Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Going like hotcakes

Bob is in a fishing tournament tomorrow, and he was down in the basement getting his fishing stuff together and I went down to tell him something. I was looking around and saw my old rubber stamps -- he had said something about them the other day, about whether I was ever going to use them again, and if I should sell them. I kind of hated to, but I haven't used them for years, and I don't imagine that I ever will. So I hauled a box of them upstairs, took photos, and started posting them on eBay. I had a bunch of Winnie the Pooh stamps, and I apparently was posting them at the same time that a Winnie the Pooh fan was searching for rubber stamps, because I coudn't post them fast enough. As soon as I posted one, she would buy it. She must have been sitting there on my page, refreshing it every couple of minutes. She ended up buying ten twelve of them. I still have a bunch to post, although probably not any more Winnie the Pooh ones, but I stopped because I hit the 50 free auction limit. I'll wait until the weekend and post some more, after the first of the month when they're free again.

If anyone is interested in rubber stamps, there are still a bunch up there, and more to come. willaknits is my eBay handle.

Monday, May 28, 2012


Bob had to work all weekend, but since he went in early today, he got off at 3:00. When he got home, he said, "How about going out for a drink and appetizers somewhere to celebrate Memorial Day?" We hadn't done that for awhile. He had originally suggested Joe's Crab Shack, but I told him that I had eaten a late lunch and wasn't hungry, so we ended up at On The Border for Margaritas and queso.

We sat and talked for awhile, then ran a couple of errands and came home. Later in the evening, after dinner, we went out and drove through Dairy Queen for ice cream, then drove around while we ate it (a chocolate malt for him and a strawberry cheesecake Blizzard for me). We laugh at ourselves sometimes, say that we act like old people, but we enjoy doing small things together. I'm so glad that we still enjoy each others' company. It's a blessing.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Things you can do today to improve your happiness

I have a tendency toward depression, and while I try not to talk about it too much, I find that keeping things inside makes everything feel worse. I was having something of a bad time this weekend, and did a few of my tried-and-true happiness boosting tricks, and thought I would write some of them down here.

It mostly comes down to do something. I'm not going to suggest that you get out and exercise. I don't do that, either. But I do find that just getting up and actually doing something will improve things tremendously.

Clean something. A drawer, a closet, the bathroom, the kitchen sink. Some happiness gurus suggest that just making your bed will improve your whole day, or there is the Fly Lady axiom of cleaning your kitchen sink as the last thing you do every day. I don't always make the bed, and while I don't leave dirty dishes lying around, having a sparkling sink doesn't do a lot for me. What helps me is throwing stuff away. It's really hard for me to do, but going through a drawer and tossing useless stuff, or cleaning out a pantry shelf and throwing away expired food makes me feel like I've accomplished something.

Also, it drives me nuts to have a bunch of stuff on my computer desktop, or have my email inbox full of junk. I try to clean both my desktop and my inbox every day. It makes me less crazy.

Eat something. Even if you aren't hungry, don't forget to eat, and pay attention to what you eat if you have a tendency toward low blood sugar. I found that out the hard way a couple of weeks ago when, stressed and upset, I had chocolate milk and a granola bar for breakfast and nearly passed out at the beauty salon.

Sell something on EBay. I was cleaning out a closet and found a twenty year old "Epilady" that I used maybe once. I saw that the same item was selling on eBay for around twenty five dollars. I priced mine at $24.95 and it sold within a couple of hours, and now I have some money in my Paypal account to do something fun, like buy breakfast at Wendy's on my way to work.

Make something. I have an Etsy store, so I have an outlet for selling the things I make. You can do that, too, but even if you don't sell what you make, the act of making something is worthwhile and will boost your spirits. Last night I had an idea of making a beaded badge holder lanyard. I made it, took photos of it, and posted it on Etsy. Then I posted a photo and the link on my Facebook page, and someone bought it this morning.

Read something inspirational. I spent some time this morning reading David Alchuter's blog and it inspired me to write this blog post. Do NOT read something depressing. I would advise against reading the news. Or you could always look at some cat videos, like this one. Or there's always this one.

Get some free stuff. I love keeping track of the free Kindle book blogs. Keeping my Kindle full of Books makes me feel rich. I don't download every free book, but if it sounds like something I might enjoy, I do. Unless it's a topic that I'm sure I will want to read about, I don't usually download free nonfiction books. I don't need the guilt of seeing them in my library but not reading them.

Hallmark has a "Gold Crown" program where you get points for anything that you buy at a Hallmark store. I don't do much shopping at the Hallmark stores, but I do occasionally, and a couple of times a year I'll get a free coupon for $2 or $3. $2 will buy a package of stickers. It isn't much, but it's something, and I love getting things free. Oh, that reminds me, I filled up a loyalty card at Jason's a couple of weeks ago -- I could go there for a free lunch today! I think I will.

Get on some mailing lists, but only for things you love. Beauty Brands sends out emails showcasing their specials. Occasionally there will be a coupon for a free product with purchase, and a couple of times a year they send out a completely free $5 coupon good on anything in the store. $5 isn't a lot, and I know they do it to get you in the store, but hey, free $5! I got one a couple of weeks ago and bought a small (handbag size) tube of expensive handcream and only had to pay about a dollar for it.

Conversely, get OFF some making lists. If you're getting emails that you consistently delete, get off the list! Or set a rule in your email program that throws it away before you see it. Not having to delete junk mail will save you a few minutes every day, and a lot of aggravation.

Write something. Like this blog post. If you don't have a blog, write in a journal.

Keep track of something. I use Evernote as my adjunct brain. Use your smart phone to take photos of your prescription medications, and mail them to your Evernote account. I did that this morning. Save a conference schedule as a PDF and save it in Evernote. When you pay a bill online, take a screenshot of the receipt and email it to Evernote. It makes me feel efficient and is an easy place to find things, because I invariably get flustered when I'm trying to find something like a schedule or a list of medications. Evernote automatically syncs to any device that you have it on, i.e., iPhone, iPad, computer, etc., so once information is in there, it's available to you anywhere, and it removes some stress from your life.

Get out there and do something.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Things I love today


I read a book a long time ago that had a character in it who "only ate yellow food," i.e., Twinkies, bananas, macaroni and cheese. I fear I'm falling into the same rut, but I think it's kind of a comfort food thing.


One Republic "Secrets." I rented "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" last weekend from Amazon. It was an okay movie, not great, but this song played a couple of times, and I had to Google it and figure out what it was. I don't think I had ever heard it before, but it plays in my head now all the time.


Greyhound by Steffan Piper. I had noticed when this book came out, but never read it. It was the Kindle Daily Deal today, for $.99, so I got the sample, and before I even finished the sample, I went and bought it. It's a story about an eleven year old boy whose mother needs to get rid of him so she can keep her current boyfriend, so she puts him on a bus from California to Pennsylvania, where he is to live with his grandmother. The story is about his adventures on his cross-country bus trip. It's written in first-person in the boy's voice.

The Amazon Kindle app (check out Pixel of Ink and Books on the Knob for links to free Kindle books)

First day of a long weekend

We got today (Friday) off, making the Memorial Day weekend a four-day weekend; I've got my annual doctor's appointments and tests on Tuesday, so I won't be back to work until Wednesday. I kind of feel like I need a break, so I'm grateful for it, but being away from work always makes me feel nervous, like things are going to blow up while I'm away. I do my best to avoid that, and usually (always) check my email to be sure that things are going smoothly, but it still makes me anxious. I've been out quite a bit lately. I was at a conference for three days last week, then a one-day all day meeting on Wednesday. I've got "Word Camp," the Wordpress user group conference, next weekend, which I'm not thrilled about, but they always have them on weekends, I'm not sure why.

Anyway, I've felt like I've been away a lot, but I've also been learning a lot, so it's a good tradeoff, I guess.

I had a manicure first thing this morning. I'm getting my hair cut tomorrow, and I had originally planned to do them both on the same day, but my manicurist's son is in a track meet on Saturday in Jefferson City, so she asked if I could switch my appointment to today. That was fine, except that she wanted to do it at 9:00 a.m. Which didn't actually turn out to be a problem, because I woke up early and couldn't go back to sleep . . . That seems to happen a lot lately. I usually don't have any trouble going to sleep, but I wake up several times during the night, and inevitably I will wake up at 4:30 or so, lay there for a half hour, and finally get up, giving up on sleep for the rest of the night.

Maybe it's just a part of getting older, I don't know. And also, I lie there and worry, and everything seems so much worse in the middle of the night . . .

So, I had my nails done, got a quick lunch at Einstein Bagels, and came home and worked on some website projects. I was talking to the manicurist this morning about work, and said, what I need to do is write another book. She said, "you need to write another 'Fifty Shades of Gray.'" And I said yeah, or another "Twilight." It could happen.

Friday, May 18, 2012


I stopped at Chipotlé tonight on my way home to get something to eat. This restaurant is on two levels (just a couple of steps up, I guess), with an outdoor patio outside the upper level. I got my food, and went up to the upper level to eat. As I got there, I saw a little boy pushing open the door to the patio. I looked around, and there was no one on the patio, and no adults anywhere around.

I'm not good at estimating age, but this guy was little, maybe three years old. I asked him, "where's your mom?" and he just sort of gestured vaguely, and kept on pushing the door. I said, "You shouldn't go outside by yourself," and he said, "I get to pick the table." I said, "Well, you need to wait for your mom or dad.". He ran off, back to the main part of the restaurant, and I looked over and saw him being picked up by a man. The boy looked upset, and who knows what he said to his father. I thought I should say something, so I caught the man's eye and said, "I'm sorry, I just told him he shouldn't go outside by himself," and the man said, "no, no, you're absolutely right," but the woman with him, the boy's mother, I assume, kind of glared at me.

I felt kind of like I shouldn't have said anything, but there were several things that could happen to a little kid in the five or ten minutes it could take his parents to get through the line and join him. He could get his fingers crushed in the heavy door. He could fall on the concrete patio and split his lip. He could run into the street and get run over. And the one I was thinking of when I stopped him from going outside, he could get scooped up by someone who wanted a little boy, and no one would have any idea who happened to him.

So I don't actually feel guilty about saying something, but it did feel a little weird, and I was glad when they finished their meal and left. But not as weird as I would have felt if he'd been snatched, of course.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I made a new custom icon so if you bookmark my site on the iPhone or iPad, it will have a cool little icon. :)

Here's how to do it: when you're viewing a site in Safari on the iPhone or iPad, hit the little bookmark icon (the square with the arrow in it) and choose "add to home screen." I'm not sure why (at least on my phone) the text label comes up as "Willa's Jour," but you can modify the text to be anything you want.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I can't remember where I first heard about Birchbox. It's a subscription service that mails you a box of beauty samples for $10/month. I love samples, so I thought I'd try it. You have to get on a list, you can't just immediately subscribe, so you don't really have any control over when your name comes up. You have to claim your place within 48 hours once you're notified, so I guess if you don't, you can get on the list again.

My name came up for the May box, and after I signed up I saw that it was going to be a "Gossip Girl" box. That didn't interest me, and I wasn't real thrilled, but I figured I might as well try it anyway. It arrived last night. I hadn't seen what the boxes actually contained, so I thought maybe some other people would be interested in seeing an actual box. It was very nicely presented, like a gift, which I liked.

The product samples were:

Miss Dior Eau de Parfum
Kerastase Age Premium Bain Substantif (shampoo)
Algenist Firming & Lifting Cream (moisturizer)
Dior Extase Mascara
Kerastase Age Premium Masque Substantif (conditioning treatment)

I haven't tried any of them yet, but I'll definitely try the shampoo and conditioner. I'm a skincare snob, though, and never put anything but Clinique on my face, so I'm not sure if I'll try the moisturizer or not. It's a good-sized sample, maybe I'll try it on my hands. I almost never wear mascara, so I'm not sure if I'll use that or not. It will probably go in my drawer with all the Clinique mascara samples I've gotten over the years.

So, I wasn't terribly thrilled with this box, but I'm going to give it another month at least, and see what I get next month. For $10, it's kind of fun to get a surprise in the mail, and its interesting to see and try new things that I wouldn't otherwise know about.


Did you know you can get a free pack of 10 sample business cards from Moo? You can choose from a couple hundred already-created designs, or upload your own photos, and you don't have to stick to just one image, you can get a pack with ten different ones if you want. I got mine yesterday, and I love the design I chose. They're from a UK designer named Natasha Newton. When you're ready to order more cards, you can use this link to save 10% off the regular price.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Hypo what?

I had an appointment to get my nails done yesterday at noon.  It was an awkward time for me on a Saturday, too early to eat lunch beforehand, but it usually takes about an hour and a quarter, so by the time it's done, it's after one, and late for lunch, for me. So right before I left I had a glass of chocolate milk, and grabbed a granola bar, which I ate in the car.

Everything was fine for about an hour, then I just suddenly felt the blood drain from my face, and I broke out in a sweat. I felt shaky and clammy; I felt like I was going to either throw up or pass out.   I sat there trying to figure out if I could wait it out, if I could sit there until we were done, and then pass out. The manicurist must have felt my pulse speed up.  I think she thought it was in reaction to the music that was playing, because she asked me if I felt like I wanted to tap my fingers. 

Still trying to be unobtrusive, I said I needed to go to the bathroom. I went back to the restroom, sat down and put my head between my knees, trying to avoid fainting.  I felt a little better.  I splashed some water on my face and went back out.  I said I was sorry, but I felt like I was going to pass out, and wasn't sure what to do. She asked me if I had eaten anything that morning and I said I had, but probably not a wise choice.  She said she was going to go get me something from the vending machine, and was looking in her drawer for change when the other nail tech said that she had some peanut butter crackers, and asked if I wanted them. I thought that was probably a good idea.  I ate two, had some water, and felt like I was going to live.  I realized it must have been an episode of low blood sugar.

As soon as I left, I went to Panera Bread and ordered a bowl of potato soup and a salad and bread, and I felt much better after eating.  Even so, I went home and laid down for an hour or so before going back out to run errands. 

It's not the first time that has happened to me, although it might be the most extreme. Usually I get some warning, start to feel a little shaky, and know that I need to eat immediately. This time there was no warning at all. I assume it was a crash from the sugary "breakfast" and if I had had more protein and less sugar it would probably have been fine, although I kind of thought the milk would balance out the sugar.  But what do I know?  I just play a doctor on tv . . . .

I think there was also an emotional component to it. I've been upset about something at work, and I had been talking to Bob about it right before I left the house, and my manicurist had asked me how things were going at work and I had teared up, but, of course, had tried to hold it in and not break down. I try hard not to let her be my therapist--she gets that enough from other clients.  But it's like being a bartender, I think.  She's a good listener.  Like my sister--I had spent my lunch hour Friday in the parking lot in her car talking to her.  She picked me up on front of my office and tossed me a turkey sandwich from the vending machine in her building, and said, "Here's your lunch, where can I park?"

Anyway, I guess it was the perfect storm. Bob called when he was leaving work to come home and asked if I had had a good day, and I said, well, not really . . .  I told him what had happened, and he immediately attrubuted it to stress.  I know I don't really eat well, and I don't really handle my emotions well. I try to hold everything in, and I know that isn't healthy. I just don't feel like it's right to burden other people with my problems, knowing everyone has problems of their own. But I also know that sometimes I need to open up and be vulnerable when it's safe, with someone I can trust, like my sister.

But back to the hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, thing--I don't know whether it's a genetic or family thing, but my mom was a real expert on it back when I was a kid at home.  It didn't affect me as much as it did some of my other family members, but it did happen.  I specifically remember being at a school concert and feeling like I was going to faint, and going outside to get some air.  I used to carry candy (Smarties) with me when I traveled in case I got stuck somewhere with no food.  It's hard for people who don't experience it to understand.  Bob almost never eats during the day.  He'll work all day and not eat until he gets home, sometimes not until ten at night.  But he does now understand that I need to eat on a fairly regular basis, and I've learned not to be embarrassed about it--for instance, if we're traveling--that I need to eat, even if he doesn't. Well, I guess I am a little bit embarrassed about it. I know this is stupid, but it feels weak, that I shouldn't have to eat. Isn't that stupid?

My mother has recently been put on a diabetic diet,  and maybe I should be on one, too. I've gotten to this point where I've been worrying about so many other things that I don't want to worry about what I'm eating.  I eat mostly whatever I want and try not to think too much about it.  But maybe I should. 

Monday, May 07, 2012

Great weekend

We had a really nice weekend, and we hardly did anything, but that's the way I like it! When I got home Friday night, Bob suggested that we go out to dinner, and we ended up at Cinzetti's, an Italian buffet-type restaurant. I had a couple of plates of some really excellent Caesar salad, a little fried zucchini, a little pasta Alfredo, and a little of a potato dish, and that was basically it except for a few little pieces of dessert--a cannoli and a small molten chocolate cake. Oh, and bread. They have this wonderful, light garlic/cheese bread, and I had a couple of pieces of that. It was more expensive than most places we go lately--with tip, it ended up being almost $50, and we only drank iced tea--but it was fun, and we hardly ever do that anymore. And I didn't overeat, which is such a temptation at a place like that.

This was Bob's weekend off, so on Saturday we slept late, then Bob went out to the golf course to hit balls and I went to Panera for lunch (another Caesar salad!), and sat and read on my iPad for awhile. I got involved in the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series over the weekend, and read the first three books and part of the fourth. Then I ran a few errands and went home, and spent the afternoon and early evening reading, and went to bed early.

On Sunday we slept in (again), did laundry and went to Schlotsky's for lunch. My Dad called in the evening and asked if we were watching television--there was a tornado warning for our area, but the sirens hadn't gone off. I scooped up Dinah and my purse, and we headed for the basement. Dinah wasn't happy--she likes the basement if it's her choice, but she doesn't like to be confined down there. It rained really hard, hailed a little, but the tornado didn't materialize. It's always kind of fun to retreat to the basement, I think. I don't, of course, want a tornado, but it's something different, and it's kind of like camping. It makes me remember when I was a kid and we spent most of the summer in the basement, since we didn't have air conditioning.

Bob found a weather report on the radio, and I was perfectly happy snugged up in the bed down there with Dinah and the iPad. Bob went upstairs to scope out the situation, and called me (!) to tell me that it was hailing, but that the tornado warning was apparently over. So we went back upstairs and had ice cream for dinner and watched "Bell, Book and Candle."

The end.