Sunday, November 20, 2016

Smiling snowmen and sunny San Diego

Hello, everyone--it's been a while since I've visited with you! This time, I really do have a good reason for being away so long (and not my normal one of simply procrastinating about sitting down and composing a new post). My husband and I were in sunny California visiting with our oldest son and his fiancée! It is so nice to now be able to picture his life out there after our very first trip to the San Diego area. Such a gorgeous part of the United States--hard to believe the sun can really shine non-stop each day. I'd love to share my photos with you, but first I have a couple of new snowmen finishes to share. I'm all up-to-date with my "snowman a month" challenge--hooray!

This little cutie is my ornament for October and I know many of you will recognize it as the Country Cottage Needleworks design "Snowmen Trio." I chose to stitch it on black ("over one" on 28 ct. Monaco) and just love the result! I used the suggested DMC colors, but substituted DMC 3776 on the noses and 844 on the hats so they would show up better. I hadn't done a beaded edge in a long, long time and now I know why--boy, does that take forever! But, just look at the result--how sweet... If any of you are interested in trying a beaded edge, I used Staci's wonderful tutorial which you can find by clicking right here.

"Snowmen Trio" finish

I forgot to take "before" photos of both finishes--was just in too much of a hurry to turn them into ornaments, I suppose... Anyway, my November snowman is this Heart In Hand design called "Winter Bird." I've stitched a few of these comical, long-legged birds and have enjoyed them all. This one is done with a variety of overdyeds on 40 ct. burch Newcastle. For the finish, I used some hunter green Woolies Flannel with a small strip of the rosy red fabric to match the bird. Top it off with a band of ecru ric rac and handmade cording and, voilà--it's finished and ready for the Christmas tree!

"Winter Bird" finish

I can't show you any more stitching just now because all I'm working on is Christmas gifts!

On to San Diego...  Have any of you been there? I had always heard that if you want perfect weather--San Diego is the place to live on the U.S. mainland. Well, I think the "experts" are right... it's just day after day of sun and (mostly) blue skies. Quite a change from our western Pennsylvania weather (which went from near 70° on Friday to rain and snow this weekend!). But, I wonder if I would miss the seasons living in a climate that is nearly the same day in and day out? Would I miss the changing of the leaves? The first snow fall? Those little green crocuses pushing their way up from the cool earth each spring? What do you think?

My son and his fiancée were excellent tour guides and we saw a lot for being there just four full days. Our first day was spent hiking at the beautiful Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. Having hiked mainly in forests, this was a brand new experience for me to be hiking by the Pacific Ocean... This state park comprises over 2000 acres, so we saw a mere fraction of it!

Hiking by the Pacific Ocean

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Our next stop that afternoon, was to see the seals and sea lions in nearby La Jolla. When my son asked, at the end of our visit, what our favorite activity was, I said it was watching the antics of those blubbery creatures.

Seals and sea lions on La Jolla's beaches

I learned that sea lions have external ears and "bark" at each other. They are often more brownish in color than the darker gray/black seals. They were just so comical as they tried to move their massive bodies across the sand and simply plopped down on some poor unassuming animal.

The two in front were really "barking" at each other!

Unfortunately, along with these large animals comes a rather "large" smell--ugh!! It has become a real problem for the residents of La Jolla. In fact, we wondered how the residents of apartments located right across from the beach could deal with the constant odor... But, I suppose that is just the trade-off for views like this!

La Jolla beach scene

Besides the seals and sea lions, there were many pelicans and cormorants sunning themselves on the rocky shores.

"P" if for Pelican

The waves that day were huge, but the sleepy seals shown below don't even seem to notice...

Crashing waves on unsuspecting seals

Here is a nice shot of the coastline in La Jolla...

Such a lovely coastline

and another...

Love all the shades of blue in the water and sky

On Friday, we visited the 1800 acre San Diego Zoo Safari Park where animals are allowed to roam more freely than in traditional zoos. We saw many of the typical African animals, but my favorites were these pretty pink flamingos. Aren't their watery reflections in the little lake so pretty?

The delicate flamingos

The elephants were quite comical as we watched them fling dust on their backs with their trunks. Apparently, they do this to cool themselves and keep pesky insects away.

Dusty elephants under a brilliant blue sky

Saturday found us traveling north to Escondido where I indulged my husband's love of beer and went on a tour and tasting at Stone Brewing. In exchange, he's going to spend some time in a cross stitch shop with me on our next trip (right, honey?!).  This was not really my thing (I don't drink beer), but the meal at the brewery's restaurant afterward was excellent.  

That afternoon, we spent some time at beautiful Balboa Park, a 1200 acre home to gardens, attractions, the San Diego zoo, and over a dozen museums. It was later in the day so we only went to the Museum of Man and it's current attraction: Cannibals: Myth and Reality. It was interesting and delved into a lot of "what would you do?" types of philosophical questions...

California Bell Tower at Balboa Park

There are some lovely gardens at the park, but the prettiest was the rose garden. It went on and on forever--just a sea of pretty pastel-colored beauties. There were over 1600 roses and 130 varieties that bloom from March through December. They are at their peak in April and May--I guess we'll just have to go back then! Unfortunately, very few of them had a scent--not sure if that would be different at their peak.

Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden

I made this collage of some of my favorites...

Can you pick a favorite? Mine is the peach rose in the middle.

Our final day found us driving to Coronado, often called Coronado Island. It is not technically an island as it is connected to mainland California by a thin strip of land called the Silver Strand. Oh, what a gorgeous place--beautiful beaches, lots of cute shops, and several famous hotels. The Hotel del Coronado is one of the best and, definitely, one of the most expensive. We walked through the lobby, glanced at the brunch menu (a "mere" $99 per person!) and left. It would be nice to save up your money and spend a night or two there, though...

Hotel del Coronado

On our final afternoon, we went to Old Town San Diego State Park which includes many historic buildings from the mid-19th century. We picked up some souvenirs, had a few snacks, and listened to a fun Mexican trio playing both Mexican and American songs. The Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration had been held there earlier in the month and there were still some decorations on display like this unusual woman made of succulent plants!

How does your garden grow?

The sunrises and sunsets in San Diego are unlike any we see in Pennsylvania. I wish we could have gotten to the beach to take better photos, but these are still pretty breathtaking. (Sorry about all the wires in the sunrise one--it was taken from our apartment balcony one morning).

Sunrise in San Diego...

...and sunset

But, then again, San Diego doesn't get this pretty scene: our first snowfall of the season this morning...

So pretty (but, how will I feel about the white stuff by January!?

Good luck wishes... to my youngest son who began a new job with the United States Department of the Treasury in their FinCEN division (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) last week. I am so proud of this kid (well, he is not a kid--at 28, he is a grown man, but as you moms know, your baby will always be your baby, right?).  After receiving his Master's degree in International Studies in May, he didn't "settle" for any old job, but chose one where he felt he could make a difference in the world--and I know he will!


A few final thoughts...  On the morning we flew  nearly 2500 miles across the United States to San Diego, it was Wednesday, November 9, 2016, the day after our historic election.  I peered down from the tiny airplane window admiring this wide homeland of mine and noticed the many landscapes that dotted our land. They were all so different; the fields, the mountains, the deserts, the cities, the oceans--so varied, just like the people that reside in this country. Many thoughts were running through my mind, but foremost among them was that somehow, we have to pull together as a nation--we just have to. No matter how you voted, it's now time to look to the future and work together; be kind, be respectful,  lead by example...

From the mountains to the prairies!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!

Thanks so much for stopping by today and saying "hello!" I always appreciate your kind comments and welcome each and every new follower. Happy Thanksgiving to all of my U.S. readers! Bye for now...

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Halloween stitching and a wonderful honor

Hello, my stitching friends! Can you believe I'm back so soon? I just posted last week and here I am again with a couple of cute Halloween finishes to share with you. But, first, I want to thank everyone for your kind thoughts and congratulatory words on my son's engagement! That is what I so love about this stitching blogging community--everyone is truly excited for everyone else's happy news. And, at the same time, I know I, like many of you have been comforted by words of support when something sad has crossed my path. If only the world were made up of stitchers, right?!

This sweet Drawn Thread sampler has been in my stash for years and I'm so glad I finally stitched it. Honestly, it was such fun! I just loved the little trick-or-treaters and they brought back such delightful memories of Halloween night when my sons were small. This is called "Halloween House Sampler" and is stitched on 40 ct. country mocha Newcastle. I used a variety of overdyeds and DMC pulled from my stash and am so pleased with the result. If you are familiar with this design, you'll notice I made a number of changes. I stitched a trio of black bats rather than the initials that were charted. I also omitted the year after the "31" and stitched two gold stars on either side of it. Teeny-tiny eyes were added to the witch, ghost, and cat, and also to the two ghosts peering out the windows. I think I'll be framing this one, but I could change my mind! What do you think?

"Halloween House Sampler" by The Drawn Thread

My other finish is a Prairie Schooler pillow that those of you who follow me on Instagram (if you want to follow me, please click here) have already seen. It is one of the PS mini-cards, but I changed the shade of orange to DMC 3826 and made the eyes gold (DMC 729) rather than the charted orange. It is stitched "over one" on 25 ct. mushroom lugana. I can't tell who is more scared--the ghost or the moon! What a cute design--oh, how I miss the anticipation of seeing the new Prairie Schooler designs each year...

Prairie Schooler "Boo!"

To finish it off, I simply added some orange ric-rak, black and ivory gingham, and handmade gold cording tied in a bow and topped off with a rusty star.

Another PS finish for my Halloween collection

I haven't really decorated for Halloween once again this October. As some of you who are long-time readers remember, my dad died on Halloween two years ago and I've struggled with this time of year ever since. But, at least this year I actually stitched two pieces so I'm slowly returning to normal... baby steps, right? 

I have simply kept my autumn decorations on display and will begin putting out my Thanksgiving stitching next week. Perhaps 2018 will see me decorating for Halloween once again... We'll see! The photo below was already posted on Instagram, but I thought you might like to see it, too... Three of my favorite Prairie Schooler autumn finishes all in one vignette. They were stitched in 2007, 2008, and I made the teeny pillow on black just last year ... Don't you feel a sense of comfort just by looking at them? Nobody does autumn designs like Prairie Schooler did, in my opinion!

Prairie Schooler autumn beauties

Annual stitching retreat update... Last weekend I attended my 7th annual stitching retreat with four friends. As in past years, we rented out an entire Bed & Breakfast near Erie, PA and just stitched, laughed, ate, slept, and repeated that routine for three days straight! I spent my time working on two of my monthly snowmen ornaments (which you can see a sneak peak of in the collage below). The B&B is always so beautifully decorated for Halloween--just look at that cool pumpkin that the innkeeper carved based on the "American Gothic" painting. And, of course, every good inn has to have a kitty! This one had two--here is sweet Sweeney watching us from his perch on the sideboard as we dined on one of those way-too-big breakfasts that were served each morning.

Stitching retreat 2016 at The Grape Arbor Inn

Stitchy gifts... Two of my retreat friends gifted us with some lovely presents! From Pam came this gorgeous zippered project pouch with pockets on the front and the back--so pretty and useful. We got to select one from the nine (!) that she had made and, of course, I picked this blue and yellow beauty. Isn't it lovely? And Barb made these sweet needleminders with the name of the inn where we stay--she did a wonderful job on them! I am actually using mine on my refrigerator to remind me of the special times we've shared through the years. I think both Pam and Barb could go into business--their gifts are so well-made and would be great for any stitcher! The future of our get-together is uncertain as we are all becoming busier and busier with family things (like my son's wedding next fall!) and such, but it certainly has been a memorable retreat for seven years...

Gifts from Barb and Pam

A lovely honor... So, I mentioned an honor in my blog title, didn't I? Well, imagine my surprise when I received an email last week telling me that Stitching Dreams, yes, this little old blog of mine, has been nominated for the 2017 British Craft Awards "Blog Of the Year" in the cross stitching category. I keep wondering if they made a mistake because, obviously, I'm not British! But, I am truly so honored just to be nominated! 
I have been blogging for almost 8 years and in that time, I've "met" so many wonderful stitchers from all over the world. I don't blog for money or the desire to be known; I do it simply to keep track of my stitching progress and to cultivate the friendships that blogging offers. I would never make a good political candidate because I could never say "vote for me!" and I've never been comfortable being in the spotlight. I haven't even told anyone about this nomination except my husband and three sons (surprise, mom!!). But, if you would like to take a peak at the nominated blogs and vote--for any one of us, that would be wonderful. You can vote by clicking here and then on the "cross stitch" tab at the bottom of the page. It takes less than a minute... So, thank you to the wonderful folks who nominated me--that is so special! And thank you, in advance, for anyone who does choose to vote for Stitching Dreams...

Well, since I'm working this weekend, I won't get to pop in again to say "Happy Halloween!" I hope you, who celebrate it, enjoy your day on Monday and are treated to some tasty goodies. I always loved watching my sons sort out their "loot" after they returned from begging for candy up and down our street. And sometimes, I was even lucky enough to walk away with a Mounds Bar or an Almond Joy because they, like their dad, do not like coconut! Do my international friends have trick-or-treating? I know it is becoming more common in some other parts of the world; it has become so hugely popular here in the United States...   ENJOY!!  Bye for now...


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Four sweethearts and a snowman!

Greetings from an unusually warm western Pennsylvania! 84° in mid-October? Unbelievable, but that's what they're forecasting for later today and I'm loving it. I know it won't last forever, but the winter will surely feel shorter due to this amazingly sunny, warm fall we've had so far. 

Today, I have a couple of finishes that are long overdue. You see, way back in this post from August 2011 (yep, more than 5 years ago!), I wrote that I would be stitching the most famous crow couple Ida Mae and her honey, Ira Ray "next." Ha! I wonder what happened? They have been kitted up all these years just patiently waiting for me to pay them some attention. And you know what? I'm sorry I put off stitching them so long because they were both so delightful to stitch!

I had originally picked the suggested 35 ct. WDW straw linen for the crow couple (designed by The Good Huswife), but after just a few stitches, I knew it wasn't for me. It was so flopsy--it about drove me crazy! So, I switched to what lately seems to be my "new best friend"--40 ct. country mocha  Newcastle. Here is Ida Mae in all her glory stitched with the suggested NPI silks. Isn't she adorable? I just love her polka dots!

Miss Ida Mae Crow

Seriously, who could resist her? Well, certainly not Mr. Ira Ray Crow in his bright green vest and chocolate striped pants. I did make some changes to the flowers surrounding Ira Ray--I omitted the bright orange and used the same colors that were found in Ida Mae's palette. I changed the color of his buttons, too, from ivory to gold because they showed up better.

Mr. Ira Ray Crow

Um, let's talk about those pants of Ira Ray's--don't they totally remind you (well, those of you old enough to remember the fashionable 60s, that is!) of the slacks sported by many of the boy bands of the decade? Why, I know I dated a few guys who wore them (and, I "might" even admit to having owned a similar pair, myself--but don't tell anyone!!). I found this great old photo of a 60s band online (sorry, but I don't know the name of the group) and just look at the striped pants on the second guy--notice the resemblance? Too funny!!

So, what do you think? Are Ira Ray and Ida Mae in the courting phase or are they married? I think it's the former... They both have a sort of hesitant, shy look about them. Ah, young love in bloom! I plan on framing them  in black, rustic looking frames and hanging the pair in my family room.

Two sweethearts in love...

And I have another snowman ornament finish--my ninth of the year. Oh, wait, this is the 10th month of the year, isn't it? Yes, I'm behind--still need to stitch my snowman for October. I needed something quick and easy so I chose this little guy  by The Little Stitcher called "Blue Snowman." He can be found in the 2016 Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue. Once again, I used 40 ct. country mocha Newcastle--just love it!

"Blue Snowman"

I changed the color of blue to DMC 930 (from the turquoise hue that was suggested) because I wanted to coordinate it with the Woolies Flannel that I chose for my finish. I'm so pleased with the final look. The blue wool flannel reminds me of a snuggly  blanket and the ivory braided trim resembles a warm winter sweater giving this ornament a nice cozy feel. I surrounded it with some handmade cording and added a couple of rusty bells hanging from strands of DMC 930 to finish off the ornament. Only three ornaments left to stitch for the year--hooray!

A ninth snowman ornament for my tree

So, that is my stitching news for this post...

But, don't leave yet! I've got some other news... Big news!! Look at the title of my post--it reads: "Four sweethearts and a snowman," doesn't it? Who are the other two sweethearts??? Well, remember my oldest son who moved to California last month? What I didn't tell you is that he left with a ring in his pocket... a beautiful diamond ring. And, on a lovely San Diego evening, while drifting down the canals near Coronado, he asked his very own sweetheart to marry him as they watched the sun set from a gondola. They are planning a fall 2017 wedding and we couldn't be happier for them... 

An engagement at sunset

So, there is lots of happiness in my household in spite of a very tumultuous time in United States history. Thank goodness I have my stitching and Netflix watching so I can avoid the political commercials and stressful moments that this election is causing--at least, to some degree. Is anyone else stressed out? Yikes!! Pure craziness...

I plan to be back with a couple of Halloween finishes before the end of the month, but until then--"Happy Stitching" everyone! And thank you all for your sweet comments and emails. The fact that you take a few moments out of your day to leave a comment really means a lot to me! Bye for now...

Thursday, September 29, 2016

And the days grow shorter...

Well, September is nearly over--can you believe it? I hope you've each had a good month? Before I show you what I've been working on since my last post, I want to thank you for your great comments and emails regarding my oldest son's move to the opposite side of the country. I really could feel the love--and it made his departure a bit easier to deal with. Let's just say I'm doing "okay"--I have my tearful moments, but am trying my best to look ahead to our already booked San Diego trip to visit him in November.   Sunday night is the hardest time for me as that is when he and my middle son always used to come over for a special Sunday dinner each week. But, life goes on and is always changing, isn't it?

On to stitching news... I managed to finish that little Prairie Schooler snowman that I showed you in my last post. This is my eighth snowman ornament for 2016 (yes, I need to get the ninth stitched and finished for September as soon as possible). For this finish I used some green gingham (actually I cut up a kitchen towel because I liked the weight of it better than the gingham fabric I can find in stores), some putty colored mini pompom trim, a sprig of greenery, and some jingle bells to match the red in his scarf and earmuffs. 

Prairie Schooler Santa finish for August

Here is another photo where you can see the greenery a bit better...I simply glued the greenery and the red bells to the jute hanging ribbon. The back of the ornament is covered with red felt. I think his big grin tells me he's quite happy with the finish, too!

Such a smiley guy :)
I also stitched a fall piece that I've stitched before (way back in 2012 which you can see here) as a birthday gift for one of my earliest blogging friends, Myra. (She isn't blogging any longer, like so many, but that doesn't mean I don't still think of her! I'm so happy to have discovered many old blogging buddies on Instagram and reconnect with them, though...) Anyway, this Homespun Elegance design was stitched "over one" on 28 ct. Monaco (a hand dyed fabric by Sassy's Fabbys called "Hay Fields").

Homespun Elegance's "Joyful Autumn"

I auditioned various fabrics for the final finish and this medley of tan, brown, and black was the ultimate winner. I was surprised at how much I liked this as it isn't a "typical" fall fabric, but for some reason, it worked! I simply added some black ric rac, gold handmade cording, and a pair of buttons to finish it off. I was really pleased with the final look and who could resist that tiny black squirrel posing with a little acorn in his paw?

"Joyful Autumn" all finished up

My overdyed thread for the Birds Of a Feather Sampler that I shared with you last time arrived and I've made some progress--not a lot, but at least the green leaves and trunk are done on the large tree and I can move on to the house on the hill... I would love to get this done by the end of the year, but I'm going to have to begin Christmas stitching soon, so it may have to wait!

"Birds Of a Feather" progress

I was surprised to receive not one, but two RAKs in the mail recently. First--all the way from jolly old England and my friend, June, came a lovely stitched sachet filled with lavender, fragrant soap, and cards. June grew the lavender in her own garden (which has to be one of the prettiest around!) so that makes it even more special. Thank you for thinking of me, my sweet friend...

Random Act of Kindness from June

And from my friend, Lisa, in Ohio came two bunny charts. Lisa was de-stashing (something I should be doing, too!) and came across these two cute charts that reminded her of me. She knows how much I love rabbits! So, off the bunnies hopped across the border into Pennsylvania and to a new home with me. Thank you so much, Lisa--they are adorable!

Random Act of Kindness from Lisa P.

On one of our last Sunday dinners together before my son moved to San Diego, I made one of our favorite cakes: Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake!  This has a chocolate cake mix, chocolate pudding, and chocolate chips in it--I mean, really, who can resist something made with three chocolates? It is so moist and tasty and super easy to make--I'd be happy to share the recipe if any of you would like it (just make sure to include your email so I can send it to you). 

Triple Chocolate Cake, Orange Cosmos, and some fall stitching--three of my favorite things!
I have to admit, I'm a bit sad to say "farewell" to this month. I honestly don't remember a September as warm and sunny as this one...  The shorter days of late fall and winter are something I dread--especially when it begins to be dark when I leave work at 6:00 PM. But, I do get more stitching time in as the months grow colder which is good. I hope October is good to each of you--thanks, as always, for taking the time to say "hello" and reading my little blog--I do appreciate each of you! Bye for now...

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Changes of the season

Happy September! How has your first week of this new month been, my friends? I usually love September--the cooler nights, the changes in the way the sunlight filters through my windows, the fun of fall decorating and baking. But, this year, I've been dreading this month... I'll tell you why after I share my stitching news with you...

I am so pleased with how my latest fall finish turned out! I actually did the stitching of "Crow On a Pumpkin" last November (you can read about it right here). This is a design by Samplers Not Forgotten that can be found in the 2015 Just Cross Stitch Halloween issue. I have fallen in love with the Woolies Flannel to use in finishing off my little pillows--it is wonderful to work with and comes in such rich, warm fall and winter colors. I wish you could feel the gold wool flannel strip on the left of the pillow--so soft to the touch! The back of the pillow is the black and tan checked homespun that I also used to make the yo-yo flower on the front. This has to be one of my favorite fall finishes ever.

Final finish of "Crow On a Pumpkin"

So, I have another little pillow to add to my ever-growing crow display here in my kitchen... I don't want to give you the impression that I am in love with crows or anything! The ones that visit our back yard are big... and noisy... and tend to bully the other birds. But, there is just something about the crow/sunflower/pumpkin combination that I love to see in fall stitching...

Lots of "caws" have been heard coming from my kitchen!

I also pulled out an older project, With Thy Needle and Thread's "Birds Of a Feather Mystery Sampler," that I began a couple of years ago. I know exactly why I stopped working on this one--because the lack of the "J" in the alphabet bothered me. I know that is how the designer charted it (and you can read her explanation of why right here), but I wish it was included. Anyway, I debated whether or not to add it myself, but after going back and forth many, many times, I decided to just leave it as it was charted and plunge ahead. I soon discovered that you need more than one skein of WDW Kudzu for the many leaves so that is why I've stopped for now--some is winging its way to me as I write this!

Birds Of a Feather Mystery Sampler progress

I'm almost half done, but there is a lot of border and a big old hill and house of solid stitching waiting for me on the bottom half which will take quite some time. I do love the colors in this so much--wish they had photographed a bit truer in my picture!

My monthly snowman ornament stitching is falling behind--I do have the one for August stitched, but not finished. I was playing around with fabrics and trims for the finish and may be using these. But, maybe not; it's always a last-minute decision. You'll recognize this pleasingly plump fellow as a Prairie Schooler design from the "Holly Day" (Book No. 157) chart. I changed his nose color from red to black because I wanted it to look like a piece of coal--otherwise, he is stitched using the suggested colors on 32 ct. flax Jobelan. Now, to pick a snowman for September!

Prairie Schooler "Holly Days" snowman

With all of the snowman stitching I have going on this year, I treated myself to "just a few" fat quarters of finishing fabric. I found a wonderful deal on eBay on a complete fat quarter bundle of Moda's "Snowman Gatherings II" that I couldn't pass up. Now, how will I ever use all of this? I suppose I could learn to quilt when I retire? Or get up my nerve and try to make some pretty project bags? I just loved the colors and many of them will be useful for patriotic or primitive finishes as well...

So, that was the happy part of my post... September 17th brings a day I have been selfishly dreading for a while: my oldest son is moving almost 2500 miles across the country to join his girlfriend who moved to San Diego in July. I am so happy for him--he has found a lovely, intelligent, kind, and giving young woman to share his life with. But, oh, how different life will be here in Pennsylvania with him way out in California.

You see, because our oldest works from his home, he was the one we always counted on to be there when things went wrong.  He had the flexibility and freedom in his work schedule to be able to drive over and help out with this or that whenever needed. He actually moved right in with us when my husband broke his neck in last year's fall down the stairs. He fixed our computer problems, challenged our thinking on various subjects, and made us laugh with that dry sense of humor that we so love.

There will be a big void in our lives with him so far away, but at least San Diego is (I've heard!) a lovely, lovely place to visit. It won't be the easiest feat to get there, as there are no direct flights from here, but we will definitely fly out a couple times a year. And, thankfully, technology has made keeping in touch so much easier. We are blessed to have the middle of our three sons still nearby in Pittsburgh. I hate to think that everything will get dumped on him, but he is so very loving and capable, too, that I know we're in good hands. No matter what they say, parents do need more help from their kids as they age...

Anyway, I wish my oldest and his girlfriend all the best in their new life out in the Golden State...  

You will be missed more than words can express...

Thank you all for visiting me today--and a special thank you to those of you who take the time to leave a little comment. Blogging seems to be on the wane and so, for those of us who do still take the time to post now and then, your comments mean ever so much... I'm heading up to New York this morning to visit my mom for five days so I'll be a bit out of touch. But, I'll catch up with everyones blogs when I return! Bye for now...