Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fun Day at the Zoo!

When we lived in Pennsylvania, Memorial Day was a really big day for our little village. The fireman had their carnival that weekend and their parade was on Saturday night. But the big day was always Monday. Boalsburg claimed to be the unofficial birthplace of Memorial Day. I know there's a town in New York which has the official designation but that's because they have written records to back their claims. Boalsburg has an oral tradition that goes back 2 years earlier but because they cannot come up with the written records to back them up, they can only claim be the unofficial birthplace of Memorial Day.
So what does this have to do with the zoo? Well, Dave and I decided to do something special, so we thought a trip to the Phoenix Zoo was in order. Now we've been to Tucson's Reid Park Zoo to visit Boris the polar bear quite often. And we really like the World Wildlife Zoo but we hadn't been to Phoenix in years. Sherrie decided to come with us (Brian had to work) and we were very pleasantly surprised. My major complaints about it in the past was that there was not enough water fountains and hardly any shade at all. Well, they must have added water fountains and the trees must have grown up quite a bit because it was rather pleasant there this time. Now I'm not sure I'd go in the middle of the summer, but the weather on Monday was perfect. I still think you can see the animals better at the other 2 zoos but we had lots of fun there. I think one of my favorite exhibits was Monkey Village. You actually get to walk in among the monkeys and get fairly up close to them. I've also posted pictures of my other 2 favorites, the otters and flamingoes. There's no polar bear and no penguins which are my all time favorite zoo animals. As long as I can visit them at the other zoos, I'm happy.
It also gave me a chance to try out Sherrie's camera. I've wanted a camera of my own for a while now and Dave wanted me to try hers out to see how I liked it. I liked it alot but I also wanted longer zoom length so when we came home, he ordered me the next model up. That should be here this week and I'll be able to take pictures any time I want without hauling out the bigger camera.
We left the zoo about noon and decided to stop at Fuddrucker's for lunch. Love those burgers!
Came home and did some stitching and relaxing. What a perfect day!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

More Progress!

Well, Ive made more progress on Michael Powell's Windmill. I'm a little bit more than half way done with the cross stitching. I've been debating whether to do all the backstitching at the end or do some of it now and the rest later. I think while I'm on a roll, I'll just keep on with the cross stitching. I'm really pleased with the way this one is turning out. And I have to admit I broke done and bought his newest design called English Village I. I really, really like his designs and can't seem to get enough of them. If it hadn't been for them and Ink Circles, I'd probably still be in my stitching slump. Now I haven't had any of them framed yet (they're hanging in the shop with thumb tacks in the corners) but I still enjoy looking at them. I didn't get much chance to stitch in Minneapolis due to lack of time but also because the lighting in the apartment was really bad. Most of my recent progress has been made in the last week or two. This one makes me happy just looking at it. Wouldn't you love to live in one of his pictures?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Trip to Minneapolis!

A couple of weeks ago, Dave and I went to Minneapolis for a long weekend. Our son, Chris and his wife, Annette, were getting their Master's degrees from seminary and we went up for the ceremony. I'd never been there before. They have visited us since they got married almost 3 years ago and, of course, we went to Wisconsin for their college graduation and wedding. I had never been to Minneapolis before and made all kinds of plans for sightseeing. The only thing I got to do was a trip to the Mall of America. We spent most of our time just visiting with them and her sister and her family. We also helped set up a reception for the kids after the ceremony. We are so very proud of both of them. They both graduated with honors and Chris won the Faculty Academic Award for having the highest GPA among the Masters of Theology students who graduated with honors. That came with a $500.00 prize which will really come in handy. Chris has worked at 2 jobs in addition to going to school and has earned everything he has worked for. He and Annette eventually want to go to China as missionaries or perhaps to teach English there. Ultimately he would like to teach in a Bible college over there once they open the country to missions.

Sunday there was an interesting day. It was Mother's Day, the first one I had spent with him in 5-6 years due to school. He and Annette came over to the apartment we were staying at (her parents' who were at her brother's college graduation) and made breakfast for us. Then we went to the church where Chris is the youth pastor. It's a Chinese church and most of the service was in Chinese with a translator. So Chris gave the sermon and it was translated into Chinese. The hymns were sung in English and Chinese at the same time so you needed to lip read the translator's lips to make sure you were on the same verse! Then the 4 of us went out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant with the pastor and elder and their wives. It was quite enjoyable.

I really liked the Mall of America but I'm not sure I'd go back and spend a few days there just shopping. There were some different stores there but I only bought one thing. Well, 2 if you count the lego set I bought for Chris. There was an Alpaca Only store where they sold sweaters and scarves and such for very inexpensive prices. I bought a long-sleeved hoodie for only $29.00. It was knit by someone in Peru. I hope it's not a sweatshop type thing. I'm hoping it's more a co-op where women are empowered to help themselves and their families.

All in all, it was wonderful to see the kids again. I hope the next trip I can see a bit more on Minneapolis.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Making Progress

This is the Michael Powell design I'm currently working on. I guess I'm almost halfway done with it. It's amazing how fast a piece stitches up when you consistently work on it. I actually started this last year but like so many of my projects, it got set aside when something new caught my eye. Then about 3 weeks ago, when I had my revelation about only stitching one project at a time, I pulled it back out and decided to finish it. So most of it has been stitched in just the last 3 weeks. I've been stitching at night while watching TV. It helps keep me awake. I have a tendency to fall asleep when I'm watching a program. That's when DVR comes in real handy. Don't know how many programs where I missed the end before we got the DVR. Anyway I digress. It drives David nuts when I fall alseep like that so if I stitch while I'm watching, I can stay awake. I haven't even begun to think about the backstitching involved. I do like backstitching but his designs use more of a long stitch technique. Just need to get some black #8 perle cotton before I start it. My goal is to have this done by the end of May. We're going to Minneapolis on Thursday for Chris & Annette's graduation from grad school and we won't have a car. I expect to have lots of time in the evenings to stitch.