March 29, 2009

Space Shuttle Lands Safely...

It was around 3 pm on Saturday. I was in one of our guest rooms puttering around, when BOOM! I stood up and then ran off to the garage where Handsome was working on a few photo equipment sets ups.

The usual, "What the #@%&!! was that?" and all we could figure was a sonic boom. Well, it turns out we were right, but we'd completely missed the fact that the Shuttle Discovery was scheduled to return to terra firma this weekend. Here, we are always so excited when they depart and return, that we can't believe we missed this touchdown!

We caught the news article this morning as we read our local online newspaper. According to the story, the landing had been delayed due to high winds. (We can vouch for that! It was windy all day.) The winds turned around and conditions adjusted just enough so that the crew could make their landing in the final window of opportunity for the day.

Discovery's 13-day mission was a success, and their craft and crew landed safely at Cape Canaveral today. Prayers answered...

(Photograph courtesy of AP/Chris O'Meara)

March 27, 2009

Friday Night Date...

It's been a great week, so Handsome and I decided on our favorite meal for our Friday Night Date...homemade pizza.

We have a regular system for creating these wonderful meals together. We've had over 25 years of practice, after all!

Handsome is always in charge of the dough. Bread machines have sure made that process easier, but it's always important to measure out the right amount of ingredients, and then he adds Italian seasonings and just a touch of crushed red pepper flakes for a perfect little kick.

After the dough is made, I take over. First, I make sure the oven is turned on, and the pizza stone is heating up along with the oven, to a toasty 475ยบ. I'm not a dough tosser - after all, I do know my limitations - choosing instead of roll it I then place it on a cookie sheet which sports a layer of corn meal. When the pizza has been assembled, I need that corn meal to help me slide the whole thing off the cookie sheet and onto a waiting pizza stone in the oven.

After the dough is on the cookie sheet, it still needs to rest for about 15 minutes before we can put all the toppings on it and place it in the oven. While we count down those interminable 15 minutes, we stand at our kitchen island, cutting toppings and sharing stories. Tonight, our toppings are onions, green peppers, mushrooms, black olives, and Italian sausage. This time, we'll use feta, goat cheese and just a little mozzarella. We'll top it all of with a sprinkling of shredded asiago.

By the time we've prepped all the "fixings", the timer goes off and we get right into topping the dough. We order our favorite sauce from Wisconsin by the case, as we haven't been able to find it here in Florida. Let me sing the praises of Pastorelli Pizza Sauce. If you've never tried it, you really should. Not sweet and not too tangy. The best sauce for our pizzas, bar none! I check one last time to make sure the pizza still slides on the corn meal and then head for the oven. With a customary, "Pizza in the hole!", I slide the pie into the oven and set the timer for another 17 minutes...not 16; not's got to be a perfect 17 minutes.

Off to clean up the kitchen while we await our dinner. By the time we're finished cleaning up the butcher block top on our island, the bread machine bowl, and all the other utensils and dishes used to cut and hold the toppings, you guessed if on cue, the timer sounds off and it's time to sit down to dinner.

Pizza started as a family tradition when I was a kid. My dad used to purchase ready made dough from a local pizzeria in our hometown. When he brought it home, he separated it into single pizza servings, wrapped and then took it to the freezer for later retrieval. We knew it would be a special Friday night, if Dad had us run downstairs on Friday mornings to fetch two frozen dough balls to thaw out during the day!

There were five of us...Dad, Mum, my sister, Lyn, my little brother, Delly, and me. (The other three kids didn't come along until later.) Even so, we all loved those Friday night pizzas. Even though I'm now a grown-up, mature woman, a part of me still remembers those childhood treats when Handsome and I have Friday Night Pizza Dates.

March 24, 2009

Today is the day...

Well, as promised, today is the day I unveil the details of Preston's Christening gown. I'm very excited to get started on the gown, and wanted to begin by showing you all the components that will go into its creation.

You can click on the link in my Flickr album on the left hand column to see all the photos, but I decided to post one photo...that of my start this "adventure". Meet my great nephew, Preston Michael. He was born on March 4, 2009, in Wisconsin. He weighed 6# 7 oz., and measured 20.5” long. I finally received a new batch of photos. This was taken over the weekend by his aunt.

I'll start the actual cutting and sewing tomorrow, but had to keep my word and get some photos up for my grandma girlfriends, who have been waiting patiently for me to get over my darned cold so I could get crackin' on this project.

More tomorrow!

March 22, 2009

It Was A Great Day for Watching Airplanes!

Today, Handsome and I drove to the Charlotte County Airport in Punta Gorda for the 2009 Florida International Air Show. This has become an annual "date" for the two of us, and we really look forward to attending. I am just like a kid again when we go to the air show. I just love it all...the sound of the planes, the military pomp and all the people. It's all just so wonderfully patriotic. I wish everyone could attend a show somewhere in the country if they haven't already. The weather was perfect - mostly sunny, breezy and dry. It doesn't get better than this in southern Florida.

The Navy Blue Angels were the featured performers this year. Before they appeared, we were treated to feats of derring-do by wingwalkers on a biplane and acrobatic plane performances. We watched the "Heritage Flight", which featured an F-16 fighter, a P-51 fighter and the Air Force F-15 fighter plane - making its final appearance at events such as this. My brother served in the Navy on the U.S.S. Nimitz and my father was Air Force, so I have a special affinity for those two branches of the Armed Forces, but the Army and the Marines were also represented. In fact, two of the Blue Angels pilots are Marines in this rotation.

In addition to watching the air show, I got to people watch - one of my favorite past times. I was completely taken with a young Amish girl who was sitting three rows in front of us. I can't imagine a more interesting dicotomy than that of an Amish girl and high tech jets, but there you have it. In addition to photos of her, you'll see a little boy who started playing with his model planes when he tired of the show on the runway, and a boy's t-shirt that really tickled us! There are even a few shots of Handsome with some of our favorite aircraft at this show.

Click on my Flickr link (in the left toolbar) to see my favorite photographs of a wonderful day spent with my sweetheart.

Just to give you a heads-up...I'll be starting my great nephew's Christening gown project this week. I hope you'll be back to follow my progress!

I appreciate you stopping in to visit. See you again soon.

March 17, 2009

My Side of the Story...

I wasn't sure I was going to do this, but after multiple emails and phone calls asking, "Where did you go?", I decided it was time to address this. But just this one time...

For all its wonder and elegance, the Internet can be a nasty place. People are able to pretend to be someone or something they're not, behave in ways they would never behave in the company of real people, or say things under the cloak of anonymity that they would never think to utter in front of their mom or dad. For me, it's a simple thing. Either a person has integrity or they don't. What does that mean? Integrity is how a person behaves even if they're positive they'll never get caught. I am a person of integrity. Pure and simple. It governs my daily life and my behavior, online or off. It's who I am - right down to the core. Put it on my headstone if you want..."Here lies a Woman of Integrity".

I, too, am a former member of Ravelry. I've been "forbidden" to access the site anymore by the owners of the site. Why? Well, I can honestly tell you I have no idea. No, really! I have no idea. It's been "reported" that it was because of unacceptable behavior on their site. Hmmm, my posts are all still there. If you're a member, please go read my words, which have been saved for posterity. I was never unkind, rude, nasty, obnoxious, or God-forbid, "vile" as some have said of all the nearly 200 people who were tossed off the site.

Here's the truth. For me, there was life before Ravelry, and there will be life after Ravelry. What I'll miss is the daily dose of like-minded, creative women whose lives I shared on Grandma's Hand, Sage Wisdom and Sew Obsessed...all groups on Ravelry. We never discussed politics. We talked about family, our crafts and our lives. We had so much more in common than we had differences.

When I raised a call for handcrafted pet mats for the unhomed pets at our local Suncoast Humane Society, I received crocheted and knitted mats from all over the country from members of Sage Wisdom and Grandma's Hand. I was honored to present them to the staff at the shelter, who were grateful for the heart and hard work that had gone into each and every mat. I know for a fact that the animals have appreciated them during our unusually cold Florida winter this year!

There are also wonderful women I met, in person, as a result of my membership in Ravelry. One day, early in my membership, I received a private message from a gal named Netta (I revised this to remove her Rav name) who told me she lived just down the road from me in the next town. She invited me to meet her for knitting night at the local Books-a-Million store and introduced me to more beautiful women that I'm now happy to call my friends. Through her, I also met and befriended many more creative women in a local Project Linus group.

I still have my local Ravelry friends and for that I'm very grateful. What I've lost is the daily contact with the "Grandmas" and the unique perspectives on family that we share; those wise women over at Sage Wisdom, who gave my mind a daily exercise; and the talented and beautiful minds creating equally beautiful things in Sew Obsessed. To think that any of them might believe me to be capable of the awful things being written about the "Forbidden 200" pains me greatly. I only hope that the few who come here and read this will go back to the many who still reside in those groups and ask them to come and visit me here.

March 16, 2009

We Watched The Shuttle Liftoff...

At around 7:45 Sunday evening, Handsome, Kes and I headed to the open area of our property here on the Gulf Coast and watched the skies to our northeast. As the sun was going down behind us, a huge contrail, colored with the pinks and peaches of a beautiful sunset, marked the path of the latest shuttle launch, Discovery.

It's hard to imagine that there are hours of driving miles between us and the launch site, as this vision seemed to be only a short distance away. The sound created by the launch must be deafening if you're right there!

Handsome and I whooped and hollered at the craft as it fought its way into outer space, and we said our shared silent prayers for the safety of her crew.
(photo courtesy of NASA website. Click on the title of this post to see more NASA pictures.)

March 15, 2009

I think this is the start of something BIG!

I'm giggling as I write my very first blog post. Borne out of necessity, I found myself with no outlet for my thoughts - homeless, having been "forbidden" to post further on Ravelry as of this weekend. I'll wear that as a badge of honor, and for those of you who don't already know the reasons, I've chosen to perhaps reveal them at a later time (or you can read more about it on blogs belonging to my friends on the left hand column).

For now, I'm excited to be introducing myself to you and hoping that you find yourself enjoying my ramblings on family, pets, crafts and other aspects of my life in Florida. You'll get to see lots of photographs, as I'll no doubt share my recent sewing, knitting or crafting projects with you. I'll be back soon posting more photographs, projects and thoughts.

I'm Donna, but my two stepsons nicknamed me "Deece" about 25 years ago. The name stuck and now that's what the people closest in my life call me. You can, too!

Welcome to Brynwood Needleworks, and my life.