherries….. I needed the treat.

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Allergy Season

has arrived here. There has been more than enough rain to have everything blooming, pretty plants and weeds alike.

I love the flowers, but flowers = pollen. So here I am, itchy eyes, runny nose, post nasal drips + cough. And we all know how popular anyone with a cough is in public.

Good excuse to stay home, right? There are always Falcon Cams to watch.

Meanwhile, I am making progress on the Elephant.

with the upper ferns, a few more flowers and that patch on his body to complete before the 20th.

Poison Apple (Snow White) is creeping toward a finish. I still have backstitching to go on the dress, followed by all the beads….

and lastly – the first part of Vampryum is done – with some substitutions in the upper arch because I got irritated by color changes every three stitches.

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Yom HaShoah

Holocaust Remembrance Day. 27 Nissan on the Hebrew Calendar with minor adjustments forward or back so that it is not actually occurring on the Sabbath,

Each year, for the past 21 years, the city of Berkeley has hosted a remembrance event. This year, like the previous several, it ran completely over Zoom. Until recently, when viewing an exhibit at the Magnes Center, I hadn’t realized how extensive the resettlement into the Bay Area had been. Today re-emphasized how many in this area had emigrated, lost family, or managed to survive. We are all getting older.

Light a candle, turn on an electric candle.

No matter the current horrid war, the martyrs of the past deserve to be remembered.

(for extensive information – I recommend Wiki – as per usual).

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Having mentioned my favorites – the local Peregrin falcons inhabiting the Campanile on the UC Berkeley campus I have been reminded of a couple of other locations where falcons are currently nesting.

First,  there is the pair currently nesting on Alcatraz Island. Yes, that Alcatraz. The female of the pair dates from 2018 having been  hatched (Annie & Grinnell) & banded at Cal.  This camera apparently was turned on 23 April 2024 this year. The chicks are a few days older than those at Cal and already starting to gray.

The Parks Conservatory has further information here – as part of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservatory (yes, San Fransisco).

Then, moving south, Alison reminded me of the nest + camera in San Jose.  The streaming service (again, YouTube) started in Dec 2020.


the first of the chicks apparently hatched around 1 May.

And to add a bit of the rest of the world (California, especially the Bay Area is obviously the center of the world….), Beverley mentioned that there is a pair of falcons nesting at the University of Glasgow.  There is a lovely article here – which includes a bit of video

And, as it turns out there are more than a dozen other locations which currently have Falcon Cams running. From Manchester New Hampshire, through Michigan, Minnesota,  Fort Wayne & Kansas City (both tall commercial buildings), several power companies (an attempt to seem environmentally friendly?)

It makes for entertaining viewing.  I am still not sure if I enjoy seeing a foot (mouse, dove, pigeon) dangling as Archie or Annie shred prey for those hungry, loud chicks but I certainly appreciate the decrease in the local pigeon populations.

And, if you need it again – here is the Cal Falcon link again

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Candy Corn

After Alex (SIL) had breakfast at Mel’s Diner we made a couple of stops on the way back to his & Dani’s house. Since Michaels is across the street from Mel’s – well that was an obvious stop to pick up several skeins of floss. Plus the Flamingo on sale. More on it tomorrow once it has found its place among the others.

Then it was on to Walgreens followed by Ralleys’ Grocery where I found the following on sale. I mean, I have seen Halloween Candy corn often. It makes perfect sense. I have even seen some Xmas candy corn. But Summer/US Patriotic?

Please note – they seem to be proud of being US based. What is more, the company states it was founded in 1950….

Just in case you could see the obvious colors…. and it actually has a bit of citrus flavor. What? You thought I was going to save it till July? Not hardly…

I managed to get home in time for what I thought would be the Thursday IM Grand Rounds from UCSF only to find that they had failed to update their website. No link, no conference, an hour gifted back to me.

So I managed to make some significant progress on the Elephant –

which actually doesn’t look like a whole lot for more than 700 stitches. Then I went on to finish the remaining cross stitching on Poison Apple and started to move on to the backstitching. I still have most of it + the beading to go..

and then there is Vampyrum with the frame completed and 2/4 of the weird things stitched. The next part of the chart is released on the 18th so I think I have enough time.

and it is off to bed early, or at least aimed toward a relaxing computer game or two.

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Let us please leave aside any discussions of political correctness for the moment. A number of years ago, a couple of ambitious stitchers decided to be “Manic” in May and start a new project every day of the month. And thus the start of Maynia.  Over the last 5-7 years there have been a number of variations – mostly related to matching starting new projects with the last two digits of the year. That would put the number of new starts at 24 for 2024.

Obviously I am not that stupid. So far this year I have managed to finish 32 projects of which six were starts this year. This has obviously massively reduced my pile of “left overs” and total number of projects on hand. I am down to six left-over projects of which 5 are older SALs and the one Thea Goveneur. Current projects are three SALs (Field Guide to Dragons, Vampryum, Deadly Aquarium), two long term projects (Its about Time, 324), and two short term projects (Poison Apple, Savanah Elephant). That is it, leaving one slot open for the next up in the Fabulous House Series).  I will be adding in one of the older projects at a time till they are all done. Any other starts will be as replacements as projects get completed.

You notice that I didn’t mention Portuguese Dreams? Finished today – stitched on a fabric of the month from Ship’s Manor with the called for DMC. I skipped the fish  which would have been located below the houses…

I also made progress on the Elephant –

finishing up what obviously turned out to be his ear, starting his head and a bit of the body.

It was over 800 stitches into each of these two projects….

Tomorrow will be more elephant and back to Poison Apple – time to start the backstitch & beading…

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