March WIPocalypse … a teensy bit late …

Since I last posted there were substantial changes to Dad’s status, and over the Easter weekend I returned home and back to work once again.  Dad was still struggling to eat in the hospital, and really wasn’t improving greatly, and since he had proven himself a little bit with a 6-hour home visit they opted to let him come home.  His surgery wound is still not healed properly so he has a District Nurse that visits every couple of days – he is managing to empty and change his bag himself, though.  He is still very weak and has dizzy spells when he stands up, so he has to go back to his GP tomorrow – he’s still not eating well, but starting to walk up the driveway a bit each day to build up his strength and get him walking again.  The Hospital provided him with a walker that he will now keep permanently, which is great – I could go on and on about what they did well, and in particular what they did poorly – I had my say to the staff at our family meeting before bringing Dad home and told them where I felt quite disappointed … but I won’t get started on that right now, or I’ll never shut up!  Let’s just say we’re still continuing to have a couple of unresolved issues and discrepancies, even after he’s come home … not helped by the fact he was let home a week earlier than planned …

As for me, when I got home I switched on my beautiful Samsung TV only to find smoke billowing out the top … which is out of warranty now … and then when I went to start my car the next day my battery has died, along with my car registration and insurance!!  So today I finally managed to get a new battery installed, then a Pink Slip (warrant of fitness), Green Slip (CTP/Compulsory Third Party insurance), Car Registration and comprehensive car insurance … a lovely total of $1,600 out of the bank account today, which means I’ll be living on whatever is in the pantry and freezer for the next fortnight until pay-day !  It’s not the first time, and it sure as hell won’t be the last, I’m sure.  I’m very very happy, though, that my car is now drivable and registered so that’s one HUGE relief and big stress removed from my shoulders!

Since I’ve been home I haven’t managed to do any stitching whatsoever – after working each day I’ve been really exhausted, so I’m hoping that next week I’ll be ‘back to normal’ again and can get back properly into a routine.  In the meantime, though, I can share the tiny bit of stitching that I have done since the last WIPocalypse update in February – starting with the final Round Robin piece in our group of 4:

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Dyah’s Round Robin – Elemental Dragons by Dragon Dreams

Then I made a very small start on Little Blue Potting Shed by Brown House Studio.  This is a chart that was gifted to me by Barbara years ago, and I’ve finally managed to get around to stitching it.  This was on my list of 2013 Crazy January Challenge pieces, and I fell in love with it years ago when I saw part of the design stitched over-one for an exchange gift.  How can I NOT love it when it’s stitched in exquisite blue shades (well, at least the shed is anyway!).

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That’s all the ‘new’ stitching I completed since the last blog post – of course I had also completed some other stitching efforts, which were shown in my previous blog post, but which I’ll post again here for the purposes of this little WIPocalypse update for the month …

And now I think it’s time to actually drag out that stitching for a short while … it might just help to restore that sense of peace once more, and make better use of my time while I catch up on more recorded TV …

Update on Dad and a bit of stitching

It’s been a while since I posted – I’ve been putting daily updates on Dad on Facebook, but once again keep forgetting that my blog exists … since this is supposed to be a stitching blog, though, I’ll show that first and then if you want to keep reading I’ll add an update on Dad afterwards 🙂

While I’ve been home I’ve managed to get a bit more stitching done (more than I usually do at home, as it’s been more as a stress relief than anything else really!) – partly on my own pieces, but also the Round Robin pieces that have been due … our Round Robin started up on 1 February, just before Dad got taken in for his surgery!  The girls have been great, and they’ve sent the last two pieces to me together in NZ, so I’ve had the opportunity to continue stitching over here … mind you, thank goodness I taught Mum to XS on her 70th birthday, as she had the full set of DMC at home – if she wasn’t a stitcher, I’d have been truly stuck!!  So here are the Round Robin pieces to date:

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Ann’s RR … I stitched the top right section (round 2 completed)

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Kate’s RR … still working on this one, but just have the gold braid backstitch left to do (round 3 WIP)

The next piece is one of my 2013 Crazy January Challenge projects and is for me … she is my favourite pixie of all time from Nora Corbett (Bluebell Pixie), and it’s awesome to finally see her start to come to life on fabric after lusting after her for so long!  Sadly, though, I hadn’t realised that the spool of Kreinik 1432 I had was only a part one, so I’ve come to a halt stitching on her until I can get home again and check my stash for another spool or order another one to be posted over to me.  I’ve also decided that I’m going to leave off the beads and the Waterlilies silk thread until I get her home anyway, just in case she has a bad trip home and needs to be washed and ironed.  So sad that I can’t keep working on her, but this is how she will just have to stay until I eventually get home again 🙂  I’ll add all the fabric details etc when I finally get her finished.

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As for other stitching, I just need to finish off the gold braid backstitching on the current RR piece, then I have the final one to be started immediately afterwards.  That one should be a relatively quick stitch, as it’s quite blocky, and it’s in my favourite colour … b l u e … so I’m going to enjoy stitching that one immensely!! 😀

Once that’s done, though, Dad had better be ready to come home again, because I only have one XS project left at home to start working on (although a medium size so it would last me a while) … my laptop died a few weeks ago and is currently in the repair shop (of which I’m about to send a complaint letter to the branch manager …), and it contains all of my freebie charts etc which was my back-up stitching library if I ran out of stitching!

Update on Dad:

It’s been a long road for Dad the last few weeks – he gradually became more lucid, and is now mentally alert once again (almost back to normal once more in that way).  For a few he was having lots of problems with his ileostomy bag and having to have it replaced a few times a day – that was causing his skin to become red raw, not just around the stoma site, but pretty much all down his abdomen and top of his thigh … he was screaming out in agony and crying his eyes out and begging for his life to be ended … it was the most heartbreaking thing to watch.  Mum had to leave the room, and I have to admit to barely keeping it together watching him suffering so much.  Thankfully, though, they have eventually found a bag that seems to be staying in place and not leaking, and the last week he has been much more stable, and with that a lot happier within himself.  He’s been through so much over the last 6 weeks (I can’t believe he’s been in there for so long!!), I just don’t know how he’s managed to pull himself through!!

Anyway, about a week ago now he was moved to a new ward, to the Assessment Therapy and Rehab ward for Older People – they’re still struggling with him to get him eating, but we’ve now been asked if we can bring in food from home so he’s at least getting some sort of nutrients into him.  He’s a really plain eater and fussy as all hell as to what he will eat, so he lifts the lid of the hospital plate, takes one look, and puts the lid back down again.  I remember as a teenager making Spaghetti Bolognaise at home and asking if he wanted some (Mum and I eat pretty much everything), and his response was “I’m not eating that, it’s foreign muck!” … yep, that’s my Dad! LOL.  Mum took him some sausage rolls in for his dinner last night as requested, but got upset that the Dr said he shouldn’t eat the tomato that came with it due to the skin … poor guy, that’s one thing he said to me the day before his first operation, that he couldn’t wait until afterwards when he can eat tomatoes and baked beans again, ‘cos he’d been on a strict diet for the previous 2 months … and the poor guy still can’t eat them 😦

Other than that, though, he’s finally on the road to recovery – we spoke to his Dr on Monday afternoon, and I got the OK to take Dad out in a wheelchair … in fact she was so keen for us to do it she went and got a wheelchair for us there and then!  It was quite a momentous occasion for us, we took him down to the hospital cafe on the ground floor and got ourselves a coffee then sat outside in the fresh air and drank it – it was the first time Dad had breathed in fresh air and been outside for 5 1/2 weeks … I think that really lifted his spirits astronomically 🙂  He also got the go-ahead yesterday morning by the Dr that he can use his walker to go to the bathroom etc without having to call for a Nurse, so now he thinks he’s Superman!  He wanted to go down to the hospital cafe on the ground floor on his walker, but I refused to take him unless we could take a wheelchair with us as a back-up … he got a bit cantankerous then, but I stood my ground, and he eventually backed down and said he could be taken in the chair, and he wouldn’t bother with the walker.  On Monday the Dr had stressed that his body was exceptionally weak, and that his Rehab stay was longer than normal because of that – his body gets tired really quickly, even though the mind is extremely willing his body isn’t quite up to it yet.  Hopefully it won’t be long, though, before he can get out and about more himself.

So after all this length of time, and almost 6 weeks of daily visits, it means we can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel, where the light is his discharge papers and the ability to come home.  We now have to have home assessments done and see whether hand-rails etc have to be installed for him … but at least we’re starting to have some concrete plan of action to get him up and home again! 😀

 

WIPocalypse update

Sadly this year to date I haven’t managed to put a single stitch into any old WIPs, but I have managed to get a little bit of stitching done on two projects that were originally on my Crazy January Challenge list … first up I managed to finish the stitching on Shepherd’s Bush Spooky Fob:

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Then I managed to start and finish my choice for an Aussie-based Round Robin group – I decided to stitch an old freebie by Passione Ricamo:

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Lucky last I used up the rest of the rotation slot from stitching Spooky fob by starting the Shepherd’s Bush Little Witch:

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Work is mental busy, so I haven’t had much stitching energy this month – although last weekend I had a stitching marathon for 2 solid days, when I managed to stitch my RR piece.  Next week I’ll be flying home to be support for Mum and Dad after Dad has surgery – I’ll be working over there, so probably won’t have much down time either, and not much time for stitching … I’ll still be packing a few projects, though, just in case … I fully intend heading home with a much better prepared suitcase than I did last time!  And on that note I’d better hit the hay for the night, as I need to spend the day in the office tomorrow catching up on work before I fly out …

Stash galore – and a new start

Over the Christmas period while I was at my parents’ place Mum and I went a little crazy with some major sales (ie 40% or more off) happening.  In some ways you could say this was my Mum’s Christmas gift to me, as she gifted me with a “Visa card repayment” which meant I had some additional play money while I was there.  I hadn’t realised really just how much I’d ordered until it all started turning up last week! LOL.  There is still one parcel yet to see, as I sent it to Mum’s address, thinking I was staying there for Dad’s surgery – so I’ll have an extra little treat waiting for me when I return (assuming Mum hasn’t put it somewhere “safe” never to be seen again LOL).  Anyway, without further ado here is the MASSIVE pile of stash that arrived, which also managed to clear off a number of items that have been on my wishlist for years!

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As for stitching, my needle has been very scarce these days – I did have a sudden urge to stitch a few nights ago and opted for the first thing I could find that was already kitted up, was relatively small, and basically could be ready to stitch at a few moments notice (considering I made my “let’s stitch” decision at 9pm at night!!) … I ended up choosing one of the Shepherd’s Bush scissor fobs from my original Crazy January Challenge list.  I still haven’t finished it yet, but I was very good and marked up my rotation spreadsheet to make sure I’m still allocating the right times to each slot.  The front is completely finished, and I just have to complete the back and it’s done 🙂

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Next up, though, is to start (and hopefully finish) my Round Robin piece – which are the Seasonal Topiaries by Passione Ricamo.  This was originally published as a set of freebies on the internet, but I think they’ve been long since taken down, and the design has since been published in a magazine.  I’ve decided to stitch mine on a piece of hand-dyed Pipi Belfast by Countrystitch … and seeing as it’s due to be posted out on 1 February, you know what I’ll be doing the entire long weekend this weekend (thank heavens for that extra day so my goal feels slightly more achievable!).

And on that note, I’ve ironed my piece of fabric tonight ready to start, so I think I’d better so drag the tub of DMC out and start finding the colours I need.  Mind you, in actual fact it doesn’t really matter if I don’t 100% finish my section, as long as I complete all the border pieces … “she’ll be right”!  This is a link of what my round robin will look like – and I love the added verse at the top of the sampler so much that I’ve ‘stolen’ the idea and will be doing the same thing with mine too … the only difference is that I’m moving the Winter tree to be on the left to make the sampler a teeny bit more balanced 🙂

Ackworth Friendship Books

I just realised that I haven’t shown a photo of the final round of our Ackworth Friendship Book/Quaker Friendship Round Robin.  Here are the final photos of both Katrina’s and my pieces – I think they look really lovely 😀

Anne's Finished Quaker Round Robin
Anne’s (my) Round Robin
“Ackworth Friendship Book” by With My Needle 
Stitched on 35ct Lambswool linen by Wichelt
with Carrie’s Creation thread “Twinkle”

Katrina's Finished Round Robin
Katrina’s Round Robin

One thing that Katrina asked is for us all to provide a quote or two about Friendship – and I thought I’d share my choices here:

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go.  Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts.  And we are never, ever the same.” – Anonymous

“What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.” – Aristotle

“Friendship is the golden thread that ties the heart of all the world.” – John Evelyn

As for me, for the first time yesterday in two whole weeks I felt closer to being back to normal healthwise, and even managed to get a fair bit of housework done during the day.  I’ve continued to potter around today to try to get the lounge back to normal, so hopefully tomorrow I will just have to run around with the vacuum cleaner and mop, and finishing cleaning the bathroom.  Then Monday it’s back to work – and unfortunately, being a week behind now, I will probably end up working late most nights – gotta love deadlines!

As you may have worked out by now, I opted for Mum not to come over – my first reaction to Mum’s suggestion was that I was worried she would catch this dratted flu bug, and comments received confirmed that that was the right decision to make.  As much as I would have loved to have been pampered for a couple of days, I’m really not much company when I’m sick and prefer to be away from people, so it seemed a lot of money to spend for a couple of days being housemaid!

Anyway, time to walk away from the computer again and get a few more things tidied away while my washing is in the machine – I may even bake a batch of muffins tomorrow ready to start eating healthily next week!  Hopefully next time I post I’ll have enough progress in my Just Nan piece to warrant a photo 🙂

Final round of Quaker Round Robin

Today saw me glued to the TV set just for a change – I’ve been stitching pretty much every hour of the day since yesterday afternoon inbetween looking up at seasons 6 and 7 of Buffy … I haven’t wept so much over a damned TV show in a long, long time, but I’ve been totally sucked into the characters (in particular Spike), and the last few days has been an emotional rollercoaster watching those DVD’s. In some ways I’m glad I haven’t seen any of the series before, as it’s been a real treasure watching one season after another, without worrying about viewing schedules or adverts! And it’s been super-conducive to my stitching, that’s for sure, particularly during my recuperation 🙂

And here’s the final piece of stitching that I’ll probably get done for a day or three – here’s the final round of our Friendship Quaker Round Robin, belonging to Katrina. I’m quite surprised at the colour of Milady’s Teal, as its a lot more grey than I would have imagined – but it looks really quite classy stitched up 🙂

Katrina's Quaker RR part 1

Katrina's Quaker RR part 2

Of course I now have to start putting all my pieces together now, but I think a trip to the fabric/ribbon store will be needed before I can start getting to work.

Before I started stitching this morning I finally got around to trying to tea-dye some linen fabric – this wee piece is for Just Nan’s Winter in the Square. The original linen (the same as I used for Autumn in the Square) was too pale, I felt, to really show up the white floss, so I opted to tea-dye it slightly. I didn’t want a particularly splotchy look, so I tried to move the fabric around a reasonable amount in the saucepan while it was stewing – the only sign of the original fabric is the odd splotch or two on the bottom edge, which is great as it’ll be hidden by the frame eventually. So that means that that will probably by my next project in my “small-medium projects” rotation slot, which I still have about 7 hours left of 🙂

Tea-dyed linen

Barbara’s Round Robin to date

Unfortunately I haven’t had much stitching time over the last few weeks, so my round robin has gone into the mail for this round a few days late – but here are my finished sections for this round, along with how Barbara’s piece looks so far:

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Only one more final round to stitch, then they all return home to their owners again, and we have the task of putting them all together. I’ve really enjoyed seeing everyone’s choices of threads and linen, and they all look so very different – can’t wait to see them all finished! 😀

A Little Bit of Quaker

After finally charging my camera battery up on my point and shoot, I can show piccies of KarenV’s Quaker RR – this is round 3 of our RR, which means we’re just over the halfway mark, with just 2 more rounds left to go. Unfortunately not true to life colour, but the best I can do on a dark winter’s night with no natural lighting. I have to admit I found this a challenge trying to work out which bits classed as which bits for the designated colours, and it’s definitely slower to stitch this way, but it really is worth it in the end result! Karen does an awesome job of selecting colours! This is one really pretty Quaker!! 😀

(Sorry, but it’s also quite blurry … my hands obviously weren’t entirely steady at the end of the day!!)

KarenV's Quaker Part 1

KarenV's Quaker Part 2

If you want to see the other finishes for this month and previous month you can check out our blog here.

As well as taking photos of the Quaker pieces, I also snapped a couple of new photos of Chatelaine’s Stitching Leporello, which are as follows (and shows the stitching and colours much more accurately):

Chatelaine's Stitching Leporello 1

Chatelaine's Stitching Leporello 2

Chatelaine's Stitching Leporello 3

Chatelaine's Stitching Leporello 4

Chatelaine's Stitching Leporello 5a

Chatelaine's Stitching Leporello 5

As for what project I decided to pick up next, I opted to make a start on the final ‘large’ piece of the Stitching Leporello as this month’s UFO challenge … which I think means after this one there are only two medium-sized pieces left … and then I have the major challenge of finding some lining fabric and attempting to put it all together – perhaps a job I’ll save up for when the Dragon comes to visit next month, with an excuse to go fabric shopping 🙂

Following is the paltry start I managed on the final large section tonight – woohoo, hold me back! 😛

Chatelaine Stitching Leporello WIP 06Jul09

At the moment I’m struggling to make a decision on my new start project, and the choices in the pile are currently:

  • LHN – Ladybug, Ladybug
  • LHN – Travelling Stitcher
  • LHN – Home of a Needleworker 2
  • LHN – Dear Diary, Abigail Winslow (I think – don’t have it in front of my right now – the one with the lighthouse/ocean theme)
  • Sampler Cove – Quaker Huswif
  • Just Nan – Winter in the Square (just need to coffee dye the fabric first)

Ah, decisions, decisions … Mind you, at the rate I’m stitching these days, I’ll be lucky to get my Chatelaine square finished by month end, never mind anything else … I’m feeling a “stitching RDO” coming up (and definitely a stitching weekend away at the end of the month – yippee!!).

Anyway, time to hit the pillows for the night before the alarm clock screams its head off at 5.30am (yucky!!) – I’m loving my gym workouts already … perhaps next week we may even start doing some of the classes like body pump etc … 😀

Case of the Blahs

I’m just killing time for a few minutes before I head over to the local GP.  I’ve been suffering from the worst head cold I’ve had in years over the last week, which saw me staying in bed for the entire weekend.  I walked into work today, only to have my entire team tell me to go home, making me feel even worse … anyway, after an hour I’ve succumbed to the fact that I’m not welcome at work, and probably time I saw my GP for a quick check-up.  This is also the first time I’ve been online for days.

Over the weekend I did manage to get quite a lot of stitching in – both finishing up the 2nd part of Nicki’s Ackworth Friendship Book pages for our friendship RR, and getting a pretty decent chunk of stitching into Winter Queen.  By hook or by crook I’m going to have this old UFO finished by the end of May!

Here’s the final photos of Nicki’s finished piece – I tried to tweak the colouring in Photoshop Elements on the “whole fabric” photo, as the colour just doesn’t get captured at all with the camera … the colour is definitely more true to life in the 2nd photo 🙂

Nicki's Quaker RR 2

Nicki's Quaker RR

After stitching on hand-dyed 40ct linen, stitching on 32ct Belfast for Winter Queen was a breeze, and even felt like 28ct it seemed such large!  Anyway, here’s Winter Queen as I left her last, along with the progress up to last night … she doesn’t have too much more left on her to go, yippee 😀

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Winter Queen 26Apr09

Once Winter Queen is finished, I need to decide which UFO to tackle next.  After joining a local UFO XS group online, I like the idea of having one UFO in my ‘rotation’ all the time, so I can finally get some of those pieces finished up.

I did manage to find a website that offers downloads of the Supernatural episodes, so I spent most of last week’s down-time downloading all those, and that gave me something to cheer me up over the weekend – an entire day watching Supernatural Season 4 (right up to episode 17 anyway – the others aren’t ready for downloading yet … and I can’t wait!!).  It’s been years since I’ve been so batty about a TV series, but I just can’t get enough of those boys!!! 😀

Anyway, time to get my A into G and head off to the GP.  Have to admit, if it wasn’t for having a public holiday on Saturday, I wouldn’t bother wasting the GP’s time, but alas coming home from work after a public holiday means I either get a GP’s note or lose a day’s pay … you know what I obviously chose!  But it means now I can get a few more stitches into Winter Queen … and where did I put my Supernatural Season 3 DVD’s??? 😀

Why does this perfect day have to end?

What a way to spend a Sunday … this evening I managed to put the final stitches into part 3 of our Ackworth Friendship Book which is being stitched as a round robin, which means I’ve now halfway through stitching on Nicki’s piece.

Quaker Friendship RR part 3 Nicki's

That in itself is a good achievement at the end of the day, but certainly not what all the excitement is about … Oh no, no, no, it was FAR more exciting than that!!!  No, today was the day that I spent in the company of Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki and Misha Collins at the Supernatural Convention … and THAT is the reason I wish it didn’t have to end!!!  I’m still feeling a bit shell-shocked after the whole experience – in a good way! 😀

Supernatural Convention 3

I’ve got oodles of photos, but thought I’d share the experience with you with a select few … well, OK, about a dozen!! 😛

First of all, it was worth going just to get to watch about 5 of the upcoming episodes of Supernatural that haven’t been aired in Australia yet – how awesome to see them up on the huge big theatre screen above the stage!!  Apologies for most of these photos – they were taken in bad lighting from halfway back in the auditorium (although the photo of the big screen below came out suprisingly well!).

Supernatural Convention 1

Then we had chance to ask questions of Misha Collins for an hour – what a superb and fun speaker he is, and a great addition to the show.

Supernatural Convention 2

Afterwards it was time to start getting called for autograph sessions, and I took along my favourite computer wallpaper that I printed off at home, for Jensen Ackles to sign.  After just signing stock standard publicity photos he was apparently really impressed with my photo choice as he hadn’t seen it before, and had to pass it around to his offsiders before signing it … gave a great chance to have a quick chat with him {{insert heavy sigh of dreamy pleasure here}}.

Jensen autograph

After queueing up for an hour in the lunch queue, it was time to head back to the Auditorium where we signed up to buy a copy of the DVD covering the weekend’s events, and had chance to catch one final new episode of Supernatural before we were graced with the presence of Jared Padalecki … this was Katie’s chance to drool heavily, as Jared is her supreme favourite.

Jared 1

Supernatural Convention 4

Next up came my chance to drool and slobber, and I’m sure the reason I felt dehydrated coming home had nothing to do with the fact we hadn’t had a drink all day, but rather that I was sat with my mouth gaping open in awe at seeing Jensen Ackles in the flesh on stage!  {{insert another heavy sigh of dreamy delight}}  Yes, I know, I’m like a love-sick teenager, but I just can’t help myself 😉

Supernatural Convention 6

Supernatural Convention 11

Supernatural Convention 5

Jared and Jensen spoke individually on stage for 1/2 hour each, then we had the pleasure of having the two of them back on stage together, while Jared acted like a child with ADD and the two of them stuffed themselves with Fantales candies.  They did manage to field a few more questions from the audience inbetween clowning around and taking cracks at each other.

Supernatural Convention 8

Supernatural Convention 7

Supernatural Convention 12

The day finished with Misha Collins coming to join them on stage, and Jared and Jensen drew on T-shirts to auction off for charity … at $3,000 a pop I’d say the auction was a huge success, and the Starlight Foundation will be thrilled with the proceeds.

Supernatural Convention 9

Supernatural Convention 10

So, what can I say, aside from “WOW, what an awesome day!!!” – a perfect finish to my fortnight of annual leave … and I’ll definitely be having fun memories for years to come.  Now all we need now is for Channel Ten to pull their fingers out of their proverbial behinds and get Episode 9 onwards onto Australian TV – Misha Collins couldn’t believe we were only up to episode 8, to which he got a thunderous response in agreement from the audience … so, come on Channel Ten, come to the party!!!