Friday, February 29, 2008
More Nice Mail
Yesterday afternoon, my parcel from SBB with the Cats Whiskers Chair and Coffre de La Reine arrived! With the Kelmscott accessories, I love the heart-shaped thread holder and the little ruler. I ordered the Dinky-Dies silks as well, I have not stitched with these at all, and hope they are nice to use. I need to order linen from my friends Sew and So, but I am not ready to start these yet - my current plans are to finish Victoria's Quaker and get ahead with the Wiehenburg sampler, which rests at half a motif. Shameful!

I really must do some sewing up and some photographing this weekend - I have a knitted beret with rosette made of sari silk, a half-sewn-up Petit Coeur, a scarf that needs ends darned in and lace sewn on. I also have this terrible urge to knit a silk t-shirt, I must resist this for the moment.

My other hope for the weekend is that it will be warm enough to swim, the hotel swimming pool is outside and unheated. We are up to a warm 18 or 19 degrees most days now, with sun, so I may be lucky. No local would ever swim in this pool until May, but I am more hardy than they are.

Of course the other news is that we are not going live next week. No-one is surprised, Alec and I just gave deep sighs. We both have moments of feeling that we will spend the rest of our lives in this country. Roddy will throw a fit, I don't know if he is still coming next week. Once again we all rearrange our lives.
posted by Ally at 10:10 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Little Scream
Goodness, I am annoyed! We had an email saying that our immigration lawyers in the US had changed, and a new company would be taking over. Great, I thought, maybe they will be using a competent lawyer in Cyprus instead of the stupid one we have now. You may remember, this is the lady who thought that, because I was single, I wouldn't mind spending my Christmas vacation in a queue at a consulate - on the grounds that I wouldn't have anything else to do at Christmas!

Alas, no, the new US firm will be working with her. AND the old company has just been finalising its accounts with the company, so they have sent me a bill for nearly $5K US. Actually not a bill, just an invoice with a remark that it has already been charged to my credit card. In fact, it wasn't mine, it was our resource director's, as my company credit card didn't arrive until after I started here and made the work permit application, but still! $5K US for NOT getting a work permit! Scream! And I suppose whatever new company they are using will also expect me to fork out another however many thousand in due course! Double scream!

I don't think Alec, who also needs a work permit, has had his lawywr's bill yet, I expect the air to turn blue when that arrives. I wouldn't think that whatever he says will be anything that I could repeat here.

On a far more pleasant note, someone just brought me a small parcel, it was from Sew and So, with some thread I ordered last Friday, how is that for speed? Some Seaweed silk from Gloriana for the embryonic Wiehenberg, some Soie Perlee and Kreinik for the new Just Nans. To calm myself, I am stroking the Gloriana silk!
posted by Ally at 10:21 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
A Day Late

Your Birthdate: February 26

You lucked out the the skills to succeed in almost any arena.

Put you in almost any business or classroom, and you'll rise to the top.

You're driven and intense, but you also know when to kick back and cooperate.

Your ability to adapt to almost any situation is part of what's going to make you a success.

Your strength: Your attention to detail

Your weakness: You can be a little too proud of your successes

Your power color: Turquoise

Your power symbol: Arrow pointing up

Your power month: August

What Does Your Birth Date Mean?

I should have put this up yesterday, but I just did not get around to it.......... I am not really into astrology, numerology etc etc, but it's funny that in our company (the old original small family one that we all miss, not our current corporate giant), there were an extraordinary number of Pisceans, something like about 20% of the staff in Europe.

I didn't do anything special for my birthday - except work extra hard on yet another spreadsheet of complaints - but I did get phone calls from Nicky and David in the evening. And I did sleep well, so I cannot complain.
posted by Ally at 9:06 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 2 comments
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
More Zara Home
I haven't bought this one yet, I saw it in the online catalogue for Zara Home, but I think I will look for it in the store at the weekend....... it is cross-stitch, again. I can't get a bigger picture unfortunately, but, if I buy it, I will photograph it. I hope they do have it, so at least I can see it, and I hope they do have the square pillow cases, which are hard to get in Cyprus, but of course all my pillows are square, as I live in France! The upside of this is that, when they do get any square pillowcases here, they usually end up on sale, as no-one else wants them.

Last night I went home very early - 5:30 pm - and went to bed at 9pm, I was still so tired from the night before. I still had car horns echoing in my mind, after several hours of this the night before, so I was relieved to wake up this morning without those. I slept several hours, first until midnight, and then again from about 1am to 6:30am, so I am much refreshed.

PS Kathryn, is the background colour looking different from usual? I haven't changed anything lately....
posted by Ally at 11:19 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Monday, February 25, 2008
New Cross Stitch Cushion
No, I have not been so industrious as to stitch a whole cushion over the weekend! This is from Zara Home, where I paid a little visit on Saturday morning. I also bought some coasters that are made from buttons:
Zara Home is quite a good place for those who like stitching and want to decorate their homes appropriately!

Little note - isn't the hotel sofa hideous? Who would want a yellow and blue checked sofa? Is there any decor that would actually go with this? I just ignore it most of the time, at least it is relatively comfortable to sit on.

Apart from that, yesterday was the second round of the presidential elections, I thought they waited two weeks for this, like in France, but actually it was only one. Polls closed at 5pm, and around 6.30 there was a huge amount of noise, cars honking and fireworks, so I knew there had been a result already. I turned on the television and found that it was the communist candidate who had been elected, I was surprised. The noise only got worse, and it went on terribly late as well, I didn't really sleep much.

Today a lot of the people at work seem really happy about the communist president, can only hope that they don't say too much about this in front of Alec - as he was born in a communist country, and his family escaped from there when he was quite young.

posted by Ally at 9:30 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Friday, February 22, 2008
Victoria's Quaker Progress
Amazingly I have been able to do some of this this week.... despite the chaos here and my ongoing war with the expenses people. It is progressing quite quickly actually, and I hope that the weekend will see some more of it done.

Re the expenses, it is now total chaos, they have paid me apparently what they owe me (although most of this is not showing in the expenses system), plus the French office thought they hadn't, so paid it again, allegedly, and now they want a cheque from me asap. I think not, I have now said I am not dealing with this until I get an honest statement of what has been paid. No wonder I have had a headache all week, which is fairly unusual for me.

Now of course I do supposedly have some money, so I would love the spring clothes to be in thr shops! Never mind, I will spend the weekend listening to audio books and stitching - at one stage I thought I was going to be spending it debugging meter read validation, so at least my current plans are a lot more restful.
posted by Ally at 9:22 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 2 comments
Monday, February 18, 2008
Paper Whites - LHN
Sorry about the black shadow, that is me, of course. I'm not sure what I shall do with this one, maybe frame it, or turn it into a little cushion.

I also did quite a bit of Victoria's Quaker while listening to the end of "My Sister's Keeper" yesterday - the end is very sad and unexpected, I shall warn anyone who is thinking of reading this. Which I do recommend.

There is political news, as well - Cyprus will have a new President in two weeks time, as the incumbent has not made it past the first round. The man in the kiosk asked me this morning if I didn't think the most handsome had won the first round. "No comment, " I said. I'm sure all three main candidates have many good qualities, but none of them is exactly George Clooney.

On the work front, it is chaos. Leo cannot be here this week, nor can Roddy, so Alec and I are handling all the flak ourselves. I had better go and attack my list of things to do.
posted by Ally at 9:56 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Saturday Evening
It is quite late, and I am sitting here listening to "My Sister's Keeper" by Jodi Picoult - it's a very good book, I am enjoying it, and today I finished the LHN "Paper Whites" while listening to it. Photo tomorrow, when the light is better. I'm going to go back to Victoria's Quaker now.... this was a nice diversion, and I have "Ladybug, Ladybug" in Nicosia as well. Of course I ordered the Nashville LHN Limited Edition Kit.

Hopefully I will be able to pay for it, I have some money from the company, but it's only about a third of what they owe me. The expenses system seems to be very flaky, I just hope the people who look after it never get their paws on our system. We have enough problems without them! I am going to be seriously annoyed if I can't buy a few pairs of sandals as soon as the new ones come in for spring. And I am sure that there are other colleagues who are not just annoyed, but seriously financially embarrassed because they have families and committments and so on.

This week is going to be very very trying indeed, I am going to have to be chief mediator between the people who have written report programs and the people who have to do acceptance testing of them. It promises to be very noisy and take a long time, plus I do actually have quite a lot of other things to do as well. It will be just me and Alec here this week, and he has a very charged program as well, and he can only see though one eye.
posted by Ally at 9:30 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Good News!
It seems I have successfully prodded all the expenses and admin people into action, not only for me, but for everyone else as well. For me, they are making me a payment this week to cover the oldest unpaid expenses, and the Big Boss has now asked everyone to send details of their unpaid claims to his admin assistant, who is busy compiling the huge list of amounts that need to be paid right now. Of course the expenses people are preserving silence and they probably have a dartboard shaped picture of me on their wall, but this needed doing!

Apart from that what have I done this week? Well, I did the backstitching around the front piece of "Petit Coeur" and have started the backstitching around the back piece, which is difficult, because it is just a blank piece of linen with backstitching, and I have to be very careful about the counting, otherwise it will not match up when I come to assemble it.

I've also finally started the Wiehenburg Quaker Mystery, which is huge and is going to be slow going. I am doing it on 32 count lilac Belfast with Gloriana Seaweed silk, and this is already giving a good effect, I can tell from the part of the first motif I have stitched. I don't see catching up to the pages already issued (page 8 comes out tomorrow) until I go on holiday in April, but hopefully I can do so then. The design is close to 60cm x 60cm, so I am working with a piece of linen 80cm sqaure.

I've also been out to dinner twice, Wagamama and Nandos, as Roddy and Alec have been here this week, although both are going home today. Alec is coming again next week, not sure whether Leo will be as well, I think he is in Poland this week.

As usual, looking forward to the weekend, so that I can get on with a few things - it's nice not to have the responsibility of housework, supermarket shopping etc etc. All I do is my own washing and ironing, so that leaves a bit of time for other things.
posted by Ally at 10:56 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Monday, February 11, 2008
Victoria's Quaker
As you see, I have accomplished quite a bit in the last week, and I am getting used to the silks. I definitely like stitching the more "logical" motifs - the wreath, stars etc, as opposed to the lady, cute though she is. I also started LHN "Paper Whites", but no photo yet.

Saturday I went out and did some shopping, three pairs of trousers and four t-shirts at Ulla Popken for 172 euros, excellent, then a pair of sandals at Accessorize. After that I had to go home to sleep for three hours! I was very tired after all the fuss about expenses on Friday, our HR and Finance are being very difficult about this. And I see this morning they still haven't paid anything.... we are all getting very cross. Alec tells me they haven't paid his rent for five months, while Nicky hasn't even been paid his contracting fees for four months.

Sunday I stitched practically all day, knitted also, and listened to "Spider Light", by Sarah Rayne - this is very exciting, and I hope I will get to listen to the end of it this week, and not have to wait until the weekend. I rather like these audiobooks, and I am pleased I signed up, the selection is good.

Apart from that, I am waiting for Nashville Market reports with bated breath. I did pre-order a few things, of course, but there are always new and exciting pieces that are revealed there, so I am sure I shall be ordering some more..... expense payments permitting, of course.
posted by Ally at 9:28 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Friday, February 08, 2008
Woohoo! Friday!!!
I feel rather tired, and would like to escape fairly early.... but I have just acquired another problem to look at, not a very challenging one though.

I have also spat the dummy about the non-payment of expenses today, and Sylvain has discovered that the whole payments system is not working at present and no-one has been paid for anthing - not staff or suppliers. I hope they have contingency plans for payments, I said, and have not heard anything from him since. I am still photocopying the last lot, so I can mail them tomorrow morning. It is a real pain, we have to fill in the expense claim online, stick all the receipts on separate pieces of paper, label them with our employee number and the claim number, photocopy them and send the originals to our own accounts department, who scan them and send them to another country where the payments actually take place (allegedly, as I have seen no money yet). And I am close to being owed 10,000 euros now as well.

Plans for the weekend? Mmm, do some more of Victoria's Quaker - I am getting used to this silk now - but apart from that, I do not know. Some decent sleep would be nice.
posted by Ally at 1:52 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Yesterday was a good mail day as well, I got a parcel from Silver Needle, with two new Just Nans - "Memories" and "Florentine Floral", including embellishments, linen and silk threads for "Memories". "Florentine Floral" uses DMC, but it would also be nice in silk, I think, and I may have most of the colours.

Kathryn, I looked at the Michael Powell design, you're right, it's not the sort of thing I do - lovely, but it would drive me mad actually doing it, I am not really a pictorial sort. The Greek villages are a little different from ours, not so blindingly white, perhaps:

This is Omodhos, which has quite a traditional centre, with small lanes........... many of the villages now are more like suburbs, if they are close to town, and one thing I find really rather disconcerting is that a lot of new houses here look just like Australian ones. There is a good reason for this, of course, as a lot of people here have lived in Australia or have family there and have visited. But there are some villages where the traditional centre is well preserved (although there will be the obligatory six cars per family parked out of sight somewhere), mostly these are in the mountains or the interior, as the coast has been developed for tourism.

Today I don't really feel like working, it is very warm and sunny, in fact I am going to have to go and buy some lighter tops on Saturday, I think. Leo is here, making a noise as usual....

posted by Ally at 11:07 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Monday, February 04, 2008
The Photos
Here is the Tournicoton "Petit coeur" - this was very quick to stitch, and the colours are lovely, greens and mauves. It should get finished into a hanging scented cushion:

And this is my new start, "Victoria's Quaker":
I really think that Antique Ivory linen is the most wonderful shade....
Kim, thank you for the news about Toccata 4, I looked at the website and this is a must-have also, it is simply beautiful!

posted by Ally at 3:39 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Another Week
I have photos, but Blogger will not let me do anything......... I will have to try and do them later.

I have a complete "Petit Coeur", that needs to be backstitched around the edges and put together, and I have started on "Victoria's Quaker" yesterday. This is the first time I have used the Vicky Clayton silks, I bought them together with the chart from Jacky (AMAP) at a salon last year. They take a little bit of getting used to actually, and I think I would like using one strand more than two i.e. the premium grade. But for my linen, some 32 count Antique Ivory that I must have had ten years, two strands is necessary. Colours are great, however.

This morning I had very good mail, from SBB&B, including the Ehrman book on Judith Hayle samplers, the new Drawn Thread charts and some old CHS charts. So heaps to look at tonight, today I have to do more Bill Print!

The weekend was pretty lazy, actually, and I slept in the afternoons, while I had a facial on Saturday, and in my own bed on Sunday. This meant I had trouble sleeping last night of course, and I was up until 12:30am listening to an audio book - I decided to subscribe to Audible, which has a good selection. Only problem is I cannot download them from work, so have to go to Gloria Jean's and have coffee while I do this. The firewall here is extremely idiosyncratic, it won't allow even legitimate things, like fixes from our company website, to be downloaded, let alone anything else that anyone may be thiking of.
posted by Ally at 9:23 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Friday, February 01, 2008
Oh Wonderful Friday!
I am so happy that it is Friday, and I plan to escape as early as possible.... I've just been to see my clients and told them good news about two recent problems they raised. One I solved just by looking at the program and the problem leaped out at me for once, sheer good luck, the other my young friend in Singapore worked out overnight, bless him. I'm still left with a nasty bill print thingy, but I am about to start on that, and hopefully it is not as nasty as it looks.

More good news is that our Accounts people approved 3500 euros worth of my expenses claims, so I shall not be quite penniless! Took them a while, though, and I gather everyone has the same problem. It is worse for contractors, who get their actual salary via this method - Nicky didn't get paid for four months, what is he supposed to live on?

I wish my parcels from SBB and Silver Needle would arrive, I know the SBB one is on its way, and it has a lot of stuff in it. The Silver Needle is some new Just Nan stuff, and I'm not sure it has left the US yet, but it should quite soon. In lieu of these arriving, I may do a couple of little LHNs I have brought with me, and I need to start the Wiehenburg Mystery Sampler I signed up for - it is huge, and I bought an entire meter of linen, but need to cut this to size and oversew the edges.
posted by Ally at 10:32 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments