Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Week

Work has been very busy, the holidays have been busy, I've been trying to get some freelance stuff done, and shop, and wrap, and work . . . but there have been some very nice things happening, too.

Bob and I had a nice Christmas. We spent Christmas Eve at his parents' house with his family, as we always do. He was getting a cold, though, and was feeling worse and worse, so he stayed home on Christmas Day while I went out to spend the day with my family. I made Stephenson's Green Rice Casserole from an old recipe booklet that Bob's mother had given me long ago. I'd never made it, but now that Stephenson's is closed, if I'm going to have it, I'll have to make it!

It turned out fine, but I had adjusted it a little to make more, and I think it turned out a little dry. But it was still good.

Bob hadn't felt much like doing our own Christmas on Christmas Eve, but he had one gift that he wanted me to open -- a beautiful turquoise blue semi-precious stone pendant set in silver. He couldn't remember what the name of the stone was, and I don't recognize it, so one of us will have to check with the shop. It's lovely, though. He opened one gift, too -- a pair of slippers that he needed badly.

We opened the rest of our gifts on Christmas morning -- he got me underwear, a candle, a movie (Matchstick Men), a calendar and candy and an iTunes card, and I got him a calendar and a shirt and an iTunes card . . .

On Thursday evening I met Barb, Patti and Sue for dinner at Cheesburger in Paradise, which was a lot of fun. I brought home half of my meal (chicken quesadillas), which I took for lunch yesterday. Someone had come in for a meeting, and brought bagels, so I had a cranberry bagel with my tea for breakfast. David called in the morning, and my old friend Matt from Lynqs days came in, and Clark, Shane's dog, was there, and later Anna came in with Dominic. Both Clark and Dominic hung out in my office for awhile. Clark likes the carpet, and Dominic likes the whiteboard.

Then last night, Bob and I got home at the same time, and we immediately went back out to the wholesale club. I picked out a couple of pairs of lightweight flannel pajama pants and a bag of grapefruit, and Bob got a beef roast, a bag of shrimp, and a bag of potatoes, then we went over to Culver's for hamburgers. They had special cranberry milkshakes for the holidays, so I had one, and it was delicious. I love the "special" things that some places have during the holidays, like the cranberry bagels and shakes. I had driven through McDonald's a couple of weeks ago and was disappointed to find that they didn't have anything special -- they used to have peppermint shakes at Christmas, but I guess they don't do that anymore.

All in all, it was a pretty good week, and yesterday was an exceptional day. And now I have another four day weekend! Barb's going to come over during the day on New Year's Eve to exchange gifts and hopefully go out for lunch or dinner or something, and maybe go out and see Bob at the store. And now -- Saturday morning -- I need to go out and run some errands, go to the library and the grocery store, and I can't remember what else ... look at my list.

And think about some goals for 2008.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

And more weather

It's winter in Kansas, after all.

I always have good intentions about starting Christmas preparations early, and generally never get much of anything done early, but this year, I really almost totally blew everything off until this weekend. I went shopping last weekend and got some stuff, but I knew I still had this weekend, so I wasn't too worried about it.

We had our office Christmas luncheon yesterday (at Morton's in Crown Center, if you're familiar with it), which was lovely, then I went back to the office to finish up a couple of things, make sure I was in good shape to be gone for four days. Dave and Kurt came back to get their stuff before heading home, and Kurt walked out to my car with me. We were talking about our weekend plans, and he said that there was bad weather coming this weekend, that I'd better be careful, but it's so seldom that the weather people are right that I hardly ever pay attention anymore.

He said it was supposed to sleet, then snow, and he had heard predictions of anywhere from two to five inches.

Bob was going in to work at noon today, and I didn't have any intention of going out before that. I guess it started sleeting around 10:30 or so. He left shortly thereafter, going in a little bit early, and I messed around on the computer for awhile, then went upstairs to get dressed sometime around noon. I went to Kohl's, and Target, and Wal Mart (Wal Mart only because Bob had asked me to get something from there, but I ended up wandering around and buying paper products and bubble bath, too). As the day went on, the streets got slicker, but it never really snowed, just spit sleet all day, little sharp pieces of ice hitting the windshield. I scraped the windows two or three times after the car had been sitting in the parking lot.

Around 4:00 or so, I was tired, and decided to come home. I need to regroup, figure out what I have, and what I need, and as long as we don't get a snowstorm tonight, I'll go back out tomorrow. I came home, ate a bagel with cream cheese, took a hot bath to warm up, and am in for the night. Bob won't be home until around 11:00, probably; last night he went out for a beer after work with a friend, and got home at 1:00, after I'd been asleep for about three hours. He said he's coming right home tonight, because he has to go in early.

He was off on Wednesday, and he got the Christmas tree, and he put lights on it; we'll decorate it tomorrow night, I think, because he's going in to work at 9:00 a.m. and will get home around 6:00, hopefully. We always have a little "feast" the night we decorate the tree--usually fondue, but he's getting a cold and said that probably wasn't the best thing for him to eat. So he asked me to make chili. We'll have chili and play Christmas music or watch a Christmas movie or something--surely something good will be on on Sunday night before Christmas, then I'll probably wrap presents. "Home Alone" is on right now in the background, one of my favorites.

My UPS keeps beeping and telling me that I'm running on battery power, and should save everything and shut down. I get that little surprising spurt of adrenaline, and save everything, then everything seems to be okay for another ten or fifteen minutes. I suppose we're getting little power surges or something; hopefully we won't lose power tonight. But I guess I'd better save everything and shut down just in case.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007


The ice turned out to be nothing, at least here. I know they had terrible ice storms all over the Midwest, and a few people here lost power briefly, but the huge ice storm that all the weather people were warning us about never happened. In fact, it's been pretty mild ever since then, too. We got some snow last weekend, and it as a little slick, but nothing major. Hopefully we'll continue to be lucky in that regard.

I'd been going back and forth over whether to send the guys at work a link to my Etsy shop; something at our weekly staff meeting prompted me to, though. I can't remember what, although maybe it was just talking about what I did over the weekend. A couple of people bought things, six pieces all told. Not a lot, but that's okay. I was just kind of glad to have people see what I do.

Last night I was making a few pairs of earrings to supplement my inventory, and I was thinking about how some of the larger employers around town occasionally bring in vendors who set up in the lobby for a few hours so employees can "shop" on their lunch hours. It's too late for me for that now, but I think I'll look into it after the first of the year. I don't know exactly what's involved, but it might be worthwhile.

Up 'til now I've mostly been making the earrings one pair at a time, but last weekend I started making two at a time, so when someone buys something, if I have another one, I can immediately relist it. Of course, everything is dependent on having the raw materials at hand, but even with the things that are readily available, I don't think I want to make the same things over and over forever.

I kind of like having most of my stuff be either one-of-a-kind or a somewhat "limited edition." All of the ones with stones are individual, anyway, since none of the stones looks exactly alike.

I also have to figure out at what point I can start thinking of my business in terms of ordering wholesale. Right now I don't think I can justify it, but I placed a couple of large orders over the weekend for earwires, or what I thought were large orders--I used up most of them this week. But anyway, if the ones I made don't sell, I can always take them apart and make something else. The only thing that would be sacrificed would be the headpins. Plain ones are cheap, so they're no real loss, but I've been using more expensive, fancy Bali ones lately.

I guess I'll figure it all out eventually. It all seems to be working out pretty well lately, anyway.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Even though Kansas is in a State of Emergency, we're fine here.

Right now, the temperature isn't low enough for the rain to freeze on the streets, but that's not to say that it won't drop later. Right now it's just rain.

With all the dire predictions yesterday -- and obviously a lot of other parts of the Midwest got it much worse than we did -- around 4:00 I started thinking about what things I could take home in case I couldn't get to work today. Bob got off at 5:00 and called and asked when I was leaving work, and I said I would leave soon, but I needed to finish up a few things.

He called again a little before 6:00 and said, "You've got to get out of there! The storm is 15 minutes from Olathe!" I expected him to say, "We're all gonna DIIIIIIIIIIE!"

But he didn't. I shut the computer down, poured out the last of my glass of water, got my coat, went out and told Jeff that Bob said we needed to leave NOW, and started turning off lights. Bob called again about five minutes later, and I opened up the phone and said, "I'm turning off the lights!"

I do appreciate him looking after me, though, of course. Jeff and I left (and I was glad to have him with me), and I called Bob from the car to tell him I was on the way home. It wasn't bad, neither the weather nor the traffic. It was a little bit slow, but not bad at all, really.

Bob was worried about the trees, worried about branches breaking and hitting the house, which I hadn't even thought of, so of course I started worrying about that, too. He reminded me of the last ice storm we had, when the wind was high and branches kept hitting the windows, and he made me sleep in the basement in case one came through the bedroom window.

I woke up several times in the night, and it seemed to pretty much rain all night.l This morning, there was nice on the trees, but I think the ground must have been too warm for it to really form on the streets. The parking lot at work was slick, but the roads were fine. I'm not sure what's going to happen tonight. If the temperature drops a lot we could definitely have an ice rink to drive on, but for now, it seems like we may have lucked out.

Bob said he turned the heat way up last night to get the house warm in case we lost power, I guess thinking that it would stay warmer longer. I wouldn't have thought of that, I thought that was a really good idea. People at work said they lost power briefly overnight, but that it came back on. I don't think we ever lost it. Hopefully we won't.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

The traditional side

For the last few days Bob's been asking me to make him a Christmas CD, and I finally sat down last night (very late last night) to finish it up for him. He said he wanted some traditional songs, and "some of your weird ones." I worked hard to get that balance right. Here's his playlist:

  1. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - The Barenaked Ladies
  2. Deck the Halls - Mannheim Steamroller
  3. Jingle Bells - Earl Scruggs
  4. Anno Domine - Trans Siberian Orchestra
  5. Christmas Must be Tonight - The Band
  6. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - Mannheim Steamroller
  7. Driving Home for Christmas - Chris Rea
  8. Better Days (Acoustic Version) - Goo Goo Dolls
  9. The Virgin Mary - Mason Williams
  10. That Old Christmas Moon - Leon Redbone
  11. We Three Kings - The Roches
  12. A Song of Christmas - Lowen & Navarro
  13. Christmas Bayou - BeauSoleil
  14. Winter Wonderland - Lenny B & Madison Park
  15. I'll Be Home for Christmas - Leon Redbone
  16. Christmas All Over Again - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  17. Little Saint Nick - The Beach Boys
  18. Here We Come Wassailing - Fred Waring & The Pennsylvanians
  19. Christmas Time - Smashing Pumpkins
  20. Oh Tannenbaum - Vince Guaraldi

I'm still working on one for me, leaning very heavily toward the "weird" side.

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Christmas stuff

I got several jewelry orders this weekend, and I've been beefing up my inventory, so I went to Joann today for some retail therapy. They didn't have the earwires that I wanted--I ended up ordering them online tonight--but I bought a bunch of fancy headpins and some plain sterling earwires. I also bought Christmas-themed tissue paper for packing orders.

Then I went to Target and bought Christmas cards. I send quite a few Christmas cards, so yesterday I went by Half Price Books to see if they had any I liked. They had a few cute ones, but nothing that I really loved. I found some cute ones at Target, though, so I can cross that off my list. If you want to get on my Christmas card list, just send me one!

My mailing address is:

P.O. Box 27266
Overland Park, KS 66225-7266 U.S.A.

When I was at Joann, I bought a really cute little tabletop artificial tree, with a painted tin bucket to sit it in. I thought it would like nice on the dining room table (assuming I ever get the jewelry making supplies and wrapping paper off of it . . .), but Dinah wouldn't leave it alone. She got up on the table and started chewing on it, and when she wouldn't stay away from it after I yelled at her, I set it over on top of the server, and she got up there to chew on it. I figured short of putting it on top of the refrigerator, I wouldn't be able to keep it away from her, so I brought it in to work. Which is fine, but I already had a tree here. Oh well, can't have too many, that's what I say!

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Saturday, December 01, 2007


When I got home the other night there was an Amazon box waiting for me. I knew I hadn't ordered anything (well, I had, but I knew it was too early for that order to be arriving), so I figured it must be a gift. It was -- Joanna had sent me a copy of Junior, the Arnold Schwarzenegger/Danny DeVito movie about a scientist (Schwarzenegger) who tests a fertility drug and gets pregnant.

In the enclosed note, Joanna said that she had gotten it for me because it had been on my wish list for four years!

I wrote to her this morning and said that there was a story attached to that, and that I would tell it today.

Actually, the story was from back in 2000! Bob and I were in Sarasota on vacation and had an interesting last evening before heading home:

Bob called sometime after 4:00 and said he was finished, and I asked him if he'd had a snack in the bar as he'd planned, and he said that the kitchen at the country club was closed--they were having a party that night and they were getting ready for that. He was starving. So I went out to pick him up, and he said we should head directly for the restaurant. We had planned to have dinner again at Phillippi Creek.

I wasn't hungry at all, though, since I'd had such a late lunch assuming he would have something in the late afternoon, too, so we decided we'd go back to the hotel and have drinks at the tiki bar (we were becoming quite the regulars, obviously), and he could have something there, then we'd go out for a late dinner.

While we drove over the drawbridge to get to the hotel earlier, we had noticed a bunch of boats sitting in the bay--our hotel was on a key and was only reachable by the bridge. When Bob went up to the bar to get cigarettes, the bartender told him there was going to be a boat parade that night, and that the bridge would be up until it was finished. I thought, well, it was probably better to be stuck on this side rather than be outside and not be able to get back to the hotel, so we still thought we'd just wait and go out later, and we went back to the room.

We napped for an hour or so, then watched the "Parade of Boats" on local television--yachts and boats from miles around, strung with Christmas lights, parading through the bay. Not terribly compelling on television, though. It seemed to go on forever, and it must have been close to 9:30 before it was over. I still had to pack, and by that time I didn't have much interest in going out.

Bob had to get gas, and he said he'd get something for us to eat while he was out, and I'd stay and pack. It was actually kind of nice. I watched "Junior," which I'd never seen--a movie in which Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a scientist who experiments on himself and gets pregnant. Pretty stupid, really, but I enjoyed it. Bob came back with a grocery sack--sometime after he left he realized he only had $12 cash, and he ended up buying deli sandwiches and a bag of potato chips at the grocery store.

So our last night was a picnic in the hotel room--a turkey sandwich and a carton of orange juice for me. It wasn't bad at all, really. It was kind of fun. Just not what we would have done had we had a choice.

It's funny how sometimes things that don't seem particularly memorable at the time are the things that you remember most of all. I had a really nice, quiet time packing that night in the hotel, watching the movie, and then later, sitting on the beds and sharing a grocery store sandwich with Bob while we watched the ending. But yet, it seemed silly to buy the movie, even though it wasn't very expensive. It was just hard to justify. I'm weird about things like that sometimes. Sometimes I don't have any trouble buying something expensive, but other times, something inexpensive will cause me to really stop and think.

Anyway, I have it now! And tonight, while Bob's at work, I can watch it, and knit or make jewelry or something. Thanks, Joanna!

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Friday, November 30, 2007


Shiny new driveway:

Since I haven't been able to drive on the driveway to get into the garage, I've been parking in the street. I've had to scrape the windows most mornings, but yesterday there was just a fine pattern of frost rather than a more solid covering.

Beautiful! Looks vaguely like a flock of birds.

I made about a dozen pairs of earrings night before last, photographed them yesterday morning, and put them up in the shop last night. I really like the look of this batch. They're all kind of muted colors--turquoise and browns, mostly--accented with antiqued silver. More treasures from the attic . . .

If you want to buy something, but don't see exactly what you want, let me know what you're looking for and if at all possible, I'll make something especially for you.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

New driveway

I was sitting at the computer eating a bagel this morning at about 7:30 when the doorbell rang. I answered it, bagel in hand, and it was the contractor that we had hired to replace the driveway. We had known that he was going to start today, but he hadn't mentioned a time, and frankly, I hadn't expected him so early. He said that he was there, ready to start, and asked me if I needed to get my car out of the garage.

So I finished my bagel and went out in my robe and slippers to move the car.

When I left a little later, this is what the driveway looked like.

I talked to Bob around mid-day, and he said that they had hauled off all of the broken concrete. I'm not sure whether they'll pour the new driveway today or not, or what all they have to do to get it ready.

Kinda interesting, and very expensive.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Birthday week

It was a pretty good week, all things considered. I definitely got some things accomplished, and got some good relaxation in.

On Monday I worked, finishing up some freelance projects and some of my own projects, on Tuesday I cleaned the house, Wednesday I got my driver's license renewed. On Thursday, Thanksgiving, I went out and had lunch with my parents. We did have turkey tv dinners, which was absolutely fine.

It was just me and my folks--my brother had Thanksgiving with his family, my sister who lives here, and her daughter, had dinner with her other daughter and her husband, and I don't know what my sister who lives in Denver did, I forgot to ask, but I imagine they had dinner with her in-laws.

My folks gave me an old salt-and-pepper shaker set for my collection, and some cash, and Bob's parents sent me a beautiful card with some cash, and Bob gave me some, too -- his came with the instruction to put it in my account in Second Life so I wouldn't feel like I was using our money for that, which I thought was sweet. And he came home last night with a card and one red rose. Romantic!

Barb sent me a DVD and CD and a Christmas ornament, and David sent me an Amazon gift certificate, which I redeemed on my birthday, so I'll have another birthday package coming next week.

On Friday . . . oh yeah, raked leaves. And worked some more on computer stuff. Yesterday, my birthday, I slept, and took myself out for a late lunch at Chipotle, and that was about it. I decided since it was my birthday, I didn't have to rake leaves, but today I did. I finished, finally, and came in and took a nap. For a small yard, we have a LOT of leaves.

I actually didn't get all that much sleep in, really. I stayed up pretty late several nights this week -- Sunday until 3:30! But Bob got up every morning to go to work, and I got up with him and made coffee and saw him off, and I don't think I went back to bed any of those days. It was tempting, though, when I'd go back upstairs and see this.

It was a pretty solitary week. Bob was off on Monday, then worked every day the rest of the week, including Thanksgiving. On Friday and Saturday he worked 'til 10:30. So I didn't see him much. Fortunately I'm pretty self-entertaining and have a fairly easy time finding things to occupy myself with.

Tomorrow, it's back to work. I guess that means I don't get to stay up until dawn . . .

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Turkey TV Dinners

My birthday is Saturday, and in Kansas, driver's licenses expire on your birthday, and this was my year. That was one of the reasons that I took this week off. But Monday I didn't leave the house--I worked on the computer--and Tuesday I cleaned house, so I had to go today. And of course, today was the day that it snowed.

Not a lot of snow, of course, just enough to make it cold and miserable and wet. And on top of that, I had to stand in line at the driver's license office for over an hour. I'm not sure why it was so crowded; maybe it's that crowded all the time. I had originally thought, well, if it's too crowded I'll just go on Friday, but while I was there I saw that they were closed on Friday, so I'm glad I didn't decide on that plan.

It wasn't too bad, though. I took out my Palm and read the December issue of Asimov's, which had a new Connie Willis Christmas story in it, All Seated On the Ground, so I was content. It would have been nice if they'd handed out numbers or something, so we didn't have to actually stand for all that time, but oh well.

Yesterday after I cleaned the house I went down in the basement and brought up the wreaths--one for the front porch and one that hangs on the downstairs bathroom door, and I put up the Christmas card holder, ready for cards; which reminds me, I need to buy some cards . . . I guess I'm ready for the Christmas season. I've decided to try to make jewelry for all of my female relatives and friends, so I need to get started on that, I guess.

Bob has to work tomorrow--Christmas Day is the only day of the year that Bass Pro is closed--and I was just going to stay home. My folks' decided they didn't want to do a big Thanksgiving dinner, and I don't blame them. They said they were just going to have a turkey TV dinner. I'm not sure if that was true or not, but I thought that would be fine, although I did feel sort of sad about it. Then Mom called yesterday and asked what we were doing, and when I told her Bob was working, she said why didn't I come out and have a turkey TV dinner with them. So it will be a small little celebration.

We do have a turkey, I got a certificate for a free one from a client at work. So Bob bought one, and he's going to cook it tonight. It's huge, over twenty pounds, so maybe I can take some turkey out to my folks to supplement the TV dinners . . .

I redesigned the Phantom Stallion site over the past couple of months, and it just went live tonight:

It was a lot of work, but I think it turned out pretty well.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

A different breed

Bob got exactly one hour of sleep last night.

It was one of his late nights at the store. He worked 'til 10:30, which means he get home about 11:00, and he was going hunting with his brother this morning. So he got home at 11:00, ate a ham sandwich, laid out his clothes, set the coffee pot on automatic, and got his guns and things together. I made a lunch for them--bologna sandwiches, chips, and cookies--and packed it in a cooler, which he put by the back door.

By this time it was about 11:45, I guess. We went up to bed, and he set his alarm for 12:45. He had to get up, get dressed, fill the thermos, and drive to his brother's house, about a half hour away. Then they had to drive two hours to get to wherever they were hunting. I don't totally understand what they were doing, but they were getting the handicapped blind, and they had to be there at 4:00 a.m. or lose it, I think.

Frankly, I can't imagine doing that, but hunters are a different breed, I think. And I'm sure, even if he wasn't keen on going, he didn't want to disappoint Mark. I would hope that he slept in the car (he said that Mark was driving), but I doubt that he did. Hopefully he'll be able to get home before passing out.

We have a very generous time off policy at work. We get twenty days to use for sick leave, vacation, personal days--it's all available for whatever we need. I don't think I've ever used all of it, except the year I had surgery. I've got about a week and a half left this year. It's just hard to take it, or at least, it is for me.

When I worked in the corporate world, I'd take every last hour that I was due, and always knew exactly how much time I had left. There wasn't any question about taking it. But now, working for a small company, it's so much more personal. If I'm off, someone else has to pick up the slack (of course, it's that way in a big company, too, but it doesn't seem to matter as much somehow). I guess I feel more personally responsible for the work here, or something.

And we're busy, so it's difficult to just pick up and leave. But I'm taking next week off. I just finished a huge, stressful project, and I know I need a few days off. I doubt I'll be able to take that last week, but I can take three days.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Inner Peace

I was fairly productive this weekend as far as crafting goes -- I sat down last night and watched The Bourne Identity, which I'd never seen, and knitted on my wallhanging. I've been toting that wallhanging around with me for months; I just need to do a little more on it, but the pattern is one that I can't really memorize, and the pattern repeat is twelve rows, so I can't just pick it up anywhere I happen to be and do a few rows without losing my place.

I'll take it to work with me tomorrow and hold it up against the wall--it's for the "art wall" at work. I think it will be kind of cool if I can ever finish it.

Bob came downstairs last night while I was watching television, saw what I was watching, and said, "Is that the first, second or third one?" I said I didn't know, since I hadn't seen any of them, but I thought it was the first. I looked at Blockbuster a couple of times to see if I could rent them, but was never able to find them. They're exactly the kind of movies I like, or one of the kinds I like, and I read all of the Bourne books back in high school. I was a big Robert Ludlum fan. I'm not sure I would have cast Matt Damon in the role--he seems a little young for it, to me--but I enjoyed the movie.

Funny how tastes change, or maybe it's because I have less time now, or possibly a shorter attention span. I used to read a lot of those big, complicated spy novels, but now my reading matter runs more to light mysteries. Right now I'm reading Accessory to Murder, a "Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper," novel, and I'm listening to California Demon, "The Secret Life of a Demon Hunting Soccer Mom." For me, it's all about distraction and enjoyment, and both of those fit the bill right now.

Today I made a bunch more of my charms.

I made eight or nine, I think. This time I made them a little smaller/shorter than I usually do, but they're full of all kinds of semi-precious stones and silver. I tried to stick with a theme of a kind of dark, antiqued look, and I think I succeeded pretty well. They all look (to me, at least) like something you might find in an old trunk, or in a basket in an import shop, way in the back, where it had been forgotten. Treasures. Fanciful, maybe, but that was what I was thinking as I made them.

They're all named for the qualities of the stones -- "Calm and Protection," "Inner Peace," "Oneness with the Universe." I put them all up for sale at the shop, and wrote long descriptions of all the stones and symbols. I also finally sat down and collected all of the descriptions in one Word document so I have them close to hand. If anyone would like to have it, you can download it here (Word doc).

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Stocking up

It's the time of year when depression historically hits me; I've never really been able to escape it completely. I've been doing pretty well, but the past couple of weeks have been hard. There are things I need to do, but I can't seem to come up with much motivation, so things slide. But I'm trying. This week I've been making jewelry, and have a handful of new cellphone charms to post at my Etsy shop, as soon as I photograph them. I've already written descriptions and priced them, I just need to find some time to take photos to post.

Honestly, the actual creation of the jewelry is the least of it -- the most time-consuming part is taking photos, sorting them and choosing the good ones, cropping them, writing up descriptions of the pieces, pricing them, etc. It would be great if all I had to do was make the things, and I had a lackey or minion to do the paperwork . . .

Anyway, probably by the end of the week--or Saturday if I decide I need daylight--I should have some new stuff in the shop.

Yesterday Bob called me at work and said, "Are you at home?" I said, "No, it's just 6:00, I'm at work," and he said, "Oh, it was dark, so I figured you were at home." I love the fact that it's now almost light when I get up in the mornings, but the trade-off is that it gets dark so early, and it's full dark by the time I leave the office. I usually get home around 7:00, but most nights it feels like at least 9:00. I know I'll get used to it, but for the first few days at least, it's hard.

I took a bunch of photos this morning, processed them, and uploaded the new stuff (eight new cellphone charms) to the store. I'll probably do earrings this weekend. Stocking up for the Christmas rush. :)

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Quiet Halloween

I stopped at Mr. Goodcents and picked up sandwiches last night on the way home; I put Bob's away for him for when he got home at 11:00 or so, and I ate mine, emptied a bag of candy into a bowl, fed the cats, changed my clothes, and sat down to read for awhile. I started getting sleepy -- man, it's been a long week -- and decided that since we hardly ever get any trick-or-treaters anymore anyway, that I just wasn't going to worry about it.

Our porch light is on a motion sensor, so the house was dark, and would stay dark unless someone walked up to the door, so I figured I was safe. I pulled the blinds down and went up to bed at about 9:30. I was asleep in seconds, I think. Bob called at some point; I vaguely remember talking to him, but not in detail. I went back to sleep, and he came home and I woke up again, briefly, but went right back to sleep.

This morning when the alarm went off, I didn't want to get up, though. Bob said, you should have gotten enough sleep, you got, what? Twelve hours? And I said no, only ten! Sometimes no matter how much it is, it isn't enough.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

White light

Stress reached critical mass last night, I think. It had been a very stressful day at work, but I've always been able to handle it pretty well. But I don't know what else it could have been. I had meetings, and conference calls, and a really difficult project that I've been trying to get out the door, and everything was okay until about 5:00 which I stopped and realized that I felt AWFUL.

I always hold my stress in my stomach, and when I'm really stressed out it's like I need to stretch it out, like I'm feeling all hunched over. I would have laid on the couch, but there was a guy in the office for an interview, so I didn't think that would look too professional. I actually considered just lying on the floor in my office, but thought no, I'm just going to go home.

So I gathered up my stuff, told anyone who might need me that I'd had enough for the day, and I took off. Driving home, I felt so awful that I thought maybe I had food poisoning or something. I didn't feel nauseated, but my stomach hurt so bad that I couldn't imagine it was just stress.

I got home, crawled into bed, and slept for a couple of hours, felt better, got up, ate some rice, felt bad again, and went back to bed. Bob had been out, and called at about 10:30 and said he was coming home, was going to stop at McDonald's, and did I want anything?

I said no, but he brought me a chicken sandwich anyway (so sweet, isn't he?), and brought it up to me in the bedroom with a few of his fries. I sat up in bed and ate it (and shared it with Pyewacket), and felt quite a bit better, so I got up and got on the computer, and stayed up until about 1:00, then went back up to bed.

This morning I felt fine, just a little stressed out. I'm really not sure what I can do to handle it better. Bob said I need to remember to breathe, and I know that I need to do that. He was also giving me some kind of meditation thing where he said I needed to visualize a white light starting at the top of my head and continuing down through all my body parts, but I think he was just making that up.

I didn't really do much for Halloween except eat a lot of little candy bars. I did remember to put up my witch sign at work about halfway through October, and I went back in the storage room and found my little plastic pumpkin this morning. I also wore glow-in-the-dark skeleton earrings. Bob's working late tonight, and if we do get any trick-or-treaters, I'll be surprised. I'm expecting a quiet night.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Chicken soup

Thirty-one years ago today:

I don't know what we're going to do tonight. In the past, we've always gone to Stephenson's Apple Farm for our anniversary, but they went out of business last year. I don't really want to do any big elaborate deal, so I suggested we go get Mexican or Chinese. Then Bob got a cold, and I'm getting it, too, and this morning before he left for work, he said, why don't we just stay home tonight since we're both sick, and have soup.

So we may spend our anniversary at home eating chicken soup. Which would actually be fine.

When I was talking about short story collections yesterday, I forgot to mention that I have a TON of short story collections on my Palm. I have Palm Reader, and I get quite a few books from Fictionwise. I have a subscription to Azimov's there, so I get that magazine monthly, plus I have a few other collections that I've, um, collected.

A couple of Neil Gaiman's story collections, something of Kelly Link's, some Stephen King, plus a few multi-author compilations. As well as a few Charles De Lint novels, more Stephen King, Louise Marley, Neal Stephenson, the first four Harry Potter books . . . I have a 256MB memory chip (I think it was the one that originally came with my camera, which I've subsequently replaced with a larger one), and less than a quarter of it is full. It's a comfort to me and my obsessive nature that I can carry around an entire library in my purse and avoid one of my biggest fears -- boredom.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Late night

I stayed up too late last night, trying to finish the book I'm reading (Still Summer, by Jacquelyn Mitchard) I wasn't able to finish it; I knew I needed to get to bed, so I reluctantly put it down at 12:30 and went up to bed. Bob had gone to bed hours before--he needed to get up before dawn this morning to get to work early and get some things done before the store opened.

When his alarm went off at 4:30 or something--some ungodly hour like that--I didn't even wake up. I had a hard time waking up when my alarm went off at 6:30, both because I'd been up too late, and because it was still full dark. And raining.

Standing in the shower (I did eventually get up), I was thinking that I could tolerate the rain and snow and cold temperatures better if it wasn't for having to get up in the dark. And then I realized that we never "fell back" this year -- this is the year that Daylight Saving Time lasts an extra month, right? Okay, I checked -- DST ends on the first Sunday in November. So in a couple of weeks we'll gain an hour (or get back the hour we lost, I guess), and it will be a little lighter in the mornings, thank goodness. Although that means it will be darker earlier in the evening, I guess. It's all tradeoffs.

In spite of the rocky start, I was pretty productive this morning. I dried (and hung up and/or folded) a load of laundry, ate breakfast (a bagel with veggie cream cheese and a glass of orange juice), and made lunch for today and tomorrow--Spanish rice with tomatoes and white beans, peaches for dessert, and cottage cheese for an afternoon snack. I haven't been eating very well lately, and by that I don't mean I haven't been eating, I mean I've been eating crap, so I'm making an effort to do a little better. I actually don't usually do too badly at lunch, but it could always use improvement.

I figure rice, vegetables and fruit for awhile would be good.

I went to the library over the weekend and ended up checking out a TON of books. I always check the "New Books" shelves, and found several things there that I wanted to read. Whether I'll actually read them or not is anyone's guess, but it's nice to have options.

Almost everything I got were books of short stories--"Year's Best Science Fiction," "Asimov's Science Fiction: 30th Anniversary Anthology," "Best American Fantasy," "Best New Paranormal Romance," "Year's Best Fantasy," "The Best American Mystery Stories," and "The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year." Whew. I actually had no idea that I got that many short story collections.

I actually have kind of a problem with short stories. I got all of those books because they all contained stories by some of my favorite authors--Connie Willis, Kage Baker, Elizabeth Hand are the ones that I remember. Short stories are hard for me because they're, well, short. In general, I prefer long books, and when I'm reading short stories I tend to read them too quickly, I think, because . . . well, I don't really know why.

Anyway, just another of my weird quirks. I pick up short story books because I both love them and hate them. Love them because there are often a bunch of things by several of my favorite writers in one volume, hate them because the stories are just too short to be satisfying. Novellas are good -- shorter than a novel, but longer than a short story. Some of those are just right.

I was thrilled to see that Connie Willis has a new Christmas story in the December issue of Azimov's. All of her work is wonderful, but I especially love the Christmas stories.

I was also thrilled to see that there's a new collection of her short stories coming out -- The Winds of Marble Arch. I've read most of them, of course, but it's always nice to have them collected in one place. Normally I would get a book like that at the library, but I decided I had to have this one. It's published by Subterranean Press, so it's a limited edition, and I had a moment of panic that I actually wouldn't be able to buy it. But Amazon had it available, so I snatched it up. It should be here today, to add to the pile of short story collections that I built on Saturday. I might read it first, though.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Not dead

I've had several people ask if I'm okay, so I thought I should at least post something here -- I'm here, I'm fine, not dead, just busy. And the change into autumn is always difficult for me -- getting up in the dark, and coming home in the dark are hard, and when I get home I don't have a lot of energy for doing much of anything. So anyway, nothing going on, just work work work, and even when I'm not working, I'm working -- either doing freelance web stuff or making jewelry or putting jewelry up for sale. So things are fine, good even, just busy.

Bob is the "Employee of the Month" at work this month. They have a program where customers (and other employees, maybe, I'm not sure) can fill out a comment card commending an employee, and you get a gift card, and once a month they have a luncheon for people who've received them. They had the monthly luncheon yesterday, and Bob was there, and he was named employee of the month. I told him, "You're my employee of the month every month."


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Monday, October 01, 2007

Weekend away

We took a quick trip down to Bennett Spring this weekend. Bob got both Saturday and Sunday off -- a rare occurrence -- so we decided to take advantage of it. It was kind of a bad time, I had a LOT of work that I needed to do, and I was feeling kind of stressed out. But it's never really a good time, so I decided it would be okay to go. I took my newly-repaired laptop so that I could do some work if I needed to. The park has a wifi connection in the dining lodge, so I was able to download my email a couple of times and be sure that there were no crises (there weren't).

We didn't stay in the park this time, but in a lodge close by where we've stayed before. This was the view out the back window of the motel room on Saturday morning:

Bob had gotten up early and gone out to fish while I was still sleeping. He came back, and we went up to the lodge for breakfast, then went back to the river. I sat in a lawn chair and read, and it was very peaceful:

Then a big truck pulled up with a load of canoes, and then the canoeists themselves showed up.

They loaded up and (presumably) took off -- I couldn't see anything but canoes!

Then they left, leaving behind some of the canoes for people who were coming later, I guess.

Shortly afterward, Bob decided to go fish in the park, by the dam -- I don't know whether he was afraid he'd hook a canoeist or not, but probably.

With strategic cropping, it looks like he was alone out there:

I didn't think it was very crowded, but he thought it was. Of course, everyone was fly fishing, which takes a lot more room than just dropping a hook in the water, I guess.

It was a very nice weekend, if short. It would be nice to spend a week there; maybe we'll get to do that again sometime. On Sunday we went by the nature interpretive center, which was fun. We hadn't been there in a long time.

We got home mid-afternoon on Sunday, and I did my work, and everything was fine. I'm still a little stressed out, but it definitely helped to get away, if only briefly.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Just a quick note

I had a list of stuff that I wanted to accomplish this weekend. I didn't get everything done, but I did make a LOT of sets of stitch markers, which was one of the main things. Not stitch markers per se, but the store was getting kind of sparse and I wanted to get some inventory built up.

I put about a dozen sets up for sale, and I have probably another half-dozen that I need to photograph and post. And I want to make a bunch more earrings. I also made some bracelets for a friend for a custom order as a birthday present for a little girl, and those were fun to make. I want to do some more of that. Here are some of them:

Apart from the jewelry making frenzy, not much went on this weekend. Which is exactly the way I like it.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

New phone

I got a new phone over the weekend. I didn't really need a new phone, the old one still worked, but I'd had it for about 2-1/2 years, and could get a good deal on an upgrade. And I've wanted the pink Razr ever since it comes out, and frankly, I was a little afraid that if I waited much longer, they wouldn't have them any longer. Obsessive, I know.

There are three shades of pink, this is the middle one -- there's a paler pink, and a magenta one -- each of which are offered by a different cell phone provider. I'm with Cingular (now AT&T), and they have this one, which has kind of a salmony-cast to it. It's actually not as light as this picture shows.

Like I said, I didn't really need a new phone, but the camera was getting pretty bad, and while that's certainly not a vital component of a phone, I do like having it. Anyway, I went ahead and got it. The deal they offered was $100, with a $50 rebate. I could also have upgraded to a newer version for an additional $50, but I didn't feel like I could justify that, and I didn't like the color as well. Yeah, I know it's not important, but it kind of is.

And the camera is a lot better.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Vampires and monsters

A few months ago my iBook started acting weird. After I'd used it for about 15 minutes, the screen would start distorting and breaking up, and in a few seconds would go dark. Sometimes I could make it come back by closing the lid so it went to sleep, then opening it up again, but that usually only fixed it long enough for me to shut it down.

But since I haven't really been doing any traveling lately, and since I had gotten the eMac fixed, it wasn't really a critical issue, so I just put it away, trying it occasionally to see if it had spontaneously fixed itself. Unfortunately, it never did.

So I decided to take it in to the Apple store and see what they thought it was, and if it would cost less to fix it than it would cost to get a new one (which I wasn't going to do). I took it in last night, and they're pretty sure it's the logic board. The cost for repair (no matter what it turns out to be) is $280, which I struggled with. But I decided that I still like the computer enough, and it is still adequate for what I use it for, and I certainly couldn't buy anything new for less than four times that price. So I went ahead and told them to send if off and fix it.

I had made the decision not to buy the extended warranty when I bought it, because I didn't feel like I could justify the $250 price on a $900 machine. So considering that the repair would be free if I had bought the warranty, it's more or less a wash. And it will be nice to have the laptop back. I miss it. Even though I don't really need it, it gives me the opportunity to be mobile, and it's a shame to have it and not be able to use it.

I listened to Stephen King's Stationary Bike in the car this week, finished it last night, and started listening to his newest, Blaze, this morning. It isn't really a new book, it's one of the ones he calls "trunk novels," meaning that they've been in a trunk for a long time (and the last of the " Richard Bachman" books), but I figure it will be worth listening to, particularly since it's being read by Ron McLarty, who I love! I first listened to him narrating one of his own books, The Memory of Running (and his second book, Traveler, and have searched out other books that he's narrated as well. I was delighted to see this one -- lately Stephen King has been reading his own books for audio, and while I don't have anything at all against him or his speaking voice, in my experience authors don't do a great job reading their own work.

McLarty is an actor, and does, I think, a wonderful job.

I was thinking about Stephen King this morning, and how I've been reading his books for so long. The first this I read of his was an abridged, serialized version of Salem's Lot, in Cosmopolitan magazine. I had never read anything like it, and from then on, I bought pretty much everything he wrote. I've become a little more selective lately, and there are a few that I haven't (and wont') buy or read.--"Gerald's Game" and "Misery" come to mind--because I just don't enjoy that kind of psychological tension. Vampires and monsters, I'm okay with.

I bought Cell to take with me to Mexico a couple of years ago, and that turned out to be a great beach book. I really enjoyed it. And some of his are favorites -- The Stand, of course, and all of the novellas in For Past Midnight (The Langoliers and The Library Policeman especially; I loved The Talisman, which he wrote with Richard Straub, but I found Black House, its sequel, unreadable. And some I had no interest in, like the later Dark Tower installments -- too much fantasy for me.

Anyway, I just think it's interesting. I can't think of another author whose career I've felt so intertwined with; no one as prolific, certainly. And I think it helps that I started reading him so long ago, and through such an interesting way--serialized in a magazine. A nice introduction, anyway.

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