Sunday, February 28, 2016

Weekly Stitching

This was a totally pitiful stitching week. I've got vacation coming up and my mind is on little else, so between it and work, my poor Cinderella Castle didn't stand a chance despite my best intentions of finishing it last week. I left off here last week:
cc09
I got all the body stitching done and started on the backstitching, but after about four hours in one little location, I was done for the week.
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I questioned every single color on Sleeping Beauty Castle, especially in the backstitching area, but since there was a more definitive color variation on Cinderella Castle, I haven't been too worried (although, like Sleeping Beauty Castle, the colors are WAY off from the actual castles...that's what I get for doing a kit that is about 20 years old). The closer I got to finishing though, I started to question certain things. I decided to stitch the gold and silver with one thread instead of two so it didn't look clumpy like it did on Sleeping Beauty's (but now I find myself wanting to go back to it and fix it too so that they match), but the more I thought about the black thread designated for the backstitching on Cindy's, the more I started panicking a bit. I ended up pulling out a dark gray for the castle walls and a darker baby blue for the turret tops. The darker blue didn't make that much of a difference, but I'm glad I changed out the black...I think it would have been too harsh. I'm thinking I made the right decision, but I rarely ever change things from the original design, it makes me VERY nervous!

But alas, there won't be much stitching in the next few weeks and I doubt I'll even have status reports for a while until vacation is done. I am WAY past due for an excellent Disney World trip, so I need to put more effort into this one. I've got packing to do, camera equipment to prepare, and about a million more things to do before my trip, all the while dealing with utter hell at work. Fun times ahead, but hey, I can't complain too much because...I'M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD WITH MY SISSY!

I'm going to have a ton of new stuff to report when we get back...we'll be staying at a resort we've never stayed in before, eating at four new restaurants, and going to the Flower and Garden Festival which I've always wanted to see, but never have. It will be a trip of firsts, that's for sure!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

February WIPocalypse 2016


Sorry I'm late guys...I'm bogged down with vacation planning right now and just forgot!

This month's question is: "If you have any of your pieces on display in your home which attracts the most plaudits? (via Hazel)"
All my pieces that I've done for myself are hanging on my walls, but unfortunately (or thankfully, depending on how you look at it), no one ever comes over to my house, so they are basically just there for my own enjoyment. Besides, I have a blog to show them off, so no one need come visit in person.

For this month's WIPocalypse, I made considerable progress on some and none on others, so without further ado, let's see the progress!

I worked the most on Maleficent. Last month she was here:
maleficent071
And I managed to finish the third row making her total now here:
maleficent082
She is on my usual HAED fabric of 28ct Monaco, 1x1 full stitches. She's going back to the bottom of the rotation pile for a while though...she's pretty exhausting!

The next project that got the most love was Snow White. She went from here:
SnowWhite005
To the first row finish here (which is really not that spectacular because they were partial pages...next row will be harder, but it's also her face, so it will be exciting!):
SnowWhite012
I'm nothing if not a creature of habit, so she's also on 28ct Monaco, 1x1 full stitches, but I quickly discovered that this cut of material was very subpar and it's making her difficult to work on, especially in the confetti areas.

Tartan B got touched for the first time in forever. I left off here:
TartanB-009
And thanks to Grandmother-babysitting duty while my Aunt had surgery (nothing serious), I managed a bit more although I thought I goofed and stopped (because it's hard to fix issues in a hospital waiting room). Once I got home and gridded the fabric (which I should have done in the first place), I discovered that I didn't goof after all, but I didn't want to mess with it anymore and left off here:
TartanB-010
It's on 22ct Hardanger (or Aida) 2x1 full stitches (or at least I think...this is my third start of this project because of fabric changes). I hate working with hoops now because I have to work one-handed (and that's always slower), but stupid me tends to do hoop up on projects I deem as quickies instead of put them on scroll rods. They rarely ever turn out "quick" though as this one's age shows, so I don't know why I just don't scroll them in the first place...at least then they would be faster and easier to work on.

I got started on the second half of Rainy Wedding, the worded panel, and managed to get to here before I got bored with it (so much for hurrying up and finishing!):
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I'd forgotten what a pain it is to work with variegated thread. It's on 28ct Caribbean Blue evenweave by a manufacturer I can't remember, 1x1 full stitches. And stupid me put this one in a hoop too, so who knows when it will get finished!

I've been working on Cinderella Castle the last week. I left off here on it last year (after finishing Sleeping Beauty Castle):
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And managed to finish the bottom two pages and started on the top two:
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It's on 18ct opalescent Aida, 2x1 full stitches

I've also been working on Suteki on the weekends. She's a project for my sister and also for A New Stitchy Start Blog, but I figure since I posted last month over there, it would be OK to show you guys that progress. Obviously, I'm farther than this now, but she went from practically nada...just one day's worth of work:
suteki001
To this at the end of last month:
suteki008
Again, 28ct Monaco 1x1 full stitches. She's been a total nightmare, but since I'm only working on her on the weekends, it doesn't bother me too much.

I haven't touched Night Wish or Alice and the Bouguereau Princesses (only because they haven't come up in rotation for this month), A Summer Ball or 35th Anniversary Celebration (and it would be a total miracle if I worked on either one of these), so there is nothing to show for these guys, but there is always next month, although I can probably guess that none of my WIPs will get much love due to vacation plans.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Top 10 YouTube Channels You Find Yourself Watching


As always, go over to Kate's and Tiff's blogs to see their Top 10's for the week and if you want to join in, just let Kate know.

I love me some YouTube! I've been a faithful watcher of the channel since its early days. I use it for entertainment purposes, for work purposes, for learning purposes, for vacation purposes, and a half-dozen other reasons as well. My favorite channels change all the time, but I do have my go-to, never-let-me down favorites. I almost wish this was a top 20 list instead...I could literally ramble on about YouTube for hours!

#1: CRASH COURSE (SPECIFICALLY ASTRONOMY)

This series just finished up (there is talk that Physics is next), but there are also courses on history, literature, culture, philosophy, government, etc. They are short and sweet, but very perfunctory and certainly enjoyable enough to watch over and over. I've read Phil Plait's blog for years, so I was already a fan, but he's not the only Crash Course host (just the Astronomy host), the Green brothers, who handle all the other topics, are as equally entertaining.


#2: SCI SHOW SPACE
And speaking of the Green brothers, Hank (my favorite), is also involved in another channel involving Astronomy which he co-hosts. This one is more about current Astronomy news and I don't really think there is a schedule to these.


#3: DURAN DURAN
OK, so I'm sure you knew this one was coming, but still. There are tons of official music videos, interviews, live concert clips, and other surprises that keep the average Duranie occupied for quite a while!


#4: FLOSSTUBE
I don't have specific FlossTubers that I follow religiously (although I do subscribe to a couple), I tend to just roam around, checking out their videos, often scrolling through the banter just to see their progress. I'm linking to a random one I watched this morning, a FlossTuber that Kate turned me on to. The Stash Queen is kind of grating and enjoyable at the same time and I do often find myself hypnotized by her, although I'm not sure why...probably because she has a million needle minders!


#5: SARAH SNITCH
I spent a lot of time on YouTube prepping for my first ever Disneyland trip and I found that, although there are barely any fan websites for Disneyland, there are a lot more YouTuber's for Disneyland than Disney World. I got addicted to quite a lot of them, spending hours upon hours watching their walk-through videos of the park and their commentary, but at least one stood out more than the others and has kept me coming back long after my trip was over. Sarah is quirky and funny with a huge dose of Disney geekness that I relate to.


#6: LET'S EAT FICTION
Granted, Red Reyna does a lot of other videos that are food/entertainment related, but my absolute favorites of hers are her Disney recipes. One of these days, I'm going to try her versions of some Disney World and Disneyland classics.


#7: ADAM THE WOO

I almost hate to admit that I like this guy...he's not the most likable of people. But I will start watching his channel and it takes me forever to stop! There is something eerily fascinating about urban exploring, and he definitely does a lot of it (how he doesn't get arrested is beyond me, although he does get caught sometimes). He also does a daily blog which I rarely watch unless it's Disney related (he's also a Disney geek). I tend to stick to his abandoned places series and some of them are downright creepy, especially places like the old Six Flags in New Orleans and supposed haunted buildings. He ended up getting himself banned from Disney World for a couple of years for this video, hence my reason for posting it, but it's also the reason why I found him in the first place.


#8: LOEY LANE

I am obsessed with makeup tutorials for some reason and subscribed to quite a few YouTuber's who do nothing but, but Loey's channel is a bit different. She's a very inspiring person and I will often watch her videos when I'm feeling bad about myself or my looks.


#9: THE PET COLLECTIVE
OK, who doesn't love cute pet videos, seriously?


#10: TOURING PLANS.COM
When a Disney trip is on the horizon, I like to watch walk-throughs and on-ride videos constantly to get myself prepped and ready. I typically only troll these channels during planning season, but since I'm in the heart of one right now, I've been spending a lot of time on one of my favorites, Touring Plans, specifically this walk-through video of our resort that we will be staying at, Coronado Springs.


BONUS - THE DAILY PARANORMAL

I tried to edit the list down to 10, but I just couldn't leave out this channel! Sometimes watching real ghost stories on YouTube can be just as scary as watching a horror movie (especially with the crap horror movies they put out today).

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Weekly Stitching

If there is one thing I've learned about my work environment it's that there are those that bully and those who get bullied. When one bully starts up, it stirs up the others into a feeding frenzy. Last week was one of the worst in my 20 years of being employed there. Although I wasn't the main target of the biggest explosion, I got caught up by the mongrels looking for leftover morsels. Apparently, some people have more free time than work.

I'm one of the bullied, but I've always been OK with that because I I don't feel emotions like a normal person, so thanks to my Asperness, they are wasting their time...usually. But even I have weaknesses and there are those in the bully brigade who know some of them. Last week, they managed to hit the worst of my exposed nerves.

I'm not a bully myself because it takes more social effort that I'm willing to put forward...it takes planning, conniving, a desire to make oneself more important, and an evil spirit that enjoys hurting people. These are traits that I just don't possess even on my worst of days.

The details of the week are irrelevant and not worth rehashing, but it did affect my stitching something fierce. I managed to make up for it a little this weekend, but only because I ended up with a headache that refocused my attention. I still stitched through the pain, but my progress still suffered.

I did manage to finish the row of Snow White. I left off here with just a touch of background left:
SnowWhite010
And, although I should have finished it Monday night, it took me until Tuesday to get through it:
SnowWhite012
As an effort to try to get my mind off the brewing storm, I decided to move on to Cinderella Castle. I haven't touched it since July last year:
cc02
But by Friday night, I had only gotten this far and all I could see was the monster face in the middle:
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After the horrible week, I wasn't ready to give up on it yet and go back to my usually weekend rotation of Suteki, so I stuck with Cinderella Castle. Besides, I'm not sure my head could have struggled through Suteki anyway. I did get through the grunt part of the bottom half:
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And got a few into the top half:
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I was hoping that working on the castle would take my mind off of the evils of the week and focus it where it should be, on my upcoming Disney trip, but it didn't. All I can think is how much I'm dreading going back to work tomorrow.

I've decided to spend next week continuing on with Cinderella Castle, but I'm not holding out hope that my current mood will change, so I doubt I'll finish it by next weekend. Once the main stitching is done, there is a ton of backstitching that could take almost as much time as the stitching and I'm not sure I'll be able to finish by Disney World time anyway, but that's the goal.

As for work, I have absolutely no clue how I'm going to handle things. I'm going to try and stay in my little purple office, surrounded by some of my favorite things, ignoring the gloating of the bullies on their victories of last week, but you know what they say about good intentions. It will be a very "serious" filled week, that's for sure!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Top 10 Movie Heroes


As always, go over to Kate's and Tiff's blogs to see their Top 10's for the week and if you want to join in, just let Kate know.

I'm not really sure how to approach this week's topic. Heroes are very subjective and mine change with the tides other than a select few, but I'm going to give it my best shot. I don't know why I consider some of these guys heroes, but they are the characters that come to mind first, be they "real" or animated. I also tend to interchange "hero" with "superhero". I know there are varying degrees of hero, but I tend to go big or go home, so to speak.

This will also be an male-dominated list for several reasons, the main one being because I'm old and I like male heroes. I've ranted numerous times about the shift in movies to give young girls someone to look up to by making the girls the heroes...I get the point of it, but don't necessarily think it's a good thing. If they insist on doing it, why not make it a 50/50 thing instead of an either/or (although that is a bit of back-talk because I prefer all male, but like I said, I'm old and that's just a product of my generation). Besides, I can't say that I've seen a "really good" female heroine movie (yet). I'm going to stop now or I'll never shut up about it.

#1: CAPTAIN AMERICA - THE AVENGERS (perfect specimen, pure-hearted and the epitome of chivalry...need I say more?)

#2: CAPTAIN FREDRICK WENTWORTH - JANE AUSTEN'S PERSUASION (yes, a bit vindictive, but his heart was always true, even if he wasn't sure for a while)

#3: PRINCE PHILLIP - SLEEPING BEAUTY (my perfect "Prince Charming")

#4: FOX MULDER - THE X FILES (I can include him because there are X-Files movies and because there is no one I would want on my side more if aliens ever attack)

#4: FLYNN RIDER - TANGLED (a bit of give and take between him and Rapunzel on the hero end, but still chivalrous in his own way)

#6: JOHN MCCLAIN (simply because Bruce Willis was and always will be hot and kick-ass)

#7: GAMBIT - REMY LEBEAU (the Taylor Kitsch version, even though his part was WAY too short, I have entire Taylor-based scenarios in my head thanks to the animated series though, so I'm good)

#8: WONDER WOMAN (a bit of a leap since the movie isn't out yet, but it looks really cool and I loved the show as a kid)

#9: ALL OTHER AUSTEN HEROES (Darcy, Tilney, Ferrars, Bertram, Knightly and let's add Colonel Brandon in honor of Alan Rickman...give me a man in a cravat any day!)


#10: THE REST OF THE AVENGERS (I'll be PC and include Captain Marvel, Wasp, and Black Widow)

Since I'm in an Avengers mood now and since I do so love fan videos, how about another one?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sunday Stitching

I spent last week working on Snow White. She's definitely more complicated than she looks! I left off here last time:
SnowWhite005
I did stop her on Friday night as planned, but she stayed on my mind all weekend because of where I left off. After a rather crappy weekend spent on Suteki, I picked Snow back up today to try to get the background finished. I didn't succeed, but I'm so close, I think I'll continue on her next week until I get the row finished. Here is where I stopped tonight:
SnowWhite010
I figure it shouldn't take more than a day or two at most to finish the background, but it will leave me with a partial week for whatever project I pick. I'm pretty sure it won't be Night Wish because I want to give it a full week's worth of attention. I'm kind of thinking that maybe it's time to start Cinderella Castle back up, especially since I will be in Disney World in a few weeks. We'll see.

Speaking of Suteki, I'm at a very hard place with her right now (but, as per usual, it's not progress I can show here because it's saved for the other blog). I'm still not ready to give up on her though, she's going to be perfect for my sister. I just have to remember that this will probably be the heaviest confetti row. I can show a little somethin' tho...I ran across yet another hidden Mickey on her:
suteki011b
I still swear she looks like a rainbow threw up on her. I admit that, on Maleficent at least, dithering can be useful for the final product, but it sucks in the interim. The way that HAED used to chart, with blocks of color, produce areas of completion quicker and therefore keep me in a perpetual state of accomplishment because I can SEE progress as I stitch. With Suteki, it looks like mush until you put in the very last stitch (and step away to view it from a distance). It makes it very hard to keep me entertained or feel like I'm doing any good. I really hate that they changed the way they chart patterns. But there is nothing I can do about it, so I've got to find a way to let it go. Guess I'll have to work on that.

And, BTW, I've been hitting Etsy kind of hard lately, so my Stitch Stash page has grown significantly!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Guess where I was last night

Despite my reluctance to get out in the world, on certain occasions I am dragged out for one reason or the other and last night was one of those nights. If I had it my way, I would never go to any other concert than Duran Duran, but there are specific instances when I'll make an exception. As a birthday present to my mother, my sister got us tickets to see my mother's "Duran Duran"...Barry Manilow. I'm not embarrassed to say that this isn't the first time I've seen Barry (for the sake of my mother) but, if I'm really honest, I really don't mind seeing him either because he does put on a good show and it really is the music of my childhood. There comes a time in everyone's life when they discover that, not only is their parents music not as sucky as they once thought, but that some of it is really good.

I didn't take a camera, I just had my phone, so the pictures are crappy (because Barry does love his spotlights), but here are a few highlights and yes, we were THAT frickin close...I could have done without that because the first two rows comes with a certain caliber of fan that is just plain scary:
Untitled
Untitled
If one is going to completely freeze their face with botox and plastic surgery, then one shouldn't do a side by side duet with himself 40 years apart:
Untitled
And, of course, how could I leave out my very favorite Barry song...Weekend In New England (forgive the crookedness at first...one of these days I'll learn not to turn the camera mid view and sorry for the quality, I was lazy):
video
Overall, it was still a great night, but I couldn't help thinking through the entire show how I'd KILL to be that close to Duran! This is as close as I've ever gotten to MY boys:
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At least I could zoom (even with that old camera I had back then) to make me "feel" closer:
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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Top 10 Things You Would Do If You Won The Lottery


As always, go over to Kate's and Tiff's blogs to see their Top 10's for the week and if you want to join in, just let Kate know!

Kate put a cap on the amount (75 million pounds - about 110 million dollars) and I'm so glad she did! If I'm realistic about it (or as realistic as one can be about a lottery win), I'm going to assume that's the cash-out amount and, after taxes, both federal and state, I would be left with about 60 million, so that's what I'm going with. Thankfully, this is my go-to amount of win and the one that benefits me the most. Anything more and it's just way too much (and incredibly dangerous) and anything less means I'm not going to hit these targets and the plans are completely different.

Because of my Asper-ness, my brain constantly runs at full speed, especially at night. The only way I can get to sleep is to start a scenario in motion and play it through until I drift off. My standard scenario is a lottery win, so I'm pretty well-versed in all levels of a win and this might be the easiest Top 10 ever for me! I have various levels of spending thoughts, and even spend waking hours perusing websites looking for the perfect bed or stemware to assist in my scenario-building skills, but for the purposes of this Top 10, I'll try to stick to the basic generalities. I could literally write a novel-sized wishlist when it comes to a lottery win, and that's just for this amount. I have other lists for other amounts, all the way down to $100,000.

I'm very careful when, on the rare occasion, I do buy lottery tickets. I constantly read horror stories about lottery winners getting sued left and right, death threats, kidnappings, etc, so I'm more than paranoid about winning the lottery (even though I'm willing to risk it). I will typically drive the four hours to Kansas to buy tickets because it's one of the few states that you can claim your winnings anonymously and keep it that way. If, and or when, I win the lottery, no one, including most of family members, will probably ever know. It's safer for us all that way. I will find a way to help some of them financially so that they don't know it's me, but I will go through the whole process...name change, disappearance, relocation to protect myself and Bam.

Obviously, I will go through the standard steps such as getting a lawyer, financial advisor, etc. although I'm not too sure how stringent I'll let them be on me and their control will be extremely limited (to keep them from running off with my money). I am overly frivolous with money even now (and I'm as poor as a church mouse), so I'm sure I'll be worse with a lottery win. I just need the experts to reign me in on the crazy stuff. I still have very specific plans that will not be deterred (most of which are below)...so enough chit chat, let's get to the good stuff!

#1: GOLDEN OAK
Despite all recommendations as to how to start spending a lottery win (and I've read several books on the subject...I take my dreaming seriously), my very first order of business is buying my house in Golden Oak. For those that don't know, Golden Oak is a subdivision that is actually situated on Disney property, in Walt Disney World. This isn't Disney's first foray in real estate, they built the town of Celebration, just south of Disney World, only to lose it (depending on who you ask) due to numerous reasons that don't matter here.

My first notion is to build my perfect house from scratch, but that will take too long and I will need to move as soon as possible (for safety reasons). Right now, there is a resale that would be perfect to start with. If later I decide to build out there, I will have a roof over my head while I take my time and do it right. You get so many Disney benefits to living in Golden Oak (not including being within a stone's throw of the parks), it would be stupid for me, a crazy Disney fan, not to take advantage. If anything, living in Golden Oak could save me money in the long run, despite the crazy fees involved with living there.

When it comes to "staff", that's a harder question to answer. I won't want to take care of any yard work or pool maintenance, but I also can't see myself having a maid because I'm not a trusting person and I'm not sure I would like someone strange actually inside my house. At the same time, I won't want to do housework either. It's the one area I'm stuck on. I will probably outsource the outside stuff and try to see if I can handle the inside stuff. If not, I would probably hire a maid that only works say one day a month, and only on a day when I'm there so I can "monitor" things. No matter what I decide though, my duck room will have intense security and no one will be allowed in there without me.

#2: FURNISHINGS
For an extra couple hundred thousand, you can make your Golden Oak home "turn-key ready", which basically means they will furnish it and stock it for you. Part of me likes this idea because I don't relish buying new towels and dishes and such, but I'm also an extremely picky person and I'm not sure some fru-fru decorator will get me or my tastes. There are things I will need, such as a duck room for all my Disney stuff (and I have very specific ideas about that), a craft room, themed bedrooms (and the themes change as the dreams do), etc and I'm not sure I like the idea of someone else deciding that for me. I guess it will depend on how hands-on they are.

I am also the kind of person that likes to have items that remind me of people or places, so a lot of the decor will be my own doing. I'd like to take my time and do it right...get the absolute perfect matchy-matchy items in certain areas and the perfect kitsch items elsewhere. About the only thing I know for sure (and that stays constant) is that the overall theme will be purple.

#3: VEHICLE
I'm not one of those people who need 15 cars. I may buy a new one every year or so, given the funds, but one is plenty and I'm not too overly picky. Obviously, something mildly luxurious, in the SUV range, possibly a hybrid and that's about it. I don't want some outrageous sports car that costs more than the house. Maybe a Mercedes or Lexus, just something to get me from point A to point B. Living in Disney World, I don't plan to be out much anyway. It just needs to be nice enough to be acceptable in the neighborhood, but not crazy enough to get me car-jacked.

#4: SMALL, CLASS E MOTOR HOME
OK, I know I just said I don't plan to be out much, but...I do want to travel, at least upon occasion. There are places I've never been and always wanted to go to even if I'm not good with going places and "doing things". I like to go places, see it through the car window, and move on. Stopping for the night at a hotel isn't something I'm particularly comfortable with, but I will need to sleep somewhere. A small, van-sized motor home would be perfect for me and Bam to use to see the country. It's not too big to handle on my own, it's not considered motor home-sized so you can take it anywhere a car or SUV can go, and we'll be safe in the confines of our own space. Despite their small stature (or because of it), they are quite a bit more expensive than you would think, so it's something that can only be reserved for a large lottery win.

When it comes to stopping at RV parks or campgrounds though, I may have a lot of trouble handling that. I will need to plug things up and empty other things upon occasion, but I may wait until the very last minute to do so. I'm sure that will affect the wear-and-tear of said vehicle and may make maintenance costs high. I might not keep it forever, especially once I've seen most of the places I want to.

#5: DISNEY STUFF
Living in Disney World, I'll be able to buy new merchandise almost daily. There are a few items I always swear up and down will be my first lottery purchases (but obviously, I will need a house to put them in first because I don't want to move them around much and, considering their delicacy, I'm not sure how I would even get them from the store to my house):
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Those are a lot bigger than you would think.
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Between both castles and the coach, there is about $100,000 worth of merchandise there. Most of the items on my Disney wishlist aren't really expensive in the first place, so it's not like I'll be spending millions on collectibles (honestly, those in the pictures above are the most expensive things I would ever consider buying) but, throughout the years, there have been things or items I've really wanted and couldn't afford and are now retired or discontinued. I will be spending a considerable amount of time on Ebay to get these items. Like now, I will have some collector pieces intermingled in with stuff from Dollar Tree. If it's a duck, I'm not too picky where it comes from or its value!

I'm not including other, non-Disney stuff because honestly, there really isn't too much other stuff I'd want. I live a pretty single-minded life. I sometimes think about having real estate in other locations, like having a flat in London, a beach house in Santa Monica and maybe one in Nantucket but, in the long run, those are just a waste of money to me...why maintain a house that you stay in one week a year? Besides, it could become a tax nightmare owning real estate in various states or countries. Best stick to hotels.

#6: DISNEY PARK TRIPS
I figure I should be able to visit every other Disney park in the world at least one week a year a piece. If there is one I don't like much, maybe I will only hit that one every couple of years, but I do want to vary my Disney experience (and merchandise) a bit.

#7: BAM PAMPERING
The ideal plan is to build Bam his very own room with all kinds of decorator dog stuff. I even consider getting him a brother or two upon occasion. Since Disney World has a pretty nice boarding facility on property (and within a stone's throw of Golden Oak), I have great aspirations of sending him to doggy daycare while I'm in the parks. I may not be the kind of person to waste money on myself in the way of appearance, but Bam will have the best of everything, including spa treatments!

#8: OTHER TRIPS
I guess my notion of not leaving the house much is kind of silly considering I will apparently be spending all that time in Disney parks around the world, travelling in my motor home, and visiting life-long dream destinations (such as England, Scotland, etc). I may limit these major trips to one a year just to control how much I'm out. Plus, any major travel means I can't take Bam (or wouldn't want to drag him through the hassle of it), and I wouldn't want to be away from him for too long. I have debated getting him "support animal" certified, but I would think on a plane that Bam would need more support than I do! Best leave him at home.

#9: BEAUTIFICATIONS/FIXTURES
I'm not an overly self-absorbed person, but given the funds, there are certain things I'd like to fix and/or change about myself. I would lose weight naturally, get a trainer and exercise, etc, but I'm at the age where no matter what way I lose weight, there will always be excess skin. I would need this surgically removed. I also have hooded eyelids, something that insurance won't pay for until I'm older, but I'd like to get that fixed as well. I don't see myself having major plastic surgery or botox or whatever. I don't have many wrinkles and am pretty settled with my features (including my large Scottish nose).

I do have an eye disease call keratoconus which will eventually require corneal transplants. The US is the only country in the world that still uses donor corneas...everyone else has gone to synthetic. Donor corneas mean a donor list and a wait. If I had the money, I'd just go to Canada and get the problem fixed now instead of waiting until my corneas rupture and having to spend months or years on a donor list while I'm blind. That could cut into my cross stitching plans.

Same goes with the stupid lump in my head. They don't want to remove it now because it's not causing any problems and it's in a dangerous location. My view is, why wait until I'm having seizures or god knows what else or it becomes so big that they can't remove it at all? Best get it out while it's small and manageable (and I'm still relatively young enough to make it through the surgery).

When it comes to clothing and such, I am a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers kind of girl and I'm not sure money would change that. Obviously, I would need nice clothes sometimes, but I doubt my overall style would change much. I do have an obsession with jewelry and accessories (especially purses and sunglasses), so I might have more than my fair share of that kind of thing, but the thought of wasting money on clothing has never, and will never, appeal to me. Give me something electronic over a new top any day!

#10: DONATIONS
This is kind of low on the list of things, I know, but I'm very untrustworthy of other people and especially organizations, so choosing who to donate money to will take great time and research...something I figure I won't want to do at first. Like I mentioned at the start, there are people I would like to help, specifically the only people I call "family", like my Sister, mother, and aunt (it's a short list) and even then there will be confidentially agreements and safe harbor agreements to protect me against future lawsuits.

Charitable organizations will be harder. Obviously, it will all be done anonymously, but I would give to the two local hospitals as well as the hospital in Paragould where I worked part-time for 11 years. I will also probably give to both St. Jude's and Arkansas Children's Hospital and maybe the children's hospital in Orlando. I would give money to Debbie at Arkansas Southern Dog Rescue, who so graciously allowed me to adopt Bam, but other places will need extensive research and I haven't given it a great deal of thought other than those locations.

Friends and acquaintances will be harder because, again, I've read numerous horror stories about lottery winners and their charitable donations. You buy a friend or family member a nice car, they run over somebody, and you get sued, or you buy them a house, they have a pool party, and someone drowns and, guess what? You get sued. Or, my personal favorite, give a family member money, they get addicted to drugs, die, and then their spouse/kids/etc sue you because they wouldn't have lost said person had you not given them money in the first place.

There are about a million stories about things like that that actual lottery winners have dealt with. There are people I'd like to help, but I'm always going to protect me and Bam first and if I can think of a loophole that could get me in trouble, then forget it. Numerous times, various lottery winners have had the closest of family members try to kill them and, if there is one thing I've learned, nobody can be trusted when it comes to money.

Granted, my Asper-dom means that my empathy level is next to nil anyway, but a random person, who I don't know, is never going to get a dime from me unless I can do it anonymously and safely. Anyone that out-right asks for money is guaranteed not to get it on principle alone, I don't care who they are. I'm not talking about a random street beggar, I'm referring to the people who make it their life's mission to write letters to every single lottery winner asking them to pay for their child's surgery (with cash, deposited in their account). Not going to happen.

But even having said all that, I'm still the kind of person who is a notoriously large tipper (even now in my poor state), and I can't imagine things like that would change. If someone I know needs something, I will try my best to help them out, as long as it can be by my rules and all the legal protections I can muster!

And on that positive note (HA), I guess I'd better stop there!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sunday Stitching and February TUSAL

Let's get this month's TUSAL over with first (and a day early, no less). For some reason, I was feeling a bit "ducky" this month:
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Looks like a meerkat we all know and love is peeking around the corner!

I stuck to Maleficent like you guys suggested and, it took a ton of work, but I managed to finish the third row (finally). I left off here last week:
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And here is the row finish at 388.07 hrs:
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And here are all three rows together:
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For all the hell that this stupid dithering is giving me, I do have to admit that it does look really good. I wish I could say the same for Suteki (but that's a post for another blog at another time). My goal is to finish the fourth row of Maleficent by the end of the year, but I might just get into the fifth if I keep up at this pace.

I debated on working on the wording for Rainy Wedding next week, but right now, at least until my Disney trip is over with, I think I'll put it off a while. I decided to complete the rotation and go back to #1: Snow White.

Just to help matters along, I got a needle minder just for her:
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Since she's not the typical Snow White, I didn't want to get a Snow needle minder, so I went with the next obvious choice. I think I'm getting a bit addicted to these things! Let's just hope the plans of the week don't interfere too much with my stitching progress.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Top 10 Phone Apps


As always, go over to Kate's and Tiff's blogs to see their Top 10's for the week and if you want to join in, just let Kate know!

Well, yet again, I've got to bend the topic just a bit. I may be a techie, but I'm also one of those people who think that a phone should just be used to call or text people. I rarely ever use apps on my phone and typically only out of necessity. My iPad, however, is a whole 'nother beast and I app the heck of it, so I'm going to make this week's Top 10 Tuesday a list of my top 10 favorite iPad apps (with maybe one or two iPhone apps thrown in for good measure). I'm also going to try to link to as many of these as I can.

#1: HOURS TRACKER
Ever wonder why I know exactly how much time I spend stitching on a project? Hours Tracker is the reason. I pretty much clock in and out as I stitch and have a "job" for each cross stitch project.

#2: EZ PDF READER
Although I still use paper copies of my patterns and do all my marking off of finished stitches on those, I do like to use this app to highlight the symbol I'm working on so that I don't miss any stray threads. I did try to use it to mark off as I went along, but I found it too unreliable. I also tried GoodReader, another PDF app that a lot of people like, but I couldn't keep it stable enough to work with.

#3: DROPBOX
I do luv me some Dropbox! It makes it much easier for me to access files across all the computers and devices that I deal with in a day and it's where I store all my cross stitch patterns for safety reasons.

#4: MY DISNEY EXPERIENCE
Disney World and Disneyland are two completely different worlds when it comes to technology. Disneyland just recently got an app that really serves no purpose, but the Disney World My Disney Experience app is a virtual godsend in the parks. You can see how long lines are (so you don't have to cross all the way through the park to read the board), you can book dining ressies (or cancel them), you can see where you are and where you need to be, you can book FastPass + experiences and get reminders when your FastPass is coming up...it's basically exactly what you want in a travel companion app (although it is slower than Christmas thanks to their overly clunky format - their website is the same). This is one of the few apps that I do use on my phone (because obviously I'm not dragging my iPad through the parks and to those people who do, I wish you would stop, especially those who use them to take pictures with during fireworks and feel the need to raise it into my eye view so all I can see is your iPad screen!).

#5: WAKE UP WITH DONALD
I can't link to this app because it is no longer available in the App Store (but you can find it on other sites - I don't recommend that FYI), but for those of us who have it, we are lucky ducks! Seriously, the best way to wake up in the morning is having Donald Duck screaming at you. At first, the app also told the weather and did other things (you could tickle him, change his outfits, etc), but over time some of those features are disappearing. At least the alarm clock still works and I do also use this more on my phone than my pad. Luckily, I just happened to find a YouTube video showing what it can do (or what it used to do in the case of the weather):


#6: JIGSAW PUZZLE
I go through phases with puzzles, sometimes I can't stop doing them and other times I can't bring myself to touch one. Puzzle apps are hard to find because I guess people have different ideas about what a "jigsaw" puzzle is, so when you find one you like, stick with it! I haven't been in the mood for a while now, but you get a free puzzle every day so I always make it a point to get my puzzle daily. You can also download puzzle packs (there are a couple of free ones, but the "good" ones all cost at varying rates).

#7: NETFLIX / HULU
If I'm in a good wi-fi zone and need something to occupy my time, I will typically watch TV shows from my queues. Honestly, I think my iPad is more of a stable watching source than my Blu-Ray player at the house.

#8: GHOST RADAR
This is one of those really hokey apps, but I keep it on a lot more than I probably should.

#9: SIRIUS XM
This app probably gets equal love between my phone and my tablet, it just depends on where I am and what I am doing at the time. Obviously, you have to have a Sirius XM account and have the web option (which I do), but I can't imagine life without it, even though I typically only listen to one station, #33 - First Wave. At least you can edit the web version more to your specific tastes versus just the live broadcast. Mine is heavy on the synth and more obscure than mainstream and it gives me exactly what I want to listen to.

#10: GAMES
I'm going to cram all these together in one number, simply because my attentions shift so quickly with games, I can't keep up! I will play one until my fingers are sore, unable to put it down for days or weeks, and then never touch it again. Right now, the list is shorter, but I'm pretty addicted to Blossom Blast Saga and Nibblers on the non-Disney side and Cinderella Free Fall and Frozen Free Fall on the Disney side (yes, I keep my games separated into those two categories). I will occasionally play one of those games where you have clues that get you from one place to another with an occasional item search puzzle in the middle (I'm not sure what those are called), but once those are done, they really aren't good to play again. The past few I've downloaded have taken me a max of three hours and if I'm going to pay $4.99 for a game, I want it to last longer than that.

There are a lot of other apps that I use on my tablet, but this is a top 10 list after all and most of these get used an awful lot.