Puerto Vallarta

Today we docked.





And you can see the obvious “great view” from our balcony on the starboard side of the ship.. And yes, that is a Walmart and next to it is a Sam’s Club.  The walk over is short, and there are pedestrian crossings at several of the stop lights. Walmart was the first stop – cheap bathtub toys and some swim diapers so that Lev could hit the small splash pool. 

which turned out to be fun. Then Lev and I hung out while Shana made a few trips down the slide….

We sailed out around early evening, leaving a Carnival ship still docked

The final two days are both at sea. Tonight we get one hour of time zone change back – tomorrow night the same….0707

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Today we docked and it was an easy route off ship. After wading through both the inside and outside port vendors it was simply a matter of following the extremely clearly marked Blue (Azul) line to the historic portion of the city.

Mostly what we wanted to do was walk around, look at the painted buildings, head to the shore where there were both cliff divers, sculptures and even more vendors mostly of sunglasses and hats.

there is also an interesting theater district with art exhibitions.

and not to forget the towel animals – I can leave without them, but Lev seems to find them pretty funny, especially with his mother’s sun glasses…

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Cabo San Lucas

Our first stop is Cabo. We sailed in early while watching the whales. It is a tender port as it turns out. Not ideal for getting off a ship with a toddler. So we didn’t. But actually I think that the whale watching was just about as good from our balcony (and a lot less expensive + safer).

From all accounts, Shana & Lev managed close to 12,000 steps. Or at least Shana did – I have no way of estimating the joy of a young man happily dancing along the corridors and along the decks. Plus stairs, stairs are ever so much fun. So for that matter are elevators, which s fine when everyone else is off the ship but not as great during re-embarkation.

It was otherwise a quiet day. Off the ship tomorrow I am thinking as we will be actually docked.

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Too many drunks

There is a serious % of the 35xx+ passengers on this ship who are positive that it is 5 0’clock somewhere. I don’t get it. But then I fail to see the entertainment in being falling down drunk at any time of day.

Perhaps drink packages are just a really bad idea?

At least most of them were not the parents of herds of small children.

In any case, the Diamond Lounge is not over subscribed, the staff is lovely and the coffee machine now is supposed to be working 24/7. The staff also doesn’t seem to have an issue with people walking out with small amounts of snacks or chocolate covered strawberries. I haven’t tried the Suites Lounge. The suites are all full, mostly with families.

For me it was a fairly quiet day. I spent early morning in the Solarium. Of note, on this particular ship, it is located just aft of the forward elevator on the direct path from ship front to the Windjammer (Buffet) and there was a steady stream of everyone on the ship stomping through. I will vote for the Quantum class set up over this any day.

Tomorrow we hit Cabo. Since it is a tender port, I am not planning on getting off ship. Hopefully the announcement about whales and dolphins starting at about an hour before we reach there will turn out to be true….


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Navigator of the Seas

We three are heading off on an adventure…. Shana, Lev & I

Boarding Navigator of the Seas in San Pedro for a week

our schedule is below…

Friday, February 3 Los Angeles (San Pedro), CA 4:00pm
Saturday, February 4 At Sea
Sunday, February 5 Cabo San Lucas, Mexico 12:30pm 8:00pm
Monday, February 6 Mazatlan, Mexico 8:00am 6:00pm
Tuesday, February 7 Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 8:00am 6:00pm
Wednesday, February 8 At Sea
Thursday, February 9 At Sea
Friday, February 10 Los Angeles (San Pedro), CA 7:00am

I will have internet. It will be interesting…..

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Long Beach, California

My packing was pretty much completed last night, so this morning it was mostly adding those things which I missed on the first go round. It wasn’t clothing, that is easy. I pretty much take the same things on every ship. I forgo dress up in favor of lighter weight and easy care. 

It was sorting and reviewing my cross stitch supplies that ate a bit of time. That and making sure I have the right cables & adapters. 

So what did I forget? My over the ear headphones ….. I think I tossed a pair of cheap in the ear plug style or it is going to be a long two weeks.  

Oh, yes. Long Beach. Shana, Lev, & I flew down mid day. Toddlers need a lot of supplies, let us just leave it at that. We are staying near the airport tonight and will catch another Lyft to San Pedro midday tomorrow for a week aboard the Navigator of the Seas.  

I have posted the itinerary for 3-10 Feb. After spending the 10th here, on the 11th we will have a week on the Celebrity Solstice. 

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may not be golden, not even considering that old song. But it certainly can be welcome.

As a child of the 50s, starting university in the 60s, med school in the early 70s, I was never one for background anything. I wasn’t much for TV, radio programs, or music in the background. I normally avoided turning on the radio in the car. I am explaining this to provide a contrast to the present day.

The first “cell phone”, aka Handi that came into my possession was in 1995 while I was stationed in Germany. Ostensibly it was so that the senior commander could find us hospital commanders anytime he wanted. In fact, I figured out relatively quickly that it make more sense to send that heavy, Motorola brick with the long distance ambulance crews. If they had a problem on the road, they could call. This would keep things “in house” rather than having to go through the German road support services and running up charges on my budget. Although that  was an eminently responsible decision, it didn’t make the powers-that-be happy. Instead I was handed a second brick and told that I couldn’t fob it off on anyone, to include the duty officer.

For a reference, Internet at this point was still dial-up at a whopping 1200 baud, the majority of discussion groups were on various University .Alt boards and the KnitList was a great place to find people, discussion techniques, and get help on difficult patterns.

Then there were flip phones, mostly on a pay-as-you-go basis. By this time, anyone who can read this has already had a mobile type phone for a decade or more. Probably close to two, now that I think about it. And that phone, for most is like an appendage.

It was interesting to be without it, even for a day.


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Not  because I have anything against having a cell phone. In fact, for most of us, it has become a way of life. A handy little gadget that serves to handle photos, email, finances, directions, games, group discussions, texts…. That list seems to grow every day. Oh, yes, and passively watch things or listen to anything from books to podcasts, to sporting events, news programs,,,,

Nope, I am phoneless at the present as a matter of common sense. The Eldest’s phone developed a serious issue. The screen is blank, A dark, nasty looking black blank. The phone still works, but without being able to log in or answer calls that phone is not doing her any good. And, without a phone, it is really hard to call tech support….

We found one positive thing – since she is completely on Apple products, she was able to message me over her computer. The end result of my driving over was that I left my phone with her. I drove for years without a phone in the car. I can safely do that now. She has a toddler in the house. I think it is more important that she has a phone.

Tomorrow, we will take her phone to one of the Apple places and swap it out if they can’t fix it.

So today – no pictures as I don’t have my phone and using the heavy SLR is just a lot of work for an update photo. But I made progress on the three on-going daily projects to the tune of a total of ~1500 stitches today.


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Not snowing here

It is Sunday. The Football playoffs are still underway. It was snowing in Buffalo which amazingly seemed to be worse for the home team than the visiting Bengals. In local news, the 49ers managed to hold on to their ‘one touchdown lead” to secure their victory in the last few seconds of their game.

The Cal Women’s Basketball team never did get their act completely together and posted an amazingly painful loss to Utah. I brought neither stitching nor knitting to the game and really wished I had something to blunt the waiting. In a slight balance, there was more than an excellent turn out from the Cal Straw Hat Band, so I could enjoy at least that portion of the late afternoon.

Otherwise – I have three project in rotation – the promise to my friend Shelia to put in a thread length a day on the Teresa Kogut Silhowitches which has been languishing for almost a year. The fabric is 18 ct Relic from Picture this Plus and the threads are Vamp from Leo & Roxy which that blinding green is Celery from Forbidden Fiber Co.

Then there is Heart of My Heart from Tempting Tangles – again a thread length a day. 18 ct something from Fortnight Fabric and PR-034 from Silks4U


and finally, the rest of my time goes into Fish ‘n Ships by LongDog Samplers which has now hit 77%.



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the problem with hand making presents is not being able to share what you are doing till after the present is gifted. By that time, well, one can be throughly sick of the whole thing. In this case, it is a small (as these these things go) full coverage piece for the youngest.

Stitched on a 16 ct mystery dye from Under the Seas, it is only 90×90 which means 8100 stitches. I actually started it on the 9th and am now on the third day of stitching. Unlike with the large piece from Fox & Rabbit which had only the single color, there are 42 colors of DMC in this piece. Given that it is small, to get detail it means confetti. No way can I managed a large number of stitches per hour or per day. I am about 1000 stitches in with it seeming like endless to go…

After it is gifted in March – I can share both the pattern (from Artery) and the finished piece.

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forgot to post

Obviously, I wasn’t quiet with it for the last few days of 2022. Posting a belated finish –

Leo Rising by LongDog Samplers. Stitched on a 16 ct BeStitchMe fabric that came in (I think) the Space Mystery Box with Threadworx over dyed floss… Finished 27 Dec 2022


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and more rain

It has been on and off raining all day. Mostly off, except of course for the times that I needed to be outside.  Of course, then it rained. I will not bore you with errands. Or runs to BART. Or the grocery store. Or….. it was a day like most of us have complete with the thoughts of “how did I ever manage to get any of this done when I was working full time?”

I have two stitching projects in the queue which need to be done for a some upcoming birthdays. The first is an Artecy pattern – it is a 90×90 full coverage. I liked the pattern against the bluish green which mean that I needed to do a bit of gridding.

This is ~500 stitches of the 8100. The fabric is a mystery dye from Under the Seas in 16ct.



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bouncing cages

My intention this morning was clean up. Right, like that is going to happen.  Instead, we wound up over at Shana’s where George played with Lev while Noah and I put together a trampoline which now resides in her garage. A very active toddler, Lev is not really happy with the rain, the refusal of all the adults in his life to let him get soaked in every bit of puddle he can find, and the general restrictions of being stuck inside.

My answer? The kid loved bouncing. He has been bouncing on his bed, couch, chairs, and people. Why not a kid designed trampoline. The modern ones even come with sturdy netting up to parental head height and have a zipper door with an outside latch.

Completed in a reasonable amount of time (and yes, two people were really needed) Lev made a test bounce. and Bounce and bounce – non stop for about 30 minutes after which it was food and lights our for a much needed nap.

George & I went to the Cal Women’s basketball game against Stanford which started at 1600. The women just aren’t hitting the baskets (especially free throws) at critical times. Stanford was off. As a result it was a close game especially in the fourth quarter. Stanford pulled it off due to a missed Cal basket and several free throws.

But the Straw Hat band had a decent turnout for the school still being on winter break; augmented of course by almost a dozen alumni.

not much stitching accomplished.

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is finished for now. I have managed to get the entire floral thing with pot stitched. It equals  78% of the total stitches needed for this section. The rest of the stitches are a single stitch border which will go around the entire piece. I have no particular reason to stitch it now rather than later.


The whole motif is more than 80 rows high so that the top portion can’t be seen anymore as it is rolled up.  It took another 1267 stitches to get to this point.  It meant a couple of extra strands (7 ½ total rather than my usual six) but I really wanted it done…..

Now it is on to the rest of my projects….

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How Hot?

Like many others, I prefer stitching full coverage pieces on pre-gridded fabric. I am not so naive as to believe that I can keep track of stitches at any significant distance. Counting errors happen. Since I prefer stitching along the diagonal (10 wide or 20 wide) and park threads to be used later it means that having to count where to park a thread is a common occurrence.

I finished one of the Spangler StoryKeeps in Dec 2019. Since then it has languished in the “I need to finish this” pile. Farewell to Anger was my next full coverage piece and was completed in June 2020. See earlier in this particular paragraph re:nothing further done.

So today was the day. After meeting Dani & Alex for breakfast, I stopped at one of the hardware stores and purchased a couple of silicone tubs. We don’t have a tub, I don’t trust leaving anything in a sink, who knows the past history of any buckets. My friend Jill had warned me that you need hot water to dissolve those grid lines.  Tubs in the shower – check. Add water – check. Obviously, for safety reasons, we have a reasonable heat limit on our water heater.  I attempted to work with as hot as I could get from the water heater.

after 10 or so minutes with no change – I filled the electric kettle. Once boiling, I pulled out the smaller piece, added the hot water and dunked it back in. It worked! So I pulled it out to hand up, and added that water to the bigger tub. No change so repeated the drill with the kettle.

So step one has been accomplished! The lines are gone! Hopefully they will stay gone once the pieces dry…


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New Bed

We. have this bed –

It came from Germany – shipped in summer of 2014. George says it was new when he bought it. The mattresses were decent but not exceptional quality. The catch, of course, is that they are European size, not US which means if we want the much needed replacement, they would have to be custom made….

Not a great option by any standard. So we went bed shopping. One of the challenges of this room is that there is a door in one wall, windows in the next two walls and the closet in the last wall – so placement of the bed is either going to partially obstruct a window. If not, then a dresser will be accomplishing that mission.  On Tuesday we went bed shopping. As much as I would have loved to go to Fenton-McClaren, the lead time on their manufacture is a minimum of six months. My back would really prefer not to wait another six months…

So, we found a bed which was delivered today.

The frame is “cherry” and we can still access the windows.

In stitching news – I am now at 52%.

with mostly the big flower pot to go.


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and the storm rolled in

there was a huge storm that rolled through on New Year’s Eve which dumped an incredible amount of rain, caused a lot of flooding with winds that added damage for good measure. The only good thing that came out of it, as I mentioned before, was the lack of fireworks.

There was another “bomb cyclone” as it is being called as part of an atmospheric river predicted to hit the area starting about 1000 this morning.  All my initial plans became OBE due to weather concerns. Naturally, the roads were clear, there wasn’t any rain, and I wondered. Ran errands for most of the day, finally getting back home just before 1600.

And by 1700 the storm had rolled into my area. Both the wind and driving rain seem a lot stronger than last weekend. Slight lull after the first few hours, but we are back at driving rain with winds continually changing directions. Glad to be tucked up in my cozy chair.

I have been making steady progress on the Fox&Rabbit 2023 Royal Gardens Mastery SAL. After 4 days of stitching, my 3900 stitches puts me at 42% complete…


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and I make plans because?

Seriously, the first thing that happens is that I make plans. Then they fall apart. Perhaps I should be glad that my ideas lasted a whole three days.

And yes, I am still on track with Royal Gardens –

with another 1000 stitches added today. That puts me at 31%. And last night I added another 407 stitches to the Dark Goddess Frame, With more than three/twelve frames complete – I am fine with this waiting till the first of next month.

And then an email dropped in my box with the link to part 1 of Snarky & Modern’s Gothic Valentine SAL. Huh? Oh, yes, I signed up for it part way through their Hanukkah SAL. Six parts finishing ~ 7 Feb.  Total size? 68×57. This is not exactly huge. There are a total of four colors…. Can I manage ~ 200 stitches once a week? Probably. In any case, I added it to the list with the caveat that if I get behind because I am bored with it – I will just toss it. Grabbing a piece of nothing 14 ct pink DMC (what? I want to be able see it when it is done and there is B5200 involved – I pulled out 815 and managed the 178 stitches.

yes, it is most of a heart. Surprise, Surprise…

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New Year, New start(s)

Ok, this is now truly 2023 and I am not making any resolutions. Perhaps determined not to increase the WIP pile without finishing out projects from the last couple of years but it seems more than silly to make resolutions that are only going to stress me.

I had actually pulled out a binder, document protectors, and had planned on running off face sheets on some of the PDF patterns that I would like to stitch this year. I then spent a couple of hours fighting with the printer. I think it might have won because I still have two sheets that absolutely do not want to print. There are a couple of Mystery Stitch-a-longs on my list, two must stitch for birthday presents (need to be done and FFO’d by March), and then a number of random patterns which appeal. 

Left over from 2021 – four SALS which are all 60-80% complete. Four projects were ditched. And three regular projects. From 2022 – I have the 11/12 Zodiac Girls which just need beads and backstitching with the 12th yet to stitch.  The Spangler StoryKeep  is at about 50%. I ditched two mystery SALs. Fish ‘n Ships from LongDog is a bit over 50%. 

So I guess my plan is 23 in 2023 and will pull in whatever else I can find for old projects as I finish up 2021&2022. Adopting Gable Stitcher’s terminology – anything more than 10 years old is a legacy project. I really need to make decisions on them (I think there is one from 1986, one from 1994, and a couple from ~ 2013 which I am firmly placing in this bin) but there is really no hurry. Compared to the amount of supplies on hand – these take up absolutely no significant space or worry.

So – New Year, New Start(s)

  • Fox & Rabbit’s 2023 Mystery SAL called Royal Gardens. The pattern is free this year only. So download it if you think you might want to stitch it at some point in the future. I am using Silks4U I think it is PR164 but anyway it is green The fabric is 18 ct Fiddler’s Cloth. Part 1 is 9277 stitches (ugh). The pattern works just fine in PatternKeeper. Otherwise there is no way I would tackle this.  My plan is about 900 stitches/day till Part 1/12 is done.  This is ~ 1900 stitches in…


  • Dark Goddess by WitchesGarden (pattern here on GumRoad). Since it isn’t huge like the other one – I am just using an ordinary piece of blue 14 ct Aida. The frame was released this month. Each of the next six following months will see 2/12 Goddesses released. I may not finish the frame this month (36xx stitches) but will finish enough to complete the frames for the first 2-3 goddesses. The recommendation was for dark fabric which I just can’t deal with. So I may wind up taking DMC 06 and backstitching along the columns of DMC 05 so that they stand out more

what was your start this year (if you did one)?





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The tossing of the ORTs

In every fiber craft that I can think of, there are always left over bits. In weaving it was thrums – those left over warp ends. In sewing and quilting there are scraps. In knitting/crocheting – I am not sure what those bits of left over yarn are – but I am amazed at how many patterns there are for those leftovers. And I think all of us have jars of left over buttons….

In cross stitch – the bits of left over floss ends are referred to as “ORTs” which stands for “Old Raggedy Thread.” What amazes me is how many different ways stitchers hang on to them – displaying in jars – filling glass/plastic ball ornaments. I have even seen a clear lamp base stuffed with bits of thread.

Me? If I am organized they go directly in the wastebasket, get swept up or gathered up and tossed on my rare cleaning days. So imagine my surprise when I discovered I had a coffee cup next to my living room stitching chair with the remains of several projects…

So I dumped it out. 

Looking at the combination of fibers – I really think that these are the left overs from any stitching I did on my floor stand in the living room. Starting in 2020 with Farewell to Anger and progressing to a few other projects, the last of which was the Tiny Modernist – Zodiac series of 2021 which I finished on time except for the frame which dragged through the past year and wax completed on the 31st.

The only possible place for these ORTs?

and I felt like I was tossing a bit of the Pandemic at the same time… New Year, new start?

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