Monday, September 10, 2012

Life is back to "normal"

I am not sure what the definition of "normal" is, but if it has something to do with being crazy busy with two active kids who are balancing a new school year and their sport of choice: hockey...and, in addition to that, balancing the fact that we are a small business owner (who has 2 Edible Arrangement stores) and I am, yet again, the team manager for Robert's hockey team...then life is definitely back to "normal".

But before I bore you too much with all my "normal" life activities, I will do a little show and tell regarding the status of my Lizzie Kate Mystery Sampler...
I am still working on Part I...but I have received part II and part III so I guess I really need to get the needle and thread going on this - it is just a matter of finding time to sit my behind down and relax. I do find a little time here and there...and with some hockey travel coming up, I will have some time on the airplane in the very near future.

Like I mentioned...my boys started school a few weeks ago. Robert (older son) started his junior year in high school and Matthew (younger son) 8th grade, last year of middle school. They seem to be getting older right before my eyes every day. Where did those little boys go?

Their hockey seasons also begun with pre-season practices and conditioning in August that lead up to a Labor Day tournament at the end of the month. Matthew's Bantam 13UAAA team played a couple of exhibition games (unfortunately they lost both, but it was a good test of what kind of things they need to work on before they travel to their first tournament in October). Robert's Midget Minor 16UAAA team played 7 games over the Labor Day weekend and ended up the Champions of the USHL Western Shootout Labor Day tournament.
It is always a nice way to start off your season with a Championship in the Labor Day tournament!

I travel with Robert and his team this coming Thursday to Minnesota for the first NAPHL (North American Prospects Hockey League) weekend. I am looking forward to this because all my family still lives in Minnesota, so not only do I get an opportunity to watch Robert & his team play hockey games, but I get a wonderful opportunity to visit with my parents, sisters, brother-in-law and niece/nephew!

Well, that is everything in a nutshell...I hope all of you are doing well. I appreciate you visiting my blog and really appreciate those followers out there who are very patient with me regarding my absence lately.

Take care and remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often
Lisa

Friday, August 10, 2012

Yes, I'm still here...and I have a lot to show you!

OMG...it has been a long time since I have sat myself down to share with you all. Thank you for being patient. I has been busy around here.

Last weekend I travelled to Orlando, Florida for the Edible Arrangement Franchise Convention. I went there by myself, leaving all the boys (husband and sons) back home. I love going to these conventions, for I get to meet other Edible Arrangement franchise owners, share ideas with them, get information regarding some of the new arrangements and products that the corporate office is working on and get re-energized to go back to our stores! The most exciting part of the weekend was winning one of the regional awards...my husband and I were nominated for the Pineapple Star of the West region award and we WON!

Pineapple Star of the West Region 2012
It was so exciting! Feels great to be recognized by the management team of the corporate office as one of the top stores in the West Region.

The plane ride from California to Florida is very, very looooooonnnngggg! It was a good opportunity to get some stitching done. I brought along with me the Lizzie Kate Halloween Mystery Sampler - Part 1. Here is the status of this as of right now...


It's coming a long slowly, but surely...however, it looks like I need to speed things up because I received part 2 in the mail today:


In addition to part 2 of the mystery sampler...I also received my copy of the Just CrossStitch Halloween edition.

There are some really cute Halloween designs to stitch in it! However it has been really hard to find time to sit and stitch since I got back from the Franchise convention; for both of my sons have started their pre-season hockey practices and conditioning activities. My younger son, Matthew, has been skating and working out in the mornings and my older son, Robert, has been doing hill running (conditioning activities) with his team in the evenings. It is great for my workouts (typically join in) and my own fitness routine, but not good for my stitching! But I will make time soon.

One other thing that I would like to show you is something I received from my uncle. While going through my grandmother's house, my mother & uncles found an old dress tucked into one of the closets....and they decided to send it to me.

This dress was my great-grandmothers. She wore it to my great-grandfather's funeral in 1926. It has that 20's flapper look to it, with a bow in the front and a little pleating below the bow. Pretty cool, huh?

Well, thats all I have for my show and tell today. Hope all is well with you!

Take care and remember...

Live, Laugh, Love and Stitch often!
Lisa

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hi all...I finally get Yahoo and this computer to work. I had things that I was going to post earlier in the week, but I just couldn't get my photos that I emailed to myself to download; actually for some reason I couldn't even get Yahoo to work properly. But anyway, I am back in business now and I can do some show and tell...YAHOO!

First of all, as some of my followers might remember...I lost my grandmother on April 4, 2012 (see post: In Memory to read all about this special lady). On Monday afternoon, a special piece of furniture arrived...

This was my grandmother's secretary desk. Grandma received this from Grandpa for an Anniversary gift back in the 70's.  I guess Grandma and Grandpa were shopping somewhere and she fell in love with the desk. Due to her subtle hints at her desire to have this, Grandpa surprised her with it for their anniversary. When ever I would visit, I would comment my love for this desk too and so Grandma made notes in her will that it should be given to me. It wasn't a simple or cheap process, as it had to be packed and shipped from her house in South Carolina to me in California. After travelling for over a week, it finally arrived on Monday. I unpacked it, cleaned it up and got it all set up. The tea cups and saucers you see in the cabinet were also Grandma's. My grandmother loved to go antiquing...and she always found some kind of treasure. I fell in love with her tea cup collection, which she also made note that I should receive. Thus, I felt that it would be the perfect thing to display the teacups and sauces. Now everytime I walk downstairs and past this secretary desk, I feel that she is here!

Now on to some stitching status...as posted last I was able to get in some stitching done on the L*K Mystery Sampler-Part 1 over the weekend. Here is where I am with it...

I have the majority of the border completed, except some of the long stitches (or "satin stitches" as my grandmother used to call it). I have the beginning of what I believe it to be an owl (he will be wearing that witch's hat). I will post again when I make some more progress.

DH and Robert made it home late Sunday evening from Chicago. Seems that the Jr. hockey camp went pretty well, even though Robert didn't get an invite to skate in the all-star games. Nevertheless, a father-son weekend is priceless and makes for a good opportunity to find new places to eat. Deep dish pizza pies and steaks were the big finds!

That is all I have for you all my friends. Hope all is well with you! Take care and until next time, remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Just a Sunday Surf-by

My older son, Robert, and my DH has been in Chicago since Thursday afternoon. They travelled there so Robert could participate in an open camp for the Jr Hockey team called the Topeka Roadrunners. Participating in Jr hockey camps is a path to trying out for such teams. Robert, while being on the younger side for such activity, this is the year he should begin so he can be exposed to coaches and scouts...or so I have heard. Growing up in Minnesota, this whole Jr team business is very foreign...for in the "Land of Hockey" Minnesota kids' hockey path was playing Jr Varsity in middle school, High School hockey in high school and then tryingout/going on to play Div 1 or 3 in college. There was no Jr Hockey team talk. But I guess as long as my DH and my boys understand this foreign path, I am fine. Anyway, with them out of town my younger son and I have been hanging at the house. Most of the weekend was spent working in one or both of our stores, however I have spent the evening getting in some X's in the L*K Mystery Sampler. It is a slow and steady process for me as I am not use to sitting down more than 10 minutes at a time. But as of this morning I have basically finished the border of Part I (minus the long stitches, or what my dearly missed grandmother called "satin stitches"...just not sure I want to do these stitches until the end as I am afraid they might be messed up when using Qsnaps/hoop when I stitch Part 2). No pictures now because computer has travelled to Chicago and I can't seem to figure out how to upload photos to blog when I post using my iPad (anyone out there know if it is possible?). Hope you are having a good weekend. Thank you for surfing by! Until next time, remember... Live, love, laugh, and stitch often! Lisa

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mary Wigham and a surprise in my mailbox

Hi all...hope everyone is doing well - that those who have been experiencing hot weather are getting some relief. We have been very lucky in Northern California to enjoy some wonderful weather in the mid 70s and upper 80s. However the marine layer fogs and winds are moving and some 100s are scheduled for tomorrow. Oh, well...we were doomed to get some soon!

Without hockey in the evenings, we have had some nice relaxing family time hanging in our tv room and vegging. The boys love to play computer games, as well as DH and that leaves me time to make some X's on Mary Wigham.

From a distance, here is what Mary looks like:
(sorry for the wrinkles and hoop marks...I wanted to photo it quickly and was too lazy to iron)
I have started working down the left side of the sampler (section 7). My thought is to work on the border motifs first and then work on the inside.

Here is an upclose look at the motifs I have been working on since my last post:
Top motif - thread: GAST Clover
Bottom motif - thread: GAST Grape Leaf
I love working on these motifs. They seem to be very quick to stitch and I love to see how the changes of color shades change as I stitch.

And now the big news...my new project arrived today (Thank You Mailman)!

Part I of the Lizzie Kate Mystery Sampler, fabric and thread arrived today! I can't wait to start...however, I should finish the Grape Leaf motif on Mary first and then start, don't you think? Best to finish one task first!

Well, that is all from here. Take care ya'll and until next time, remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!
Lisa

Friday, June 29, 2012

It is Friday! - M.Wigham update, hockey and the Farmer's Market

It is always nice when Friday rolls around here during the summer, for that means no hockey tonight and through the weekend. I know that my boys would protest to something like that, but for me...one of the main chaufer drivers I am estatic as the arrival of Friday & the weekend!

However, I can't complain too much about this week. For our carpooling routine has been very kind to us. DH and I have taken turns driving the group of boys down and back from the rink for the day camp and the other families we carpool with have been doing the evening camp. If I go down to the rink during the day, I use that time to enjoy a good work out in the fitness room down there while still having time to get in some stitching!

I have made some progress on Mary Wigham this week and here is a status photo of the Gold motif I finished...and the start to the motif I am stitching in Oatmeal:

Mary Wigham
Gold Leaf Motif
(and above...the motif I am stitching in Oatmeal)
The section I have been stitching lately is section 6...however I skipped the middle section, which is section 5. Why? because that is the section where Mary Wigham's name is and because the graph sizes aren't quite the same size, so they don't match up very well when you cut/tape them together. In fact I noticed that section 5, 7, 8, 9 tend to be slightly smaller graph sizes and don't easily match up; thus, it can't be easily taped together to create one big master graph to stitch from. So I will definitely need to find the patience to continue stitching M.Wigham because I would love to finish this BAP before the end of the year!

Ok, enough rambling about M.Wigham...and on to another topic...

Farmer's Markets! Since moving to California almost 9 years ago, one of my favorite things that occur here are the Farmer's Markets. Last summer, a small local farmer's market started at a park that is 1.5 miles from us. It occurs every Thursday evening and since I haven't had to drive down to the rink in the evenings I have been visiting the local market and picking up some of the fresh produce that is coming in from the local farms right now. This time of the year is the "pit-fruit" or "stone-fruit" season. Which means that there is a wonderful selection of nectarines, plums, apricots and all the hybrids.

My Pit-Fruit selection from Thursday's Farmer's Market trip
The hybrids or cross-breeds (?) are very interesting and many are very good taste combinations. First up is the:
APRICOT + PLUM = APRIUM
Starting with the top-right-yellow fruit = apricots...the lower-right-purple fruit = plums..
mix them together and you get the middle-left-light redish/yellowish fruit = apriums
They taste like a plum with the texture of an apricot. The skin is also slightly fuzzy like an apricot
PEAR + NECTARINE = PEARINE

Top = Nectarine...Bottom = Pearine
(no pears as it is not the season for them)
I haven't taken the opportunity to taste these yet; however because it was the first time I saw this hybrid, I thought I would get a few and bring home to try. I'll let you know what they are like next time.


There are other combinations, like the PLOUT which is a real sweet plum. However, there were no pluots available at the market last night.  I did get a few other items, such as:

Heirloom Tomatoes

Have you ever tried the Heirloom Tomatoes. It is interesting, to me at least, how different each one tastes. I think my favorite are the ones that have more yellow and orange. The green/red one in the upper right-hand corner is a very strange taste, but I thought I would go ahead and get one. Might be good with something we might cook up over the weekend.

Last, but definitely not least...I got some:



Blackberries and Raspberries. Oh, my...it is heaven! When you put one of those large, lusious black berries in your mouth and those little pillows "pop" in your mouth...OMG!

Well, on that note. I wish you all a BERRY good and FRUITY weekend! Take care and remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!
Lisa




















Sunday, June 24, 2012

Relaxing...Lazy...Weekend: Stitching, Grilling and Family Time!

Mary Wigham - completed motif
Thread: GAST Maple Syrup
I finished another motif on Mary Wigham last night so I thought I would post a photo of the finished motif. We have been having a very nice lazy & relaxing weekend so far.

Friday, I did go into the store and work until 2pm filling in for a couple of our employees who needed a day off - they worked through Father's Day weekend so they needed a day off. Afterward, I was free to go home where I did do a little house cleaning and laundry to get caught up on those things...something that I haven't had any time to do for a long time. With no hockey activities in the evening, I tossed some burgers and steaks on the grill and we sat down as a family for a meal. It felt so good not to have to go anywhere in the evening and to hang out at the house with my boys and DH. It has been a long time since we have had this time together.

But time with the family didn't end there. Saturday neither DH or I had to go to the stores and we didn't have any hockey! I actually slept in until 7am (that is late for me as I typically get up between 4-5am to workout) and then went out for a 6 mile jog/walk. It felt so good! Except for a trip to the hockey store to get new skates for Robert, we just hung out at the house...and had another family dinner of grilled shrimp and salmon. And today - just got up at 7am again and on the stationary bike right now - the agenda consists of more hanging out at the house and a family meal of burgers and pork chops. Tomorrow, it is back to lots of driving down to the rink and back to the store.

My older son, Robert, isn't quite fond of these lazy weekends. During the week when it is "go, go, go" he talks of doing nothing and sleeping in. While he did sleep in until 9:30am, the rest of the day we had to deal with his foul mood. He just doesn't know what to do with himself during these kind of weekends. Although once I got him out of the house to get his skates, his mood changed. Hopefully today he will find his own way to deal with our lazy day, maybe getting outside to shoot some hoops or pucks in the net.

Hey, have you all seen and read about the Lizzie Kate Mystery Sampler?

The one that is going to be released in 3 parts over the summer...the one that has a Halloween theme? Well, I signed up with my LNS for the series and purchased the kit that they are going to be putting together with fabric and the required threads. I guess the first part will be shipped out at the end of June. I can't wait to start this. Is anyone else participating in this mystery?

Well, time to sign off. Hope you are having a good weekend. I appreciate you stopping by and love the comments. Thank You! Until next time, remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

And now we resume our normally scheduled program...

Yesterday at 3pm, me and my fellow 11 jurors, handed the judge our verdict...
Guilty of 1st degree murder.
It took us approximately 5 hours of deliberation to come up with the verdict.  Using evidence we received over a period of 8 day and the laws of the case as received from the judge, that was the decision all 12 of us came up with.

After the verdict was read in the courtroom, which seemed to contain more people in the audience than it did during the preceedings, several of the defendant's friends/family members ran out screaming. Many stayed seated in side crying and bawling.

Over the period of 3 weeks, court was in session for 9 days. During those 9 days:
  • June 4 & 5 - Jury Selection. I was selected at the end of the second day. It was nerve wracking to sit in the audience with a pool of jurors that started out with 120 people. Between excusals and those who didn't meet the criteria of the lawyers, the pool shrunk. At that time, the only thought I had in my mind was - "Don't pick me!" However, I had the feeling ever since I stepped into the court room that I was going to be apart of this experience
  • June 6 - Opening Arguements
  • June 7, 11, 12, 13 - Testimony. Expert witnesses spoke about guns, bullets, the autopsy findings. Witnesses from the neighborhood unwillinging shared a little, but not much, insight on the young man on trial and the victim of the shooting. We listened to video statements of the defendant describing the crime...a video that took over 3 hours. We listened to phone conversations between the defendant and family.
  • June 18 - Closing Arguements and the reading of the law that pertained to this case.
  • June 19 - Deliberation and the verdict
The experience...it was very interesting, educational and in someways rewarding...as well as overwhelming, emotional and draining. For 7 days (post jury selection) I felt like I "lived" with 11-14 other people. During all but the last day, there were 15 of us - 12 jurors and 3 alternates - the alternates were excused from the deliberations. During the trial, we would file in to the courtroom together and file out together. We would meet up in our special Jury Deliberation room daily - when we arrived, for our morning break, lunch break and afternoon break. We had our own private bathroom, refrigerator and coffee pot. We got to know each other during this period.

Prior to the offical deliberation that took place yesterday, we were not able to discuss the case. We took an oath of silence that not only included all our friends and family members, but also the fellow jurors . Once the case was ours to discuss yesterday, it was like a dam opened up. We all needed to talk, to talk to eachother. Not only because it was our job to discuss at that time, but keeping all the information and feelings to oneself for that period of time is difficult, so once we were given the "GO" to discuss, everyone was happy and ready to talk, discuss and share.

As much as I didn't want to be selected; as much as I dreaded the challenge of organizing carpools for the boys - leaning on friends and neighbors to get them to the hockey rink; as much challenge this caused for DH and I with regards to staffing/managing our two stores...it was a wonderful experience. However, I thought I would have felt more of a YAHOO! when I was done with jury duty once the verdict was read but I feel more a sense of loss, of "coming down". Between the bond created with my fellow jurors and the reaction in the court when the verdict was read, I just feel like something is now missing. I am sure it was take a couple of days to get over...

In the meantime, it is time to jump back into the routine of my household. To take more of a role in the carpooling of my boys and the neighbors and the friends down to the rink for the hockey camps we are involve in. It is time to enter back into our stores and work with our wonderful employee by cutting fruit, dipping strawberries & bananas in chocolate and creating the beautiful fruit arrangements we make.

And it is time to continue putting more stitches into my Mary Wigham sampler which hasn't seen daylight since August 2010. Last week, Mary came out of the closet and joined me in the jury room where I added a few more motifs. Here is a status photo of it (sorry for all the wrinkles):

Well, I can't get this photo to behave itself and turn...but with the help of the round hoop marks, the place where I have stitched it more evident. In the photo, it is near the bottom. Anyway, sorry about that...just wanted to get a status photo posted and really don't have the patience this morning to deal with figuring things out.

Well, I have kept you long enough. Thank you for visiting and thank you all for the very nice comments on my Family Sampler finish from the last post.

Take care and remember...


Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often
Lisa

Monday, June 11, 2012

It is done - time for a Happy Dance!


Family Sampler is DONE!
Started January 1, 2011 and completed June 6, 2012!
YAHOO!
Time to dance a Happy Dance for sure!

I have ironed it and have hung it in the closet (so it doesn't wrinkle) until I find time and a source to frame it. I have a couple of ideas of where to put it after it is framed. I am so excited to have this done...even though I didn't quite make my deadline of April 7, 2011 which was my 20th anniversary. However, better late than never...right?

It took me awhile to share this finish with all of you because I am serving on a jury for a case that it estimated to last 3-4 weeks. I know that jury duty is a privilege or honor or required civil duty or something like that, but why is it me that always has to g?. My DH gets these notices every year as well, but he seems get off with out even having to go in. I have served on a civil trial 14 years ago, almost got picked for a child molestation case 5 years ago and here I am today sitting in the juror box for a murder case. Well, it is definitely interesting, but it does cause a lot of challenges when getting things organized for my sons' hockey activities as well as stress for our business. But we are taking one day at a time in planning and utilizing some wonderful hockey families to carpool the boys to and from the rink. Hopefully it doesn't last too long!

Nevertheless, jury duty equals a lot of time for stitching and I have brought out my Mary Wigham! I will make sure to post a status photo for you all soon. It feels good to bring this project back out from the UFO pile. I love working 1-over-1 every once in a while.

Well, just wanted to share my good news with everyone!
Hope you are doing well!

Until next time, remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!
Lisa



Thursday, May 24, 2012

An update: life, stitching and a milestone birthday

Well, the boys have offically moved on from their respective school's track & field back to hockey full-time. Last weekend was tryouts for the 2012-13 AAA year already - and I am very proud of my boys as each made the team that they were trying out for. My older son will be on the San Jose Jr. Sharks 16AAA team...and Matthew, my younger son, will be on the 13AAA team...and both will have the same coaches they had last year, so it is kind of a continuation of last year. However, both boys lost a few very good teammates and picked up some new ones. We are sad that we lost some good families and hope that we will continue to keep in contact.

Aside from tryouts, the boys have started their summer hockey camp which meets 4 times a week in the evenings (both boys are still in school for another 2 weeks) and will go on for 6 weeks. It definitely is a major committment for all involved as the drive down to San Jose from where we live is about 40-45 minutes...one way :) Anyway, I have found the time down at the rink perfect for stitching and have picked up Family Sampler and put some X's in it. It has been a long time since I posted a photo...so without further ado, here is the status of my Family Sampler:


I do apologize for the wrinkles and hoop imprints. I wanted to get photos posted this morning and it was just too darn early to get out the iron (it is only 4:45am). Since the last posting I have finished up the family...from left to right: one of my sons, Me, dog Bruno, cat Chester, DH and other son. Since the boys, who are three years apart, are the same height as of right now I decided to make them the same. I also didn't want to decide which child was standing with which parent. This way, I thought I could enjoy looking at it after it was totally finished and framed and feel like both were standing with me or both were standing with my DH. Just a shame that there is a tree right between DH and I ;)


Here is the section a little closer. I have another basket of flowers to finish on the left hand side...then all that is really left is to stitch our last name in that empty section under the family. It's looking like I just might finish this in the next month...or so! At least I will finish it soon!


-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-


HAPPY 13TH BIRTHDAY MATTHEW!


13 years ago @ 6:30am - Matthew entered into my life.
I was all set up to be induced on Tuesday, May 25;
 however I guess Matthew felt that Monday, May 24th.
My DH drove me to the hospital at 4am that Monday morning, as my contractions were coming fast and furious. Within a couple of hours he was looking up at me almost right into me and smiling.

Matthew sitting on the hockey bench; he was a 1st year PeeWee AA and played for the Santa Clara Blackhawks

It is fun watching Matthew grow and mature,
to witness the differences and similarities between him and his older brother.
I enjoy his stories...our conversations...his take on life.

Me, Robert (my oldest-16 year old) and Matthew (my now 13 year old)
Matthew...I am so proud of you!
You are a caring and loving son;
A great role model at school and on your hockey team.
 You are becoming a wonderful young man!
I love you!

Happy 13th Birthday!


Well, that will do it for you today. Thank you for visiting and I hope you have a wonderful Thursday! Remember...


Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!
Lisa

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Remember me?

I know, it has been a very long time since my last post. The last month and a half have been very busy (more than usual). So I am going to try and update you...

As per my last posting, I lost my grandmother on April 4th so my boys and I travelled to St. Louis, Missouri the following weekend for the funeral. It really was a bitter-sweet weekend...probably more sweet than bitter though. It was so good to get together with my immediate family as well as uncles, aunts and cousins.

Left-to-Right: Matthew my (son), Debbie (my sister), ME, Jamie (my sister), Diane (my mother), Robert (my son)...and the front 2 cuties - Lizzie and Sammie who are Jamie's

My boys with my parents (their grandparents)

My mom and I


My sisters and I...by the way, I am the oldest :)
From Left to Right: Debbie is the middle child, Me the oldest and Jamie the youngest

Mom and her 3 daughters

The memorial service was basically scripted by Grandma before she past away. Each one of us were required to read a specific poem or reading. Mine was Hector the Collector a poem by Shel Silverstein that talked about a little boy who collected everything. He loved old and broken things that no one else would give a second look. While many people would call these things Junk, they were a Treasure to Hector. Like Hector, Grandma loved "things" - antiquing was one of her favorite things to do. She has so many collections of "things" in her house - her treasures.

The weekend went very well and, as mentioned by Robert who attended Grandpa's funeral, it just didn't seem as sad as Grandpa's. And I really agreed with him. While I am sad to have lost my grandmother, there was some peace and comfort know that my grandparents were reunited April 14 in Heaven; and that she didn't have to live in the state that the stroke left her in on Feb. 7. Being unable to speak clearly or at all just wasn't for grandma, so I am glad that she didn't have to endure that too long.

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-


After returning home from the funeral weekend, it was time to really bear down and plan for the up coming Mother's Day for our 2 stores. Mother's Day business is just as crazy as Valentine's Day for us. And with Mexican Mother's Day on May 10 - Mother's Day business seem to last 6 days. I probably got about 8 hours of sleep in a 5-6 day period. Between early and long hours in the store(s) I also had a couple of overnight/graveyard shifts where I dipped strawberries and apples in chocolate for Chocolate covered Strawberry boxes and arrangments. Things that we don't ask our employees to do.

But now with Mother's Day behind us and having a couple of days to recoup, I am feeling a little more like myself. We are still somewhat short handed in our main store and I am having to fill in on Tuesday and Thursday mornings as well as closing on Wednesday evenings. Hopefully when our college kids change schedules or get out of school for the summer they can pick up some of these house and DH & I can rotate presence in the store...giving each of us time away from the store. The life of business owners...

I have found a few minutes here and there to put in some X's in Family Sampler, which I will try and get a status photo up soon!

Hope all is going well with you all. I am so sorry that I have been absent and I thank those of you who haven't left :)

Until next time, remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!
Lisa

Thursday, April 5, 2012

In Memory...

Dolores Kathryn Kranzberg Wolf
August 22, 1918 - April 4, 2012

"Grandma"

Early this morning (**this was started yesterday, April 4th), I received that phone call...the kind of phone call that no one ever likes to receive. However, in this case it was more of a blessing and received with a sense of comfort and peace than saddness. It was news that my grandmother passed on.

Grandma will be laid to rest next weekend in St. Louis, Missouri on April 14, which is the perfect date. On April 14, 1939 the young Dolores Kranzberg married the handsome Daniel D Wolf, my grandfather who passed away a little over 3 years ago. So next weekend, not only will my family and I be celebrating the life of a wonderful, inspiration woman but will also be celebrating the reunion of two souls.


Photos of the young Mrs. Wolf - these photos were sent to grandpa when he was stationed across the seas during the war. On the back, grandma wrote:
"Your pin-up girl - ha! ha! This isn't a very good picture, but will give you some idea of what I mean when I say I have a sad look to my face these days."
Grandma and Grandpa - celebrating grandpa's 85th birthday (2002?)
Grandma told me stories of when she and grandpa were apart during the war. She missed him so much! I know that since his death, a day didn't go by without a thought of grandpa! They taught me the true meaning of love and the dedication it takes to be married.

Grandma also taught me the importance of holidays - any holiday and every holiday! The house always smelled good as the oven held some sort of delicacy...like her famous chocolate bundt cake with "grandma's icing"...or the fryer sizzling with her special fried chicken. Thanksgiving...Christmas...Hanukkah...it didn't matter.
Food...Family...Friends...Fun! That is what it was all about.

Grandpa, Grandma and me - standing near the Christmas tree (1969?)
Grandma was never far away...if she wasn't visiting us or we weren't visiting her, she was always a phone call away! During my teen years, when life seemed a little confusing, she was there to lend an ear and always seemed to say the right thing, something that helped to me to make sense of life.

My mother...me...and grandma (1969?)

My grandmother taught me how to appreciate art..
I remember rainy days at her house typically lead to an afternoon of making Shrinky Dinks; there was a Christmas when we worked on felt Christmas Ornaments; many trips to the St. Louis Art Museum. Grandma also taught me how to embroider and to cross-stitch. I remember going with her to Ben Franklin and picking out a selection of DMC threads, my first wooden hoop and needles. We went back to her house and drew out a rainbow, a cloud, and - of course - the pot of gold. With satin stitches, I had the perfect rainbow!

Grandma showed me ways to enjoy history as we would tour many old, historic homes together - I remember a trip I took with Grandma and Grandpa to Hannibal, Missouri where I learned about Mark Twain and got to see the "real" white picket fence that Tom Sawyer painted.

Long trips across the country were turned into an adventure when taken with Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma would make grandpa stop at little country antique stores where she would find all sorts of treasures; we would stop at unique places to eat or stay for the night. One of my favorites was the Dutch town of Pella, Iowa we would stay over night - kind of the midway point between Minnesota and St. Louis (for many summers, my grandparents would visit us in Minnesota in June and after a visit, I would get to go back to their house for a week. Sometimes by myself and sometimes with 1 or both of my sisters). We would always stop at the little bakery and load up on some Almond "S's" and other Dutch treats. We would stay at the Dutch Mill Inn. We would play in the little park and make long chains out of clover flowers.

Starting from the top left and going clockwise: Sister Jamie, Me, Sister Debbie and Grandma
 (grandpa's 85th birthday - taken at Crazy Crab in Hilton Head)

When Grandpa passed away in December of 2008, it didn't slow grandma down. While she missed him dearly, she did continue to live life to the fullest! Living in Hilton Head, a wonderful vacation place, her house always seems to be full with visitors. I swear she should have opened up a bed and breakfast, for not only did friends and family stay and eat well at her house, she definitely played the role of Island Tour Guide and Event planner - making everyone's stay there amazing. She also found opportunities to travel herself. A few of my boys' hockey tournaments were blessed with her presence.
2009 National Championship, North Carolina - (left to right): Me, FIL Clyde, MIL Holly, Robert and Grandma, my mother (behind grandma), Cousin Charlie, my father and my Uncle Doug.

2010 Tournament in St. Louis - (left to right): Robert, Grandma, my mother, Matthew and Me
When we found out that both boys' hockey team would be travelling to St. Louis for a tournament (yes, both would be playing - a rariety) my family from Minnesota, my uncle from North Carolina, my uncle from Colorado and my grandmother from South Carolina all met for a little hockey and for a little reunion!
Grandma...there is such a void in my life without you. On Feb. 7th, the day of your stoke, I have to admit I was happy that you were still with us...but really upset and sad when I heard that it affected your speech. Talking to you weekly was part of my routine. A phone conversation with you always brightened up my day, for I would get to tell you all the happenings in our household. We would laugh as I would share with you stories of my adolescent boys and my husband; and you would enlighten me with some wonderful wisdom of your life. When the phone hung up, I would feel lighter...richer...comforted...supported...loved.

Yes, I will miss these phone calls and miss having you here on earth. But it is comforting to know, that you have moved on...a new "chapter", if you will...reunited with grandpa and other family and friends. You have a new place to explore, new antique shops to visit.

The most important thing that I learned from my grandmother???
Life life to the fulliest by laughing and surrounding yourself with friends and family!

Until next time...remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Happy April...


No, this is not an April Fool's joke...it is actually a bad photo (sorry...it was a phone photo) of the status of my Family Sampler. Since my last post over 1/2 month ago, I have finished the dad/husband (or should I say: DH), the mom/wife (or should I say ME), and have started one of the sons. Except for some slight color changes of the boys' pants and shirt, I will make them the same size...even though one is younger than the other, but right now the younger one is now an inch taller than the older one. :)

Life here, while still busy as we balance ownership/running 2 stores and the activities of the 2 boys, we have found nice quiet evenings at home as the hockey season has come to an end (which is short lived due to some spring teams and development clinics that will start up soon). Both boys have taken up track for their respective school during the hockey "off season" where practice is right after school and the schools aren't far from home. Nevertheless, everyone has been home by dinner time and our evenings have been relaxed...and we have even been able to "hit the sack" around 9pm! Sweet Slumber!!!

Last week, my grandmother was back in the hospital due to being very dehydrated from some of the medications she was on. None of the family was in South Carolina at the time, so one of grandma's very best friends stayed with her in the hospital and reported her status with my mother and my 2 uncles. After 24 hours of hospital attention, things didn't looks so good. While grandma's mind is still sharp as a tack, her 93 year old body is showing more wear & tear after the stroke and seems to be shutting down. So last Thursday, my parents & sister from Minnesota, an Uncle & Aunt from Colorado and my other Uncle, Aunt & Cousin from North Carolina got on the next flights out of their respective states and headed to South Carolina to be with grandma. After some discussion between the siblings with grandma, the decision was made on Friday for grandma to be moved to hospice care and all meds to be stopped...so now it is just a waiting game sort-of-speak.

Each group of family has taken the opportunity to spend the night in grandma's room...Friday night my mother and sister stayed. They said that when ever grandma was up & alert they shared memories of time in St. Louis at everyone's favorite restaurant Tony's as well as other special time. Laughs were also said to be heard coming from my grandmother's room...for we always find things to laugh about, even if we make fun of ourselves.

As sad as this time is, it is nice that grandma is surrounded by family and friends, and special memories and moments are being shared between them all. I wish that I was there, but I am very grateful that I had the time with her last month when I visited her right after she had the stroke.
One of the questions that has been ringing in everyone ears is:
"Why did Grandma survive the stroke on Feb. 7?"
for she was home alone that evening and wasn't found until the next day,
 laying on the ground of her living room.
I believe that things happen for reasons...I believe that grandma fought for this time and the time was given to her; time that allowed many of us...me included...to fly to the west coast, to visit, to hug & kiss, to share memories and laughs, to share love...one more time!

I know that her time on earth is very, very short
I hope that her preparation for her next journey doesn't cause any discomfort
I know that grandpa is waiting for her and their reunion will be very happy...three years is a long time to be away from your soul mate!
I love you grandma!

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Ok, without sounding like I am off my rocker...
Last night, as I was in & out of slumber, I heard an owl hooting outside nearby.
This is not uncommon for where we live, for we have owls, hawks, coyotes, turkeys and deer.
But this hooting owl was nearby and continued to hoot all night long.
This morning at 6am, before the sun came up, I tip-toed outside to see if I could see
where that owl was perched.
Little did I know it was on our roof
I saw it, it peek over and peered down at me and hooted.
My grandmother loved owls. She collected owls.

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-

Until next time...remember,

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often
Lisa

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It is mid-March already...yikes!

Wow! It has been a long time since my last post, so I have some catching up to do!

The last post was right as I was getting ready to leave for Hilton Head Island, SC to visit my grandmother. I am soooooooo glad that I went! It was so hard to see my grandmother post-stroke...yet, she didn't look like what I had prepared myself for. I guess we always prepare ourselves for the worst. My father (who lives in Minnesota and was still in SC visiting) picked me up from the airport and took be to the rehab hospital where my g'ma was staying (my mother was waiting with my g'ma in the hospital - my g'ma is my mother's mother). I entered g'ma's room and she took my hand in her left, held it to her face and cried..."oh, Lisa." She squeezed my hand while she cried and cried and cried. Not normally a crier, it was hard to see my grandmother show this emotion. But my hearts swelled up and I squeezed her hand, laid my head on her chest...kissed her...talked to her and so on. After a few minutes, the tears did stop flowing as I began to catch her up on all the stuff going on in my household. Within a few more minutes, I had her laughing as I told her about my boys and all there nonsense. When it was time to leave that evening, again she took my hand in her "good" left hand and squeezed, bringing it up to her face as she cried. She looked into my eyes and said, "Lisa, my first, you are here." I responded..."yes grandma, I am here. I love you!" Then with a kiss to her cheek, I said, "you get some rest. I will be back in the morning. Good night." and I left the rehab hospital with my mother and father.

I stayed Thursday, March 1 through Sunday, March 4. My father left on Friday, so the rest of the weekend I not only had time with my grandmother but quality time with my mother, which I haven't had in a very long time. Due to my g'ma having therapy from 9am-3pm, we weren't allowed to visit until the late afternoon so I fell into my mother's routine of getting our exercise completed in the morning, a late breakfast and then the drive to the hospital. My mother and I took some nice long walks on the beach as well as around my grandmother's neighborhood (we stayed at my grandma's house). My mother was able to share with me her thoughts and feelings as she was dealing with seeing her mother go from a independent person to one who now needed to depend on others. The hardest thing for all of us to deal with isn't really the fact that grandma's right arm is paralyzed or she is having trouble moving her right leg/foot without help...it is the fact that she lost control of her speech. My 93 year old grandmother's brain is working great and she has some wonderful things to say...but the stroke affected her speech, which...for the lack of a better word...SUCKS!

Anyway, I left Sunday 3/4 in the afternoon. Upon saying good-bye to my grandmother, through her tears she was able to get out, "Thank you for coming. I appreciate it. I love you." Again, I am so glad that I got out there and visited. I hope to get out there again in the near future.

Just a quick update. Since I left Hilton Head, a bed opened up in a beautiful skilled nursing facility which is just a few miles away from her neighborhood. Grandma's crying and sadness lessened with this move according to my mother. Grandma will continue to have physical and speech therapy, but is in a very nice and social atmosphere...and closer to where her friends live. My mother is going back home to Minnesota today and my 2 uncles (her brothers) will be arriving in Hilton Head on Friday. So there will be a continuous presents of family right now.

Speaking of Uncles...one of the uncles (my mother's younger brother) came out to California last weekend. He stayed at my house for a few days prior to going into San Fran for a business conference. It was great to have him here! DH and I were able to take some time off from the store on Saturday...and the boys didn't have any hockey...so we drove out to Half Moon Bay and had a great day.

After a meal at Sam's Chowder House, we hiked all over the rocky shore of the Pacific Ocean as the tide was going out.
A rare photo of my family - from left to right: Me, Robert, Matthew and Steve
Matthew, Uncle Doug and Robert
Looking into the cracks and crevasis of the rocky shore, where we would see Sea Anemone, star fish and tons of hermit crabs. We also spied some California seals and Harbor seals napping on the rocks as well as frolicking in the waves.
Not only was the sea life fun to watch, but the flowers and foliage around the ocean was beautiful to view.
We must have walked around that shoreline for over 4 hours for the tide started to come in around 4:30pm. So we decided it was time to go on home. Sunday morning, my uncle got a taste of what it is like to work in *The Store*. He went with me to prep fruit and make an early morning arrangement for a customer who needed to pick it up at 9am, which is an hour before we typically open on a normal Sunday. Uncle Doug learned to skewer strawberries, as well as dip them in chocolate. He was a fast learner, but felt the need to taste a few chocolate dipped fruits before I could put them on the arrangement...chocolate dipped strawberries, chocolate dipped bananas and apples. Nice Sunday breakfast, I guess. Once the customer picked up her arrangement, my Uncle and I went for coffee and had some time to visit...something that we haven't done in a long time!

Well, inbetween all this travelling and visiting I have managed to put a few X's into Family Sampler and I even have a photo to prove this. You will have to forgive me though, it is a phone photo as my camera really doesn't want to work...and I didn't take time to take the sampler off the hoop. But, at least I get to post a picture, right?

Since the last photo posting of my Family Sampler, I have added:
  • Bruno, the dog - Bruno is our 10 year old "mutt". We purchased him from a rescue facility when we lived in Minnesota. He was 8 weeks old when we got him.
  • Chester, the cat - Chester is no longer with us. He came into our lives before Steve and I were married. Steve found Chester at the grain elevator he was working at the summer between our Junior and Senior year of college. Chester came to college and lived in Steve's apartment that senior year and then moved to New Orleans with him after graduation. I "adopted" Chester when we got married a year later. It was husband, wife and cat for several years when we lived in New Orleans; however, when we moved up to Minnesota Chester went to live on the farm with Steve's parents. He lived to the ripe old age of 14.
  • Steve, the husband (just started to stitch the jacket) - Steve and I met the first week of our freshman year in college, dated all the way through and got married a year after we graduated.
And there you have it...an update on my life as well as...finally...a stitching up date! With our 21st Wedding Anniversary coming up next month, I would love to finish Family Sampler! It was my desire to have it completed last year for our 20th Anniversary...but maybe I can get it done this year? Maybe.

Well, until next time...remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy March!

The time to relax is when you don't have time for it.
~ Sydney J. Harris

I guess you could say the same for just about anything...
the time to exercise is when you don't have time for it,
the time to stitch is when you don't have time for it...
the time to visit a relative is when you don't have time for it...
...because time Marches on and you might regret missing out

Since returning home from Quebec, it seems like I just haven't taken the time to get much done except work at our store and run the boys to hockey (yes, it is still going on). And, in addition to being busy, I have been fighting a very bad cold...which I finally took time out of my day on Tuesday and went to the doctor. I got some antibiotics and feel much better now, more human and more like myself!

But between not feeling well and going-going-going...I have found it more pleasant to sleep in thus throwing my morning exercise routine out the window. But it is time to get back on to the saddle (the saddle of my stationary bike and maybe even into the tennis shoes of my running). When I don't take the time for this activity, I don't feel 100%...and if I don't find the time to plop my big @$% on the stationary bike, I don't get to update my blog or catch up on everyone elses (for I blog while spinning...a little multitasking goes a long way!). No Spin...No Posting...Not a Happy Camper.

I have, believe it or not, taken out Family Sampler last week and worked on it. I am working on the middle section where the family is stitched. So far I have a dog and a cat stitched and am working on the husband/dad figure. I will try and get a photo of it up soon. Nice to have made time to take this out and reunite my hand with needle and thread!

Well, I am going out of town again. Leaving this morning for South Carolina. Right before I left for Quebec, I found out that my 93 year old grandmother suffered something like a stroke - her best friend drove to her house and found her laying in the middle of the TV room unconscious. Well, it has been several weeks since that occurred and my grandmother is in a rehab facility relearning how to speak, eat with her left hand and walk with the help of a walker. Her right side has been somewhat paralyzed and the event also affected her speech. She is doing fairly well at this time, but I guess one has to consider her age. When the event occurred, my uncle who lives in NC drove down to be with her and to make sure that she was getting good care. Being in the medical field, he was able to understand exactly what happened to her and relayed the information back to family and friends of my grandmother through daily emails. Since his departure, my parents have travelled from MN to SC and are there right now.

With the Quebec hockey tournament and Valentine's day behind me and a strong gut feeling to get to SC to see grandma, I purchased a ticket last weekend and will be flying out there this morning. It will be wonderful to see her and be with my parents, too.  I have been wanting to get out to visit her and wanting to take the boys out there...but there never seemed time to do it. Well, the boys might not be going with me this weekend, but I am grateful to be getting there myself! And I am glad that I didn't wait any longer to see grandma.

While I will be taking my iPad with me, I am not sure that I will have internet connection...so I will be absent another period of time. But please be patient with me!!!

Thank you for stopping by and remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Yes, I am still here

It has been a long time since my last post as I have been in and out of town as well as busy with Valentine's Day business in *The Stores*.  So, time for a little catching up...don't you think?

First up...Quebec Canada
On February 9th I departed the San Francisco airport with my younger son, Matthew, and his hockey team for Quebec for the Quebec International PeeWee Hockey Tournament. As previously written, this tournament is one of the largest youth hockey tournaments in the world. Over 300 teams, from 16 countries, participate in a 10 day tournament.
The San Jose Jr. Sharks PW99AAA hockey team - sitting in the San Francisco Airport, waiting for everyone to check in their luggage and hockey equiptment before heading down secuity and the gate.
Our flight took off at 8am and after 5 hours in the first leg of our journey, we arrived in Toronto Canada. After going through Canadian customs, we had enough time to catch a quick bite of food before loading onto the next plane that would take us to Quebec.
Sitting at the gate waiting for our Quebec flight. Matthew is sitting in the middle (he has the Jr. Sharks grey shirt on), on the left is his coach and on the right is one of his teammate. Below, at his feet is the rest of his team, sitting on the floor eating and playing computer games.
The flight from Toronto to Quebec is a little over an hour. Once in Quebec and our luggage was collected, we all boarded the tournament vans which brought us over to the Pepsi Colisee where the boys would meet the families that they would be staying with for the next 10 days.
Matthew...his billete dad: Benoit...and his teammate: Cam
Once Matthew and his teammate, Cam, departed with their new Quebec family, I left with the rest of the hockey families to check into our hotel. Matthew's billete family has two children - a 3 year old boy and a 9 month old girl. During the weekend, Matthew told me that it was fun playing with 3 year old Maxime, but..."he only speaks French." However, friendship and love seem to breakdown language barriers pretty quickly! Both Matthew and Cam had a wonderful time with their billet family during the 10 days. They were treated like princes!

During their 10 days in Quebec, the boys played a lot of hockey. Their 2 tournament games didn't go very well, loosing both, they were eliminated from the tournament pretty quickly. However, the coaches set up a lot of exhibition games which kept them pretty busy and on the ice. There were only 2 days they weren't on the ice - the first one being Monday, Feb. 13 when they went to a huge snow tubing park...which is always a highlight for the team that go to this tournament. And the only other day they were off the ice was Sunday, Feb. 19 when they were getting packed up to depart the next day. If interested in reading a little more about some of their experience in Quebec, we started a blog to jounalize their experience (unfortunately, I didn't get a chance yet to finish it). You can visit this blog by going to: http://www.pw99aaa.blogspot.com/

The last night in Quebec, my son and his roommate had to come to the hotel and stay with us (I was rooming with Matthew's teammate's mother). Their billete family had to go back to work on Monday, Feb. 20th early so it was best for them to come to the hotel. I am glad that it happened this way, for it gave Matthew and I some mother-son time. Three years ago, when Robert (my older son) went to Quebec, this same thing happened and I treasured this time we had together for it just put a nice ending on the whole experience so I was glad to have this with Matthew. So, Sunday evening - the last evening in Quebec - we walked to one of my favorite restaurants in the Old City called Portofino. We had a very nice meal and Matthew filled me in on his wonderful experience he had at his billete family's house, playing in the tournament, hanging out with his teammates, going to the snow park, etc. He was just glowing with happiness as he told me all his stories. After we finished out meal, I took him to my favorite place in the city. Located below the Chateau Frontnac is Petite Champlain, a little cobble stone street with building that date back to the 1600's-1700's. Many of these buildings are now art galleries, shops and restaurants. But with all the holiday lights and the snow it reminds me of something out of a Charles Dickson's novel. It was a wonderful way to end this trip with my son Matthew.

My side of the Quebec Experience
I was in Quebec Feb. 9-12 and then again Feb. 16-20. In between I had to fly home to help DH with Valentine's Day business at *The Stores*.  My side of Quebec was like having 2 "girl" weekends...or should I say "hockeymom" weekends. Throughout the day we would attend the hockey games our boys played and then in the evening we would enjoy the many wonderful restaurants Old Quebec City had to offer as well as ending up in the hotel bar until midnight or 1am. It has been a very long time since I have had time like this...and I don't think that I have ever really had a girl weekend out. It was fun.

The first weekend up there, there were 4 of us hockey moms that hung out together and the second it was just down to 2. But we definitely had fun none-the-less!

Valentine's Day
Well, like I mentioned I came home Sunday, Feb. 12 and stayed until the 16th in order to help out at *The Stores*. It was definitely crazy and I didn't get much sleep. For I worked immediately when I got home on Sunday, Feb. 12. DH picked me up from the airport and I went directly to the store to dip strawberries and apples in chocolate. I finished up around 6am only to go home to shower so I could go up to our other store and work allday. After a full day at Store #2, I headed back to Store #1 to dip more strawberries in chocolate until 2:30am when I just couldn't function any more. Home I went to get 3 hours of sleep so that I could work in the stores on Valentine's Day. I won't bore you with the rest of the details, but lets just say it was a very long and stress ful day!

Well, back home now. Quebec and Valentine's Day is behind me! Life looks like it was be somewhat a little calmer. I hope.

It is time I need to sign off in order to get the house up and going. So, until next time, remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often
 (I hope I will be able to soon!)
Lisa