Tuesday, August 30, 2005

More Border Collie Cross Stitch

My dogs are an important part of my life. They take me out of myself and force me to pay attention to and take care of another life. This is especially true of Ace. Tonight I took Ace to dog agility class. He does well, better than I do. It requires concentration on the dog and on my actions. We are working toward becoming a team, learning about each other and the equipment.

The cross stitch pattern here is called "Next to Go." Probably sheep dog trials. Border collies are called collies or sheep dogs overseas. I love this pattern.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

I misinterpreted the relationships

I wrote yesterday about two of my friends dumping me because they said I was too "needy." I have been thinking about this, and I think I am making some progress in understanding it.

I can't relate to the "needy" thing. It just doesn't fit. I have thought about it a lot, and I don't feel in my gut that it's right. Then what is right?

I think I misinterpreted the relationships. I thought we were closer than we were. I thought they enjoyed talking to me. I certainly enjoyed talking to them. But I seem to have been too intense. They felt that I was demanding more from them than they could give. This would have been the case if we were interpreting the relationship differently. In face to face relationships when this happens, the one with the less intense feelings withdraws, perhaps feeling a bit stifled by the other person. I have been there and done that.

Breaking up with friends is a bit like breaking up with lovers. It hurts like heck.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Changes, Transformations, Metamorphoses

I have been going through a lot of changes recently. My interests are becoming broader and I am thinking about new things. I have joined some new groups. I have ordered new books. I have some new blogs and spend more time writing.

It seems like my friends are changing too. In the last few days, two of my friends have dumped me. They were internet friends. We were a trio, the three of us. They said I was too "needy," but I don't see it, and I don't even feel there's anything to deny. I mean, I can't find neediness anywhere in me. And I've looked.

All I feel is transformation. I feel very different than I did a few weeks ago. I think I am going in a good direction. I don't understand why anyone would reject me now, unless they don't like who I am becoming. Maybe we have gone in different directions. How that can be interpreted as neediness, I don't know. It may just be an excuse to end the relationship.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Tough love for relatives who ask for money?

What do you do when a relative asks for money?

I have a friend who loaded a brother-in-law $300,000. He went into bankruptcy and never paid it back. The money was part of their retirement savings. They have jumped through legal hoops and there is little hope.

I know somebody who mortgaged their house to pay for a daughter's legal fees. She was a pharmacist and was doing drugs. She was on probation for manslaughter. She had shot and killed her boyfriend who was abusing her. When she got caught on the drug charge, she had to serve time for both crimes. The family eventually went into tough-love mode. They had given her everything they could give, and finally had to let her fall.

I just had a relative ask me for money. We didn't talk for 13 years...since the last time she asked me for money. I have been talking to her again for a few months, and she asked for money again. I feel terrible about saying no. I told her we couldn't afford it, that we have two children in college and a third in a private high school. I am afraid that the next time she asks for money, she will not talk to me again for another 13 years.

If I had a lot of money, I would give it to her, so she would never hurt for money again. I would buy her a house and set up a trust fund, and put her children through college. Right now I am putting my children through college and saving for retirement. I feel just terrible saying no. I feel terrible because I have so much more than she has.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I have a soldier...

"You can support the troops but not the president."
Rep Tom Delay (R-TX), when Clinton sent troops to Bosnia.

I have a soldier from Soldiers' Angels. I am a Democrat and I don't feel great about the War in Iraq. I dislike Bush immensely, especially his so-called values, which I don't share. Yet I have a soldier I am supporting who is now in Iraq. I am enjoying it immensely. I hope he is too.

As Tom Delay said, you can support the troops -- even if you aren't a Republican, even if you don't agree with the war, even if you are a conscientious objector, or a vegetarian, and even if Ayn Rand isn't your favorite author. You can support the troops if you are a Clinton Democrat.

During the Vietnam War, when I was a teenager and young adult, I supported the troops. I was staunchly anti-war, but I couldn't figure out why people didn't support the troops. They weren't at fault for the war. They deserved a good welcome. I had good feelings for the guys in green. I have deep reverence when I visit the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., something everyone should do.

Even if you're slightly left of center, like I am, go to Soldiers Angels and get yourself a soldier. It is very rewarding.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Another View of Ace!

This is Ace a few minutes ago, looking up at me endearingly. He just got back from agility class and he's exhausted. Thursday or Friday we are going back to Peabody Manor for pet therapy. I think I get as much out of it as the people he visits.

I have some new border collie cross stitch patterns to share. More later.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Green Tree Frog from Ross Originals

My friend Chrissy, who inspired the frogging post below, has an online shop called CraftBooksGalore. She's got cross stitch patterns and a lot of other stuff. My favorite is a booklet that teaches you how to make some great thongs for bare feet. I'm going to buy that one.

In the meantime (as long as we are talking about frogging) here is Chrissy's favorite FROG pattern. It's from Ross Originals, which is an Australian cross stitch company. Not all of their patterns are available in the US, and some are downright difficult to find. I was hunting for a couple of the Egyptian patterns and they are only available overseas, for example. Luckily, Green Tree Frog is available at 1-2-3 Stitch.

Updating my Blog!

Sorry I've not updated my blog for a few days. I've been really busy with my diabetes blog, getting ready for Blogathon and blogging for 24 hours starting at 8:00 yesterday morning (August 6) to 8:00 this morning (August 7). If you'd like to see what I did for the Blogathon (besides raising $85 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) go to Sweet as Candice: My life with type 1 diabetes. It was a wonderful experience for me and one I am going to repeat next year. I am already thinking of ideas. I would highly recommend getting involved and blogging for the charity of your choice!

What's Wrong with Technorati?

For the past couple of days, the Technorati icon on my blogs has been missing. In addition, I can't get the information about the links to my blogs at their website. I wonder if they are having problems. That would be a drag, because it's really fun going to Technorati to find out who has linked to my blogs. I don't think it's a complete list of links -- I think it's just the links for people who are members of Technorati. But it's a great service and I hope they come back up soon. I'd really like to ping them that I've updated my blogs.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Cross Stitchers and Frogs

It's funny. When you ask a cross stitcher what their favorite animal is, you get almost predictable answers. My friend Val is a squirrel. I am a groundhog. And my friend Chrissy is a frog. Val accumulates stuff (she squirrels it away). I pile stuff up on the floor (ground-hog). And Chrissy, well she frogs! It's all about stash and stitching.

In honor of my friend Chrissy, I'm doing a post on cross stitch frogs. Chrissy loves frogs. So do Val and Roxi. So these frogs are for all of them.

If you are reading this and you are not a cross stitcher, you may not know the significance of the frog. To us, the term "frog" means not only a tailless amphibian with webbed feet, but also the sound "ribbit ribbit," meaning that your stitching must be ripped out and restitched. To the cross stitcher, the frog can connote hours of painful picking away at floss, trying to get it free from delicate fabric without tearing anything.

We cross stitchers regularly accuse each other of sicking a frog on us, of someone letting their frog out to invade every other cross stitcher's life, or the frog coming for a visit. Nobody wants that kind of frog. The tailless amphibian, however, is beloved.

In Greece, 400 BCE, a chorus of frogs sings loudly in one of Aristophanes' plays. Aristophanes' frogs say "brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax" not "ribbit ribbit." Much use they are. (I actually did read The Frogs when I was on my Greek plays kick.)

I have adopted a couple of soldiers in Iraq, and when I send them packages, I send along a Beanie Baby to give to an Iraqi child. I recently acquired some Beanie Baby frogs -- lively pink ones -- and then I got to wondering if there are frogs in Iraq. I suppose there are some by the rivers, but would the children who live in dry, dusty villages know what frogs are? And if so, what if frogs are taboo. I know nothing of Islam. If dogs are despised, could frogs be far behind? I decided I was thinking too deeply about this, and the frogs are going to Iraq.

Okay, reading the web I learned that there are indeed frogs in Iraq. They come out when it rains. But clearly, to call somebody a "Frog" is a negative thing in Iraq.

I once had a cassette tape of frogs. I bought it because I thought it would be relaxing. Then I went to Zimbabwe and took a lot of tapes with me, including the frog tape. When I played it in the car, my Zimbabwean colleagues were incredulous. They couldn't believe somebody would actually have a tape of frogs. I am sure it proved to them just how far away from nature we Americans are. Or how ridiculous.

To the cross stitcher, frog is a noun and a verb. "To frog" is to remove stitches, and when one does that, one is "frogging." We all hate frogging.

Monday, August 01, 2005

La Sylphide Toquee Revisited

On January 17, 2005 I posted a entry in this blog about La Sylphide Toquee, a French cross stitch designer. La Syphide Toquee has an adorable web site, with what looks like cute little winged bugs floating around. It's a little difficult to traverse for me, not speaking French, but I figured it out. There seem to be a free pattern and several new designs added since January. The free pattern is called Ethique Coeur & Ame.

I have picked out two more designs to share here. These designs are special because of their delicacy. The design on the left is Bienvenue Mouton. On the right is The Village.

A couple of weeks ago someone named Agnes posted a comment here. She claimed to be the "Crazy Sylph" herself!