Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Traveling

In the hotel in Cancun, there was a jewelry shop. On the shelf just by the door were four silver pendants. One of those pendants was an anchor and helm wheel design with inlays of Australian opal.

All during the trip, I passed it, glanced at it, liked it, but I didn't buy it. On the last night of the trip before heading out to dinner, we stopped by the jewelry shop again. I looked and liked again. On the way to dinner, I decided that I would get it when we got back. I certainly eyed it enough. I really liked the design, I really liked the stone. I didn't really budget for it, but I had a credit card. And there's nothing wrong with buying something nice for yourself when you're on vacation, right?

Well, we got back from dinner and I completely forgot about the thing. I remembered only after I was done with my shower and we were about to turn in. No matter! They'll probably be open in the morning.

When we woke up, I still remembered the pendant. I also remembered that the shop was having a fairly large sale, and it was probably included. On the way to breakfast, I looked only for the sale sign, and it was there. That settled it. I would buy the thing after breakfast, before we got our luggage together to head home.

Jack and I needed to do some last minute shopping, so we finished breakfast quickly and headed back to the room to bring our bags down and hit the store. We stopped at the jewelry store in the hotel, but there were only three pendants there. The pretty opal anchor was not one of them. I forgot about it, and it was gone.

Not a big deal, really. It wasn't a thing I needed, just liked a lot.

Who wants to know how I'm wearing that pendant right now?

While I was in the shower after dinner, Jack went down to reconcile the room bill with the hotel. Yeah, he remembered the pendant where I did not, the stinker. He put it in my hands on Christmas Eve.

It's not about the pendant, though I do really like it. There's a story there now, and a fond memory, and a sweet act that one person did for another. My man is something special.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fake Tree Fail

I was all about getting a real tree this year, as I have been doing since I moved out of my parents’ house. And this holiday time is extra special because it's the first one in my house. Well, I listened to the wisdom of my elders who told me my planned used of my woodstove fireplace would dry out my live tree faster than it normally would dry out and become a nice big(er) fire hazard. If nothing else, they said, it should be kept far far away from the fireplace. Well, unfortunately the only place I really have to put a tree is fairly close to the fireplace. Not wanting to burn down my house with a dry tree, I decided to just get a fake one.

I went with my folks to the Christmas Tree Store and found a nice little 4.5 foot tree pre-lit with white lights for less than $20. I don't really need pre-lit, but it'll do. Jack came over yesterday to put it up and decorate it with me.

It was a case of "you get what you pay for." Actually, I think I was robbed. I might have paid $5 for that pathetic thing. It was maybe 2 feet in diameter. The lower part was one row of branches that had the fake needles on about half of each branch. The lights were strung in such a way that I couldn't even fold them all the way out. The top part looked fairly full, but had the same problem with the lights. No amount of Charlie Brown love could improve this thing. It was not something I would be proud to display in my home.

I'm really disappointed. My first Yule in my house and I have no tree. With all the things I have to do, I'm out of time (and money) to get one. Jack could probably tell I was upset about it. He said he had another that I could use, but he probably wouldn't be able to get it to me until next week, which would be after Yule and then defeat the purpose. So much for my first holiday.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's That Time of Year

We interrupt your anticipation of reading all about my trip to Cancun to rehash that debate that happens every year. You know the one I'm talking about: the one where Christians get pissed off if you don't wish them a "Merry Christmas" and where atheists and others get pissed off if you do.

In 2005, I wrote this blog post about the whole thing, and my opinion really hasn't changed. I read this article on MSN this morning and feel the need to repeat a few things.

The author, P.J. Orvetti, writes:

About 76 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christian, down from 86 percent two decades ago. The nation has about 3.1 million Jews, 530,000 Muslims, and 400,000 Buddhists. Anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of Americans say they
practice no particular religion, with about 1.2 million calling themselves
atheists.

For most of the year, none of this is a big deal. We go along and get along. But as December rolls around, things get as sticky as a popcorn ball.

Yep. Pretty much. That's largely because holidays of various faiths and non-faiths don't really run together in such an in-your-face way as the winter holidays do. I particularly like the next paragraph:

The issue is that in today’s America, there are really two Christmases. The first is the second most holy festival on the Christian calendar; the second is
a largely secular holiday that is all about shopping or family, depending who
you ask. One is about a baby in a manger; the other features an aerodynamic
reindeer with a fluorescent proboscis.

Yep. Pretty much. This is also why I can spend Christmas Eve with Jack and his family even though my celebration of the holiday that is important to me would have been celebrated and done by then. This is why I can take my fond memories of Christmas as a Catholic and still love what it meant to me then, and respect what it doesn't mean to me now. Truth be told, it never really was about celebrating the birth of Christ. I think quite a lot was lacking from my early Catholic education (I take this as a benefit; I don't have the bitterness that many former Catholics have towards the faith). But, I digress.

The real reason this article struck me was at the very end. The author echoed the sentiments that I wrote five years ago:

I do not think of myself as a “Christian” in a traditional sense, but I was raised in the Christian tradition and have a great love for it, so perhaps I
cannot fully appreciate how a member of another faith might take offense at a
“Merry Christmas.”

But I’m happy to be wished a merry or happy or jolly anything. With so much animosity all year round, just take the cheerful greeting for what it’s intended to be -- a bit of good spirit at the end of a long year. [Bolding added by me for emphasis.]


And for good measure, I will quote my own words from that blog post all those
years ago:

I'll put this to you; instead of greeting me or wishing me happiness with something that means something to me, why not wish me happiness with a blessing that means something to you? I want a Jew to wish me a Happy Hanukkah. I want a Christian to wish me a Merry Christmas. I want to hear Happy Kwanzaa from my African-descended friends. And by gum, if a coven
wants to run around screaming Happy Yule, I want them to!


The point of this and any holiday blessing, you see, is to take something that is important, loving, meaningful, and everything else that it is to you and share it with me. This is a part of you, something that has meaning in your life. What a wonderful thing it is to take a piece of that and give it to another person, wishing nothing in return but responding in kind. How much of that other person do you learn by one blessing that leaves their lips and is directed towards you? This is the
embodiment of perfect love and perfect trust; no matter what words you use, your
holiday greeting says "This time of year is important to me, I hope you are
enjoying it too." This time of year is not about others accepting what you
believe, it is about connecting with people.


And while I'm at it, if someone wishes you a Merry Christmas and you have no idea how important such a blessing is to them: Be gracious! Who cares if it means nothing to you? Why can't you just accept the blessing for what it is and say 'thank you?' Does that hurt? Instead of saying 'I want to be greeted this way' accept that someone thought enough about you to greet you at all, and they thought enough about you to give a part of them to you. Oh, how truly blessed you are to receive such a wonderful thing. Gratitude, friends, is what you give in return, and perhaps a heartfelt wish from you to them.



Still with me?

It's ok to remember what this season means to you, if it means anything at all. It's ok to wish happiness upon strangers and family and friends too. And it's ok to do so even if they don't share your beliefs. And if someone wishes you a happy whatever holiday you don't celebrate, please just say "thank you" if you don't want to return the greeting in kind. We're all on the same planet, breathing the same air, and trying to go about our days on the smoothest path possible. Don't be a part of the problem. It's not worth it. What is worth it is to share a little kindness, no matter the sentiment, with others.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Home Again

And it's cold!

I want to be back on the beach. I want another piña colada. I want to shake the sand from my shoes!

I hereby veto this cold December thing. Do you hear me, December? Ve-to!!

I'm just stopping by to say I'm back and will approve comments and tell you all about the daily piña coladas and trips to Mayan ruins and hours spent on white shell-laden beaches in a day or two!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Guess Where I Am

I'm not telling!

I will tell you I had to get a house sitter.

Ok maybe I will tell you.

I'm going to Cancun!

Monday, November 29, 2010

For My Parents

Happy Anniversary!

41 years of wonderful togetherness!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You

To all who have served, are serving, or will serve: thank you.

Monday, November 08, 2010

I'm Still Here

Honest I am! Just really really busy. I thought things would slow up when the Renaissance Festival ended. Ha!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Evening Plans

Jack and I decided that Saturday was too far away, so he's going to come over this evening. We really don't have anything planned beyond that. I'm sure we can come up with something. He's been constantly on my mind, so I'm really looking forward to seeing him again.

Monday, October 04, 2010

What Weekend?

I had a rare weekend-off from the faire, and it got booked up fast.

On Saturday, Pat and I went to King's Dominion. Just like last year, it was a great day to go. The weather was nice and the sky was blue and cloudless. Also, just like last year, everyone seems to wait to come in the evening when the Halloween stuff starts happening, so lines are really short during the day. We rode everything we wanted to ride and even got a few things in twice. It was great.

We spent ten hours there and decided not to go through any Halloween mazes this year. It's hard to wait in hour-long lines when you had no lines all day. But we did some last year, so we weren't missing anything. I got home at a decent time, but didn't get nearly enough sleep.

The Takoma Park Street Festival with Jack yesterday was wonderful. It was still a lot of walking but a much easier day than Saturday. He didn't seem to mind too much that I was still rather exhausted. He even said we could start a little later if I needed more rest, but I didn't want to. I wanted to spend the day with him. That sure seems corny when I type it out like that.

We stumbled upon The Sweater Set while we were wandering about. They were fabulous! Really, really entertaining performers. Then we caught a band that played a lot of funk. They were fun. He wanted to see one of his favorite bands, ilyAIMY, and they were wonderful! It was a wandering kind of day with great music and great company. The rain even waited until we were back at his place.

It was a pizza dinner kind of day and we took a nap while we waited for food to show up. The nap was definitely needed. I could still use some more sleep and my legs are unhappy that I did so much walking. But I had a fun weekend, so I'll just have to deal with it. Jack and I were talking about going to a corn maze on Saturday. I am working at the Faire on Sunday.

Busy weekends are the best!

Friday, October 01, 2010

ATTENTION!!

I regret to announce that my shop will be closing at the end of October. I've had a great time as a seller on Etsy and I will still be around as I do not intend to stop shopping there.

If you've been waiting, now is the time! Want a custom Gnome? I can still do it!

As always, if you want to chat, you can send me a convo on Etsy, find me in the Etsy forums, keep up with me here on my blog, or reach me on Twitter.

Thanks everyone for your support!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Singing in the Rain

Goodness, I'm so behind on keeping you, fair readers, up to my comings and goings! I'm sorry. Let's see about getting you all catched up.

I've been seeing someone for about a month. I'm going to call him Jack. We went to an Indian place in Annapolis on the 5th. We went out again four days later to a nice little place that served American, coastal-type food in Tyson's Corner. I went to his place the following week and he cooked pasta for dinner. He came to mine a week later (and let me tell you about the Wednesday preceding that in a bit) and I grilled fish for dinner. Yesterday, we went to one of his favorite places, a Burmese restaurant in Silver Spring.

I had never had Burmese cuisine before! I got the impression that the owners know him, or at least recognize him as a regular. He was laughing at me (though I'm sure it was a delighted kind of laugh) as I hung over my plate just smelling the dish. It was a chicken with bamboo and onions sautéed in some yummy brown sauce (KyetThar Hmyit Gyaw). It smelled so good, I couldn't help it! I get leftovers for lunch today! I went with mild spice because I wasn't sure what to expect. His dish was pork with pickled mango and medium spice (WetThar ThaYetThee Hin). It was really good. Pickled mango was nothing like what I expected, but really very tasty.

Myanmar is between India and Thailand with China to the north and their cuisine seemed to have elements of all of those (and, of course, things I've never encountered before). There were many noodle and rice dishes, many curry-type dishes, and quite a few vegetarian choices (probably a Buddhist influence). I can see why it's one of his favorite places. OH!! The place has a website! Mandalay Restaurant and Cafe Go nuts; they have the menu online. Drool a little. It's ok. Is it lunch time yet?

On Sunday, we're going to a local street festival. One of Jack's favorite bands is playing there. Saturday is my now annual Halloween Haunt outing with Pat at King's Dominion. We had talked about making this a group trip, but decided since we had cancelled so many get-togethers over the summer it was a good idea to get some quality friend time in. They have a new roller coaster this year that I'm a little intimidate by (somewhat ironic) but I know Pat won't let me out of this one.

This is one of my rare, actually-not-working-at-the-faire weekends, and it's booked!

Oh yes, about last Wednesday- it ended with a serious disagreement between me and the dishwasher that resulted in it spewing water into the cabinet under the sink. Needless to say, my massive pre-date to-do list did not get completed and it looked like my kitchen exploded. Thankfully, I got to finish cleaning up before he arrived on Thursday, and he was perfectly understanding of the mess that was my kitchen. I made sure that mess was no where near getting in the way of my dinner.

The problem was that the output tube that drains the dishwasher into the garbage disposal is a good five inches too short. I can't figure out how the guy got it to fit at all! I can't get it to line up. The rubber hose that connects the two devices was bent at a funky angle and I guess the water pressure was finally too much for it. Unfortunately, since the tube is too short, that might be beyond my do-it-myself capabilities. Fae said she'd help me. No dishwasher or garbage disposal until I get that fixed, though.

I think that's the catch-up for now!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Comcast, You're Killing Me

Not a week after saying I've never had a problem with my service except that one time with hook-up and then I come home yesterday to find no service?? Really? And the best that can be done to fix it is to send a technician on my mother's birthday? And you only care if a business is run on your network if I pay for business class service (which my business does not make enough money to support)? Really?

Not. Happy.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cranberry Glass Dishes


With flash 1


With flash 2


Without flash


Close up of a plate

For those of you who are wondering, dear blog readers, I'm posting these pics because I'm looking for some information. When my grandmother moved into her apartment, she gave me a lot of the things she wasn't taking with her. Among them was this lovely, near complete set of red glass dishes. There are two sizes of plate, three sizes of side plate, mugs, saucers, bowls, dessert dishes, and cream and sugar dishes. They're really quite beautiful!

A friend warned me that metal may have been used to make the red glass and I should avoid the microwave. Also, some of the dishes have white lines (but not straight lines) on them that don't seem to wash off, or wash off and come back. I asked the wonderful Etsy forum people if they can help me at least determine if they're safe to use. I'm so happy to have them, I know they're at least 50 years old, but there are no marks or dates to help identify them. In any event, they're being posted here because some of those fabulous Etsy folks said pictures may help. If you, dear readers, have any thoughts for me, I'll take them too!

Thanks, everyone!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Letter to the House

Dear House,

I love you. I will keep you clean. I will keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I will do my best to prevent Miss Luna from tearing up your carpets. I won't trash you up or tear you down.

I ask that you keep the rain off my head. I ask that you keep your pipes from freezing and that you keep power to your systems. I'll make sure they work right if you just make sure they work.

You have no idea what you mean to me, even after only three months of knowing you. You are freedom. You are the realization of a dream, the attainment of a goal. I love you and what you have done for me.

I think you should have a name. We should think about this together.

Love,
a mortgage-paying Fyrecreek

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Letters to the Cars

Dear Alice,

I will get you an oil change next week. I know it's a little overdue, but I need to get paid.

I'm sorry that weekends at the faire are so hard on you. The dust is hard on me too. But, I need you to run, and I promise I'll take care of you.

I know you're doing far more work for me than you ever did for my grandmother. I'll keep you in top shape to the best of my ability.

Love,
a cruise-controlling Fyrecreek

~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Hedwig,

I know I said I would be with you until you died. I'm sorry it's not going to work out that way.

I promise to find a good, responsible person to buy you. I know you'll take care of them like you took care of me.

When I do find that buyer, I'll miss you. I'll always remember what you did for me. You'll always be my first car.

Love,
a purple-loving Fyrecreek

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Letter to the Cat

Dear Miss Luna,

I promise, not every car ride ends at the doctor. I take you with me because you'll be beside yourself if I left you alone for the weekend. Please learn to live with the drive, it's not so bad and I'm always with you. I know you don't like the cage, but it keeps you safe.

Waking me up at 3 am by clawing the new carpet in front of the closet is not going to get me to feed you any sooner. It is going to get me very very angry.

I bought the house for you too. It's mine and yours. The doctor said you are needy. But I need you just as much.

If I trust someone enough to let them into our house, I trust that they won't hurt you. You don't have to hide. You don't have to like them, but it's your house too and only the closets are off limits.

On that note, if you didn't ruin my nice dresses, the closets would not be off-limits. But, remember the shelf that fell down? Aren't you glad you weren't sleeping in there? Trust me when I tell you it's better this way for both of us (and remember that digging at the carpet will not allow you to tunnel under the door into the closet).

You can't come with me to work. I need you to stay home. You have a very important job: you have to hunt the bugs. I depend on you to help me around the house with this one little task. Please stop crying at the door when I leave for work.

Also, the house is a small place. If I get up to get some water, I'm not going far and I'll be back soon. You don't have to follow me everywhere (I admit I love it when you do, but it's ok to stay sleeping on the couch too).

I love you. We don't speak the same language, but know I'm doing the best I can for you.

Love, Mama

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Letter to Morning

Dear Morning,

First, I would like to tell you that I love you. I love the colors of your sunrises. I love the way you wake up the world with your light. I even love when you hide under the blanket of fog. I love it when you make steam rise from the water. I love the smell of coffee brewing that tells me to get ready for what you will bring. I love waking up knowing that you are just the beginning.

I do have something to ask of you. Could you remind my cat that she should not be waking up before you? I'm sure you hear her loud mews and want to keep sleeping just a little longer too. She seems to be confused. I think she thinks she is the rooster and it's her job to rouse you and me from our beds. If you could have a talk with her, remind her that you rise first, and then you wake me, that would be great.

Also, there are some days when I need you to come not quite so early. I will be happy to tell you the night before. Today was one of those, you came before I was ready. If you could wait a bit, that would really help me out. I'm sure it won't be so bad once you and my cat discuss the proper order of things.

Thanks so much for all you do!

~ a sleepy Fyrecreek

Friday, September 10, 2010

No speel

I posted to my team on the Etsy forums with intent on saying "I barely got a wink of sleep last night." But, I didn't type "sleep," I typed "speel." Case in point!

I went out yesterday and had a lovely evening. I made a bad choice on my route to go home, though (they were paving and I forgot), and it took me far longer than it should have to get home. Miss Luna was annoyed that she had missed her lunch and she told me so. All. Night. Long.

People usually say it's a good idea to get up and do something when you can't speel. I mean sleep. I don't do that and I probably should. When I can't sleep, I get so frustrated that I'm not sleeping. This, of course, doesn't help with the not sleeping thing at all. But, this also wasn't just insomnia, it was a black cat jumping on my bed and meowing as loud as she could in my ear. Over and over.

Despite the not sleeping, I'm feeling pretty good today. As I said, I had a great night out. It's going to be a little cooler for the Renaissance Festival this weekend. And I get to start planning for a craft fair in November. Who needs sleep?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Ready Set DUST

One of the most annoying things about working the Maryland Renaissance Festival is the dust. If it hasn't rained in a while, the fine particles of dirt just float through the air. It turns black shoes brown, covers cars, and coats the inside of your nose, throat, and lungs.

And that's the worst part, because it stuffs up your head and takes away your voice and makes you feel miserable. This past weekend was particularly dusty and particularly busy (with a lot of people kicking up more dust).

I willingly do this every year. Riiiight.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Geekliness

"Your geekliness on the subject of The Phantom and his proper continuity, darling, is wonderful. :)"

Said by my friend Dav (you're right, I've never mentioned Dav.)  in an e-mail conversation where we talked a little about my costume.

Go, geekliness!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Worse

It seems that since Blogger implemented the spam filter for comments, there have been more of them, not less! Don't you stupid people have anything better to do?!?!

I'm making a tiny bit of headway in my septic problem. I found a receipt from the company that did the install five years ago, and it looks like he is licensed. I also have a number for a guy in the next county who might come as far south as me. I'll be making calls tomorrow since I should have a shorter day at OBC, depending on the work.

The problem with only having evenings is that these other companies close up too!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Still a Problem

I thought about checking with my neighbors about my septic problem, because they have the same system I do. It looks like they were never informed of the law that went into effect in April and think they grandfather out of it (it's not so, but I won't turn them in). I suppose the DoH will get to them eventually, just as they put off getting the right documents from previous owners before getting to me.

I need to find a licensed operator and establish a maintenance agreement with them. Everything says you can search the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation's web site to find licensed operators, but their search function is the height of stupid. It will only tell me the name of the person and the license, not the company they represent or how to contact them. How am I supposed to find someone if there is no contact information? Dumb.

Needless to say, I'm still working on it. I hope DoH gives me time.

I didn't say earlier, Robin and I broke up on Monday. We say it was mutual, but I initiated it. I'm not sad, so I don't need sympathies. I'm excited at the prospect of being able to do what I want with my evenings.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Long Awaited

A conversation on the Etsy forums reminded me that I've never posted my Phantom costume from two years ago. I happen to have a pic of me on the work computer that one of my coworkers took. Here it is! Ready for action!


Monday, August 30, 2010

YAWN

Renaissance festival opening Saturday was busy. Sunday less so. And hot. Yes, it was hot. Obscure muscles are sore. Like my shoulders, my back. Probably too much standing. And all the stuff that didn't get done this weekend will have to get done today. The yard needs mowing, the kitchen needs cleaning, the carpet needs vacuuming. My poor kitty begged and begged and begged that I not go to work today. That would have been nice.

No one ever got an operating permit for my septic system, which means it's currently illegal. Virginia laws are really stupid about it too. I have to have a contract with a licensed operator to periodically check the function of the system. I don't know how to find such an operator nor where the money is going to come from to pay for it. Joy. I was able to ignore this problem for most of the weekend, but it gave me a headache of doom on Friday. A neighbor of mine has the same septic system I have. I think I'm going to knock on their door and find out who they have.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Meet Charlotte


It's not the best picture since I had to enhance it for light, but isn't she beautiful?! She's a marbled orb weaver. Her body is this pinkish red and the tips of her legs are black and white striped. Her back is an off-white with that lovely black marbling. She's made her spectacular web right outside my living room window. At night, the gnats and flies are attracted to my living room light and they fly right into her web. I think we have a mutually beneficial arrangement going on. She gets the bugs for me, and my light brings lots of bugs to her. Win/win!

I didn't see her for a few days and got nervous, but she was only hiding in the corner. The afternoon sun shows right on the window and it must be too hot. She's usually building her web in the wee morning hours. There are two male marbled orb weavers on my porch. While they have similar markings, they're not as stunning because they're significantly smaller than the female.

Charlotte is one of my critters. As long as she stays outside, and there's no reason to come in with her prime web spot, she will be safe from Miss Luna. I have a spider!

Friday, August 06, 2010

It's OK to Laugh

Really, it is! The closet story is funny to me too! When I told people the story yesterday, I could feel my eyes tearing up. It wasn't because I wanted to cry over my broken closet, but that I could laugh myself to tears!

We got some spackle compound and some new hooks and I ended up with poles that brace on the floor instead of screw into the wall to hold the thing in place. I think that will work better and bear more weight.

Now, it’s just spackle, let dry, sand, cough up spackle dust, spackle again, let dry, sand, cough up more spackle dust, redrill one hole, replace the shelf. Done! Oh, and then wash spackle dust out of hair!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Don't Open the Closet

Do you remember those cartoons where the kid is told to clean his room and he just shoves everything into the closet and shuts the door, and then mom comes in and thinks everything looks good until she opens the closet and is buried in a landslide of stuff? Yeah....

Sometimes yesterday morning, I needed something from the closet in my bedroom. All of my closets are ClosetMaid wire racks, that is the shelf and the wire to hang stuff on. The closet in my bedroom has my clothes and a bunch of bathroom-type stuff like lotion, bandages, hairspray- the things I don't need every day and don't have room for in the bathroom. So, I got something out of it yesterday morning.

In the evening, I needed something from my closet. To this moment, I swear I have no idea what it was. When I opened the door all the stuff that was on the shelf came rushing at me! It seems that there was an installation error. The rack was anchored to the back wall of the closet, but should have had brackets at the front of the shelf on the sides for extra support. Since all the weight was at the front of the rack (where all the clothes were hanging) the thing just pulled right out of the wall, scraping along the sides and tearing it up as it went down. And since the door was closed, all the stuff just waited until I opened it, freeing the mess to invade the bedroom.

I wasn't home when the wall gave out. I'm sure it gave poor Miss Luna quite a start! I'm glad I wasn't there, though. I probably would have been standing by the door, holding a sword with the police on the phone, yelling at whoever was in my closet to come out. Well. Yeah.

I called mom because I don't even know where to begin to repair the wall. She, of course, doesn't know either, but it helped to talk about it. And laugh at the way the stuff within came tumbling out at me.

My dad is going to come by this evening and look at it and see what I'll need to fix it. I might get a different closet system for this one, more than just a rack. Only because I can. I checked the other two closets and they have the brackets that my bedroom closet was missing so I'm not worried about them. At least that wasn't the closet that Miss Luna sleeps in!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

It Really Is Soft and Comfortable

The other day, I had closed the closet door and poor Miss Luna couldn't get in. Since I'm not ready to cut her off from her safe closet space yet, I opened the door so she could go in and sleep. A little bit later, I decided to see where she was sleeping, since I put the bed over her favorite spot and she never sleeps on the cat bed! Sure enough, there she was on the bed all curled up and cute, fast asleep until I disturbed her.

I'm gald she was using the bed, really. I haven't seen any new cuts on her, I think. Hopefully that means the snow shoes really were the problem and now that she's not sleeping right on them (I mean, she's still on them, but now there's a nice padded bed between her and spiky shoes) she'll stop getting scratched up.

I entered a contest a couple weeks ago and won my kitty a new cat toy! It should be here soon!

Friday, July 30, 2010

I'm Alive

I know, the last you heard from me was killer migraine. I'm really tired and I think I feel a cold coming on, but I'm alive!

Adolf didn't see my e-mail asking to go home until four hours after I sent it. It wasn't that bad, because the Excedrin finally kicked in. I was able to leave an hour early and got home just as my drugs were wearing off. Nice.

I'm still finding random wounds on Miss Luna, and evidence that she's scratching at the bad one on her side. A friend is going to come over this evening and hold her down while I trim her back claws. I'm not convinced the snow shoe was the culprit.

My neighbors behind me have two tiny white kittens, each with one little gray mark on their heads. They are so cute! I haven't met those neighbors yet, but I do watch the kittens when they're out. I think the big, mangy white tom is the father and the black and white that looks a lot like Miss Luna might be the mother. The kittens are probably flea-bitten, but they sure are adorable.

Monday, July 26, 2010

For Monday

I woke up yesterday from a very uneasy night with a stomach and head ache. I was able to get some work done and some mini books made for my new Gnomes (or, printed, at least) but the headache lingered. It was still with me this morning but, naturally, is now a full-blown migraine. I shouldn't have come to work today. It's hard to get anything done when it hurts to have your eyes open.

And then there's that migraine-induced nausea. Maybe I'll be able to last half a day and see if I can go home then. Maybe.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Because It Is Soft and Comfortable

I think I found the kitty cutting culprit. She likes to hide in a closet, there's only one closet that I will let her go in. Eventually, I want to close that door and force her to hide under my bed when she needs a hiding place but, for now, I left the closet open. I kept a little space on the right side free of stuff so she has room to sleep there. But, she doesn't sleep there; she sleeps on the left side on top of things like my folded-up camping chair and a few other things. I inspected that area and found she's been sleeping on my snowshoes! Because of all the straps and things, I've got them in there so one of them is pointy side up. How can that be comfortable?! I didn't see any evidence of pulled fur or blood, but that is the only explanation. They’re not even sharp blades or anything like that, but I really have no idea otherwise.

I put an old cat bed over it, assuring that she will never sleep there again. I don't know what that cat has against cat beds! But, at least it covers the spiky shoes.

I do hope that's it, because that means her cuts should heal up and she'll be fine. They're pretty bad cuts. It’s hard to see things through her long fur, but I was trying to inspect them last night and she was really unhappy with it. I know they’re hurting her. She squeaks if I’m petting her and just run my fingers over the spots. I hope this is it and the bed takes care of it until I close her out of the closet altogether.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dangers of Home

Miss Luna has two big gashes on her right side. I thought the days of finding wounds on her were over, now that she's the only animal in the house. This is not the first time I found a cut on her since moving, but I thought the other one was an older wound. These two are fairly recent.

My cat does not go outside. Certainly no other animals are inside. There is one of two things happening here. Either Buffy is making some kind of contact when we visit my folks (and, even though she's a puppy, I really doubt this is is) or Miss Luna is getting into something at home that is cutting her. Like, jumping off of the cat tree and getting scratched on the corner of my desk. I don't think it's the desk, because it doesn't seem to be showing any evidence of having cut a cat with long black fur, but it might be something like that. She likes to sleep in the closet, but she doesn't sleep on the empty spot of floor that I left for her, she sleeps on a folded metal chair. Her cuts are on the right side (the last one was too). I wonder if there's something in that closet. I'm going to inspect it tonight.

I don't like wounds on my kitty!! I'll get to the bottom of this!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Matriarch

Today is my grandmother's birthday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

She's spent some time in the hospital and a care center but should be allowed back to her apartment today. I will drive the sixty miles to join her and her two daughters for dinner this evening. My mom tried a little to discourage me from coming, because I live far away and have to come back so I can get to work in the morning, but it's ok. You only turn 92 once!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Preparing

While I've had lulls in posts longer than this one, I've got a good reason for being away this time. Preparations!! Unfortunately, it's all Etsy-related, so if you follow me here but don't follow my craft-specific blog (or if you follow me both places!) things are going to overlap. I have to tell you about this, because it's been consuming my week!

First, the very talented Theresa of Faerie Moon Creations has a wonderful blog. Every Thursday, she features two artists who make crazy fabulous items! You guessed it, this week, my Gnomes are making an appearance!

Check out her blog and enter to win a complete Gnome set (that is Garden Gnome, Cape of Warmth, and Gnomish Travel Basket) in the colors of your choice!

I'm also featured with the wonderful Visual Sentiments. You can enter that giveaway too!

Click here to enter and good luck!

And Second is the Christmas in July sale!

Check out my shop for FREE worldwide shipping on all items! See the special Christmas in July section for discounts on Holiday Gnomes and a couple select sets!

You can search Etsy for "christmasinjuly" and "cij" to find other great sales from artists across the site. Happy shopping!

In other news, my aunt is in town from Utah and she and my mother are supposed to come by to see my house tomorrow. I have to clean clean clean tonight!

Monday, July 12, 2010

World Cup Togetherness

If you recorded the game and haven't seen it yet, stop reading now.

Yesterday's World Cup final was one of the ugliest matches I've ever witnessed. And I've seen plenty, I started refereeing as soon as I was old enough to work (ok, technically earlier than that, but only by a season) and played in many leagues until I went to college. The Netherlands, in particular, should be ashamed of how ungentlemanly they played (but Spain wasn't doing a whole lot better). Who really wants to set the record for most cards shown in a single championship game? And they blew the record out of the water with 14 yellow cards. It was set in 1986 at six. It was not a pretty game.

I hear that Netherland coaches, players, and fans are very unhappy with the way the ref called the game. Truth be told, he did them a kindness. He should have shown a red card for that crazy high kick in the 28th minute. They should have been playing a man down most of the game. They got lucky. And the ref kind of made up for giving them an advantage there by not issuing a deserved caution to Spain in the second half. Otherwise, every card was earned and deserved, in my once-professional opinion. A really disgusting game.

But, Spain finally got their goal (with some unbecoming gloating that is not in the spirit of the game), proving Paul the oracular octopus right yet again. I was semi cheering for Spain, but I would have been happy with a deserving victory either way. Ugly game aside, I do think Spain deserved their win. Maybe both teams will learn something and play better the next time they face each other.

Nothing brings the world together like the World Cup.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Friday, July 09, 2010

The Keys

The previous owner of my house didn't have keys to the mail lock box. He didn't live there, you see, so he never had mail going there. A month ago yesterday, I ordered new locks (so that there would be keys so I can get to my mail) and my mail has been held at the annex for me to pick up since.

I was told that they had one person changing locks and he just got back from vacation so it would be two weeks or so for the new locks. I called after two weeks and they were not done. I called after three and four weeks and spoke to a lady who didn't even ask for my name or address to look it up and just said they were not done. How do you know??

I went to the annex to get my mail yesterday. I overheard the workers saying the lock-changing guy ran out of locks and the new supply was not delivered yet. Then they said he is going on vacation again! Then the wonderful lady called the main office, confirmed that my locks had indeed been changed and that my keys were there (even though I had been told that morning they were not done - by the lady who couldn't be bothered to look it up). They're having the keys brought to the annex so I can pick them up today. Yay!

I think I have reason to not be too impressed with the main post office for my zip code, but my mail actually gets delivered out of the annex and those people are wonderful. Thank you, helpful postal people!

I've been a Reiki Master and Teacher since 2006. I haven't actually taught anyone, though. No one has ever taken me up on the offer. I passed my first attunement to Fox last night. I've been working with him more recently, and he expressed wishing I could be there to treat his mother when they visit her next week. Though Reiki works just as effectively by distance and I would do it at his and her consent, I thought it would be better if Fox did it himself. More meaningful to him and to his mother, rather. So, I offered that instead. It took no internal debating on my part. I knew that it was time, and I'm glad I could do that for my friend.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Pirates For the Gulf-Etsians Help Animals Caught In The Oil Spill (please re-blog and re-tweet thanks)

The following was copied from PussDaddy Blogs. It was brought to my attention via Twitter. Since this event is relatively local to me and many of my dear readers, I am spreading the word- as asked!

[copied message follows]

I received this email about how some are helping animals effected by the Gulf oil spill, bless their hearts. If you love animals and would like to help please re-blog this or tweet about it. Thanks so much. I will just copy and paste the email here:

Pirates For the Gulf is the name of the charity organization (we're currently working on getting 501.c3 status) working to benefit the animals and ecological system affected by the gulf oil spill. The fundraiser event will be held at Holly Hills Country Club in Ijamsville, MD on July 17th. The proceeds benefit the National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Institute. The evening will be filled with food, drink, and entertainment. Local businesses have been kind enough to donate their time and items to a raffle being held that night. A local band, belly dance troupe, sword swallower, and tarot reader will be entertaining the attendees, too.

We've contacted many news venues locally but have found it difficult to get the word out nationwide. Our hope is that more people will come together to do similar fundraisers across the U.S.

The oil spill is a much bigger problem than most people seem to know or want to know, the repercussions of which will affect the Gulf of Mexico for many years to come. We feel that every little bit helps to those working to save the animals trapped in the area.

For folks in the MD, VA, or DC area, tickets can be purchased at
www.piratesforthegulf.ticketleap.com and cost $60 each. More information can also be found on our Facebook group, Pirates For the Gulf.

Best Wishes,
The Alchemist's Star
www.thealchemistsstar.etsy.com

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Hi July

I have been a homeowner for one month today!

I'm really loving it. A couple weeks ago, Robin asked me if I got lonely. No. Bored? No. Sad? No. Angry? Only when Miss Luna decided that 0200 is time for breakfast!

Dad and Fox and another of our friend from the Renaissance Festival did come over on the 21st. I met a few more neighbors at the beach. We kayaked maybe four miles of the twelve-mile lake. Despite power boaters and jet skiers and water skiers, it was really quite nice. There is a very small part of me that is thinking about getting a little power boat. You know, after the truck. So we can load the kayaks on it and start at a different part of the lake. Yeah. That's it.

I only have a small reel mower. The thing with that kind of mower is that you have to keep up with the lawn, because if the grass gets too long, the mower will just push the blades over and roll harmlessly over them. I managed to eat something yucky last week and got sick from it, so the lawn didn't get mowed. And then it was hot so the lawn didn't get mowed. I woke up early on Saturday hoping to beat the heat of the day and take care of the lawn before it got to be too much for my mower. There is no such thing as "before the heat of the day" over here! After forty-five minutes and not even half my yard, I nearly passed out! I visited my mom that weekend and she bought me a battery-powered electric mower. I think it was an act of pity.

Mowing the lawn is on my list of things to do this evening.

The funny thing is that I've had more visitors to my home in the month of being there than I had in two years at the condo. And I'm further away from everyone, so it wasn't about the distance. I don't get it. Not that I'm complaining, of course! On Sunday, when my mom followed me home with the lawn mower in her CRV, we put it together, ran out to Applebee's for carry out, and then sat in my little living room and watched a movie. It seems like a simple thing, but it really felt nice.

Hedwig is for sale. Robin helped me put her on Craigslist. I've never sold anything on Craigslist, so this is a little interesting. I've had five inquiries so far. It's hard to get my home in order and worry about selling my car, though. It was probably a little premature to put it up before I could really devote the time to it, but it will be nice to get that off my plate. I'm sorry to be selling her, but I really don't need two Saturns and I really do need a truck. If I could, I would keep her.

Do any of you, dear readers, need a good ten-year-old car? Except that the A/C isn't working, she's in fabulous shape. I was expecting to get at least another five years out of her. I'd be willing to deliver a reasonable distance (reasonable as in something I can get to without killing myself on a Saturday or such!).

I know I said once the move got out of the way, I'd get back to regular postings. Thank you, gentle readers, for your patience with me. I'm still not completely unpacked, but I am mostly settled. I'm sure I'll be able to get back to posting with regularity. Be warned, you might just hear about how tall my lawn is getting!

Oh, and if you shop on Etsy at all- a large group of sellers got together and planned a massive Christmas in July sale! The official dates are July 15th through July 25th, though some shops are doing the whole month. Each seller is running their own sale, so search for tags "ChristmasinJuly" or "CIJ" to find some great sales! Yep, I'll be in on the action too!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Warm Waters

Robin and I walked down to the lake yesterday and I got to put my feet in the water. It was so warm, like bathwater. If I had been prepared for it, I would have jumped right in.

Dad and I are both off on Monday, so we're going to try to kayak. We'd like to bring the boats out to me so we can see what the lake has to offer, but it may not work out. We're still working on it. Eventually, I will get a truck and that would make moving kayaks easier.

I haven't been out kayaking yet this year. Not cool.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Still Unpacking

I admit, the unpacking has gotten old. I wish I could snap my fingers and put everything in place like Mary Poppins. I do feel like diving into some things when I get home today, but I think Robin is planning on coming over. Visitors get in my way.

I also need to get started on getting my programs moved to my new computer. I'd like some time to do that today as well. It's probably not going to happen, especially if I have to entertain all evening. There's never enough time.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Computers and Old Cars

I have a new computer. It's a monster! I love it though. The problem now is that I don't have any of my pertinent files or programs from the other computer on it yet. Does anyone know of a way to install a program from one computer to another if you don't still have the install disks?

In other news, I mowed my lawn yesterday! I have an old reel mower. The grass can't be too high and it can't get very close to edges but it worked. And then I got bit by a tick. Welcome to Virginia!

Ok, I know I've lived in Virginia for the past two years. I suppose a part of me always thought I'd end up back in Maryland. Now that I've bought a place, I think it means I'm here to stay. I certainly have no intention of moving again, but one never can tell the path they'll take.

Hedwig gets some work done today. My mom mentioned that it would be great if I didn't have to sell that car, but I really do need a truck. Honestly, I'd like to keep it too. I always said I'd drive Hedwig until she died. It's not like I don't have the drive space for three vehicles (two cars and the truck that I need to get), and two of them are paid for, but I would have to still insure them all, and that may prove difficult.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Visitors

Someone listed my house for rent on Craigslist yesterday. We are not amused. The listing was gone this morning, so I figure some of the people who came by to look at the house must have gone back and flagged the listing (I don't use Craigslist, so I'm not entirely sure how this works). Some details still come up in a Google search, though. Anyway, I sent an e-mail to their abuse address. I'm still quite shook up about it. The info I was able to find had it listed as $700 a month. No wonder so many people came by last night. Not cool.

I now know it's actually a popular scam for people to collect 'rent' payments at some PO Box because they can't actually lease the property they said they were leasing. I'll keep my eyes open in case it pops up again.

Miss Luna is not eating. She's acting very lethargic. I hope it's just stress and will settle down. Maybe it has something to do with all the visitors yesterday, though it started before they did. I'm going to try some alone-time with her this evening and see if that helps.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Is Anyone Home

YES!!!

So, my team of people (including my crazy, fabulous Realtor, the attorney and title company people she works with, the loan officer and the owner of the mortgage company, the folks at FHA, and who knows who else) worked like crazy over Memorial Day weekend and the early part of last week to get everything in place by my new settlement date of last Thursday. We were even sitting at the settlement table waiting for the last of the paperwork to be faxed over. To make a long story short (and, trust me, it's long) everyone did what they needed to do and everyone got the information they needed to get and I signed a bunch of papers. Yay!!

Unpacking and getting things set up is a process that I really hope to have finished in a month. We'll see how that goes!

Moving brings with it other hassles. A Comcast guy came out on Saturday to hook me up with TV and Internet, but didn't stick around long enough to see that the modem isn't working. The soonest they can get someone else out to me is Thursday evening. It's really really hard to be without Internet! (And, by the bye, my Etsy store will remain closed until I can get an Internet connection at home, and my updates here will continue to be sporadic as well.) I'm slowly working through the list of businesses that need my new address, and I need to see about moving my business license to the new county. And, I don't have a key to the mailbox, the previous owner never had one because he didn't live there. I'm going to run by the nearest post office and see what I need to do about that today.

My to-do list is still a mile long!

Miss Luna is very uneasy. I hope she'll settle down soon, because I'm not getting a whole lot of sleep. I think she will. I think she'll really like being the only animal in the house. And she has plenty of spiders to eat. What more could a cat want?

So much to do! I will have a housewarming party (probably in July). Just wait till you see the cake I will bake!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Snagged

I was supposed to settle on Tuesday. It looks like that won't happen.

The short of it is that the seller didn't actually purchase the property; he purchased a contract for deed (which just isn't done anymore). A contract for deed is, well confusing. Basically, whoever he purchased that from still holds the title to the property until the installments are paid (unlike a traditional mortgage where I would get the title but my mortgage company will hold a lien, if that makes any sense). FHA needs him to prove that he has equity in the property and the right to sell it, if he doesn't have the title, he may not have the right. They need two attorneys to weigh in on this. One opinion is in ("it's all good") and we're hoping the second opinion gets to FHA today. The problem is compounded because it's a holiday weekend. Lawyer #2 may not get to it today and, if he does, FHA may not review it today. Meaning we won't get the go ahead in time for Tuesday.

It's completely out of my hands. There is nothing that I did and nothing I can do. I'll have no choice but to live with my parents until this is worked out.

The vast majority of my stuff is already at the house. We've filed a contract addendum to push back settlement until Thursday (because, if we don't and Tuesday gets here and we don't settle, the contract is void and I'm back to square one with no tax credit). I have to find something to do with my second car, because I don't want to have to shuttle it all the way to MD. I've got the additional day off of work that I needed. I need to cancel set up with Comcast on Wednesday, and I have no idea when I'll be able to get them back out to set me up.

Frustrated is not an adequate word for what I'm feeling.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Stuff

A scene from The Incredibles keeps playing over and over in my mind:

Helen: "We are now officially moved in!"
Bob: "That's great, honey. And the last three years don't count because?"
Helen: "Because I just unpacked the last box. Now, it's official. Ha ha ha!
Why do we have so much junk?"

Seriously, you never know how much crap you really have until you have to pack it up and move it.

I got my books done. Most of them will probably end up donated to a library, since I have my Kindle and don't read dead trees anymore. But, it's just as easy to box the lot and go through them later. I am on a time table after all. I also have more DVDs than I thought. I need to get another disk organizer (or two). I finished the bathroom too.

I still have the trinkets in the living and dining rooms, all my stuff in the kitchen, all my craft stuff, all my desk stuff, and other things. Lots and lots of things. Oh, and hats and coats. We might be making several trips back and forth from the condo! Some things will probably have to be packed on Saturday too.

I suddenly feel very unprepared!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Two Weeks and Counting

I CLOSE ON THE HOUSE IN TWO WEEKS!! AHHH!!!

But, I only have one week to pack because I move my stuff in this weekend. I've got all my clothes boxed up (except winter coats). I have too many clothes. I'm going to finish the books today, and pack up the bathroom (what I don't need for the next two weeks, that is). Then, I'll pack up the DVDs, which shouldn't be too bad. Depending on what time does to me today, I'll get started on the myriad of craft things.

I want to have all the things packed by tomorrow, or just a few things left over on Thursday, so all I have to do is take apart the IKEA furniture on Thursday (and there will be time to do some of that on Saturday, I think, too). I'm heading home with my dad Friday night so we can start as early as possible from there on Saturday.

Miss Luna is safely out of the way at my parents' house. I miss her. I know it's temporary while I pack and move, but I miss having her around. I think she'll be very happy in a house with no other animals. I found two bites on her when I took her home this weekend. I can't be angry, because none of us can control what cats do and there's no telling that she didn't bite any of the other cats, but it still upsets me. At least they didn't abscess. I'll be glad to give her the run of the place.

I finally got my grandmother's car titled in my name and registered in Virginia. It's now my car! Her name is Alice (the light pinkish lavender color makes me think of Wonderland). Now, if only LDS would get a move on buying Hedwig from me, if she is even still interested in doing so. Robin said we shouldn't have a problem selling it locally if it comes to that. At the very least, I might just need to buy a couple tires to get it sell-worthy. Well, we'll see where LDS is about that some time today.

I think that's everything. Holy smokes! I settle in two weeks!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Next Step is Waiting

I spoke with my Realtor yesterday. She says everything is moving along just as it should be. All we really have to do is wait for my "move stuff in" day on the 22nd and settlement on the 1st. I've got my truck reserved, Comcast scheduled to come out on the 2nd and hook me up, and the power ready to be switched over to my name.

The plan is that my Etsy store will be in vacation mode at the end of the week. I'll take my computers and Miss Luna home to my folks this weekend, then it's pack pack pack and more pack! I'm renting the truck from near my folks' place so we can swing by my grandmother's and pick up all the stuff she has for me. Sound like a plan? That's the plan!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Process

I've been trying to write this post all day!

Work is busy. WAM crossed the line this morning. She came over to ask my opinion on something work-related that she was doing, and I told her I thought it was unnecessary. She went on and on (the way she does) about how she has to "cover all [her] bases." And when I didn't change my mind about it, she said "you have to cover all your bases when you're buying a house." That's when I told her to shut up, and then explained what happened to Adolf, who wasn't in the office yet at the time. Adolf gave her a talking to, and apparently she's been spoken to about how she spends her mornings before. I know that she was crying or close to it when she went in to her meeting. Then she left. There are still things on her desk, so I don't know what that means.

I feel bad that it turned into a bad morning for her, but honestly, whatever she thinks she has to do for her job is completely unrelated to what is going on in my private life. I'm going to share my news with people, that's the way of people, but there was no reason for her to bring that up at all - to imply that I didn't know what I was doing or wasn't doing something right when she has no idea about how I'm doing on that front. I know I shouldn't have used the words "shut up" but I just couldn't help it. What is going on in my life had nothing to do with what she was talking about and she had no place to mention it as a means of getting the last word.

And, about that.

My contract was accepted, but at a little more than what I had offered (but still less than the listing price). He wants to close on June 1st, which means I'll have one night of no where to live. Since he understands that, he's letting me move my possessions in the weekend before so I'll have time to get the condo cleaned and all of that. Miss Luna and I will just stay with my folks for a few nights. We had the home inspection on Tuesday and found some little things and a few large things that needed to be fixed. As far as I can tell, the owner did not argue with my Realtor about any of it, so it looks like he's going to do them. Thank you, dude!

My official loan application is being processed. My insurance company has been called to set up a homeowner policy. Everything is going right where it needs to be going. I had the mother of all migraines a couple nights ago because of the stress of everything, but it's better now. Better, because everything is coming together as it should be.

My grandmother's car is also in my possession and needs some work to get back up to where it needs to be. Still, my mechanic thinks it's going to be great once we get all the work done. The money from the sale of Hedwig to LDS will just cover it. I was hoping to use that for something else, but I'll make do.

So, really, everything is great! A friend of mine said there is a special kind of hell that is home-buying and I'm in the middle of it, and she's right. But, at the same time, I'm where I should be.

And it's grand.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fingers and Toes Crossed

I made an offer on a house today!!

It's small (but how much space does one person need? Don't answer that, Fox!), but I just love it. It has two bedrooms and one bathroom, is on its own septic system and has a private well. It's on less than a quarter acre of land, but surrounded by trees and a lake (and neighbors) is not far away. It's a mere 14.6 miles from my office!

I should hear sometime this evening if my offer was accepted.

I'm STARVING!! I only had breakfast today, met with the Realtor at 10:00, and got done with everything around 16:00. Thankfully, my aunt is visiting and she always wants Ledo's Pizza. I'll be heading that way for dinner very soon.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Gone Again

With last week's update, I was hoping to get back to my regular posting. Then the weekend happened. And then something that I couldn't plan and couldn't pass up happened. I was finally given the shove that I needed to start earnestly looking for a home again.

And what a shove it was! My loan has been pre-approved. I have a list of homes (mostly town houses) that I'm going to look at tomorrow. My Realtor is confident I can get under contract by the end of the month, which is the deadline to qualify for the first time home buyer tax credit. With all of this, I only need to find a home I love.

It's all happening so fast, but IT'S HAPPENING! Those of you who have been reading for a while know what this means to me.

So, despite my best efforts to post with the frequency that you, gentle readers, are used to, my life and my goals just took off without warning (to me or anyone else!). Expect my presence to be erratic for a time while this new path of my life sorts itself out.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Where Have I Been

Well, here. Extremely and annoyingly busy. Thanks, those of you who have sent e-mails asking if I'm ok. I am. Mostly.

I've been getting a lot of overtime at work. This is most often a good thing, but it is very tiring. This seems to be at an end, but will likely start up again in May.

Robin and I had a fight, and have come out better together for it. A little time, a little patience, a little understanding. It's all good.

For the past couple weeks, I've been having a recurring nightmare. We're fighting for our lives against a zombie infestation. The zombies are winning. It's been every night since the end of March except for three. The same thing, with all the blood and gore of a B-rate horror flick. I've tried to program my dream-self with lots of guns. I've tried to think of other things hoping the nightly visions would change. I've tried to write it down to appease the nightmare gods. I even tried to fight zombies with zombies by watching zombie movies. So far, nothing is successful except for staying up too late and being so exhausted that I don't dream at all.

So, I decided to add Zombie Gnomes to my shop as a regular item! They're not up yet, but you can check out a sneak peek on my craft blog.

I've missed two weeks of Weight Watcher updates. Monday's meeting had me at 4.2 lbs down in those two weeks, making my total loss 18 lbs since I started! Yay! I'd still like to keep going, but it looks like they don't have enough people signed up at the office for another session. I will continue with this plan on my own, though. I've seen results and I like them.

I think that's everything! Tomorrow, I'm meeting Robin's mother at a mini birthday party. I've promised to bring cheesecake.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

How To Train Your Dragon

SEE THIS MOVIE!

It was fabulous. The animation was great, the score was wonderful, the story was adorable and endearing.

It was just great. Go see it. Don't forget to blink. Of course, even when I realized I wasn't blinking, I didn't want to. Just go see it.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Sloof Lirpa

¡ʎɐp sןooɟ ןıɹdɐ ʎddɐɥ

I know I've been scarce lately. I've been very busy working on new things for my shop. I'll get back into the swing of things soon. I promise!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Tiny Bit Late

I just filed my taxes! I usually do that in February. I don't know what I put it off this year.

In any event, something back from Federal and what amounts to nothing from state (but not owning either). That return is going to Miss Luna's bills. I'm wearing that down bit by bit!

Now I need to pack up a bit and head home. My parents and I are going to the Terracotta Warrior exhibit at the National Geographic Museum tomorrow! And there might be Cherry Blossoms too!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tonight

Etsy is hosting a chat with CPSA officials to address the concerns that small business owners like me have with the CPSIA. I'm seriously tired, but I will be there!

In other news, I signed up for a shop on Zibbet.com. I've been thinking of splitting things up, like moving mala and spirit dolls to their own shop. Or, I can keep doing what I'm doing and have similar items on both venues. I'm not sure yet. I may even want to try something new, but who knows what that will be! Any thoughts for me on that? Zibbet is a new handmade marketplace compared to Etsy, and it doesn't have nearly the same amount of web traffic. The benefit is that basic accounts are free, and it might we worth it to get in while it grows. It's something to try, to not put all my eggs in one basket, as it were. Don't worry, friends, my Etsy shop isn't going anywhere!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Weekend Review

I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to really talk about my weekend visit with my brother. It was busy!

On Friday, my parents and I packed up the CRV, put the dog, Buffy, in her special car seat, and headed down the road. It was a long drive, longer than usual because we had to stop more frequently to let the tiny dog walk. She was a little nervous in the car, but eventually settled down. She also did very well on her leash, I know my parents were working hard to get her ready for that.

We got to the hotel and mom took a nap while dad and I went for a brief swim in the saline pool. It was different. It still smelled like chlorine, but not as bad, and it didn't sting when you opened your eyes. I have issued opening my eyes underwater since my surgery anyway, but it was nice that it didn't burn!

We met up with my brother and Moon and they took us to a yummy Mexican place for dinner. The evening ended with plans to get an early start for Saturday, as it would involve an hour drive through the mountains to the Monterey Maple Festival.

This is the biggest thing to do out here other than the book fair. There is one road leading to Monterey from the eastern Augusta County, US 250, that was once the only east-west road to Richmond before the interstate was built. It wound through the mountains and national forests of Highland County. Just to give you an idea of how much in the middle of nowhere this place is, according to my brother, the total population of Highland County is 2500 people. This is a tiny point in Virginia, bordered on two sides by West Virginia. There are several other Maple Festivals, it's all really one big county-wide thing, but the best place is Monterey.

There were things like crafts, fresh-made pork rinds, homemade maple syrups and olive oils, local honey, and fresh, hot, unbelievably yummy maple donuts. We spent the better part of the morning here, browsed the booths, ate an early lunch, and piled back into my brother's truck with two dozen donuts.

Upon getting back to the house, we watched Monsters Vs Aliens and then had dinner at the Depot Grille in Staunton. This place is awesome. It's located at the Historic Staunton Station and the food is spectacular. My mom and I had been here once before on an earlier trip. I like Staunton (don't pronounce that U or the locals will have a fit!). It's a nice, old town.

I swam for an hour Sunday morning to try to make up for the non-Weight Watcher-friendly meals I had consumed over the last few days. We checked out and went to my brother's place in the late morning. Then we just hung out, with Animal Planet on the TV. Mom and I ran out to pick up lunch and then we were on our way back to the civilized world of Northern Virginia before 1600.

It was a fun, busy, and exhausting trip. I'm still trying to get back to my regular sleeping patterns, though it's hard because Aura is in heat (that's another story altogether).

Monday, March 22, 2010

Weekly Weigh-in 8

I feared this week. I spent the weekend with my parents, my brother, and his wife for his birthday. I ate a lot of crap, there just came a point where I stopped tracking. I was afraid at what the scale would say. How much weight would I gain back after one dreadful weekend?

Thankfully, it wasn't much at all. Only 4 tenths of a pound. I can live with that!

So, this time I learned that it really helps to track what I eat. Even if I'm going outside of my daily points, even if I'm going outside of my weekly points, I need to pay attention to what I'm eating. I don't know why that works, really. I guess it holds me accountable. Maybe I'm less likely to eat crap if I keep counting the crap. I don't know, but that is what really works.

I'm also getting back into the realm of people who like to tell me they think I look fine (my roommates, in particular). That's great, and thank you, but if I'm not satisfied, you thinking that I am isn't going to help me. And still, I will maintain this is not about weight. This is about turning healthy choices into a habit. So far, the 12 lbs that I've lost have almost all been from adjusting what I eat. I haven't really been exercising to add to it. I'm feeling good, except for when I eat crap, so that must count for something.

Friday, March 19, 2010

On The Road

I'm blogging from my iPod! My parents and I are going to visit my brother today. Should be fun!

I wish I could have taken Miss Luna with me, but my roommates said they would take good care of her. We are bringing Buffy with us. I hope she'll be ok for the long drive.

I have something more about the drive with Robin yesterday but that will have to wait until I'm back at a computer.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Bit of Wisdom

"Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt."
~ William Shakespeare

Continuing Story

So he has some inkling that he upset me, if only a little. The plan was for dad to swing by my place and pick me up after he gets off of work - we're visiting my brother this weekend. Robin wants to drop me off instead. That's really a ridiculous notion, because my parents live fifty miles away and dad is already heading in that direction and wouldn't have to come back. And I'm not really ready to talk any further right now, nor do I want to pretend there's nothing to talk about. I don't know how to say that without him thinking that I'm angry or more than a little upset and showing up anyway. I want to focus on the fun weekend I'm going to have with my family.

I don't know what to do and I feel like (though I know that's not the reality) that I need to know now.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Talking At Me

So, this evening, despite the fact that I had a ton of stuff to do in preparation for my weekend, Robin told me that he'd been thinking about what he wants out of his future. It involves graduating college and getting a high-paying job, and eventually marriage and children. I'm ok with all of this, except he's nearly six years younger than me (which means the time-frame doesn't quite match up) and a Sri Lankan native. His plan includes sending wife and kids to Sri Lanka, while he stays here to work, so that kids can grow up in that language and culture. I'm having a really hard time seeing how monolingual American me fits in there.

But he must think there's room somewhere, or he wouldn't have brought it up at all, right? Like, maybe he has some idea that his plan isn't practical or realistic. Or maybe he'd be willing to change it because I can't play the role that he expects. I don't want to give up on something that may be everything I want, but I don't want to waste my already-dwindling time with this if it's got nowhere to go.

I mean, if he and I were to have children, I wouldn't be against them learning his native language and culture in the least bit, but I'm not capable of raising them in it, being not of it myself. Would I be too drastic if I make an attempt to start learning Sinhalese now? What does it mean if I'm even thinking about it? And then after all of that discussion, he said he didn't want to talk about it anymore because he thought it upset me. How can we not talk about it? Is it fair to me to hold on when he thinks I'm not going to be the other half of his plan? He's worried that I'm going to be 36 by the time he thinks he'll be ready to have kids. Frankly, I figured I'd have all of that by now. I must be doing something wrong.

I have too much on my plate to even think about this right now, but I can’t not think about this.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Weekly Weigh-in 6 and 7

You'd be right if you noticed I didn't post an update on my DIEt progress last week. I had other things on my mind! I did run to the meeting to get weighed. I gained .6 of a pound. It was probably all from that Sunday, so it didn't really bother me.

Today's weigh-in, however, was back where it should be. I lost 1.4 lbs from the previous week. I actually did pretty bad as far as my eating choices, so I'll take that 1.4 lbs. Total loss from the beginning is nearly 13 lbs. I think I'm still on track!

So, for these past two weeks, I've learned that Sunday brunch is a killer. That's probably to be expected, really. I can make better choices, I just didn't. I have been to a brunch the past two Sundays.

I've also learned that my stomach is adjusting to the amount of food it gets. Normally, my brunch consists of a breakfast course, a lunch course, and a fruit and dessert course. Both weeks, I skipped the lunch course altogether and still ate more than I should have. No regrets; it was yummy, and I could be satisfied on a 1 or 0 point soup dinner.

I do plan to give a Sunday brunch a good guesstimate, so I know what to plan for next time. I still am certain I didn't break the bank on either week.

Join The Hunt

It's here! The Etsy Goodie Goodies Team invites you to join our EGG HUNT!! Egg Team members have hidden eggs somewhere in their Etsy shops. Your goal is to find the eggs! You have between now and April 3rd.

Go to http://etsygoodiegoodiesteam.blogspot.com/ for rules of the game and how to enter. The prize is fabulous!



Good luck!


The eggs in my shop have to be Gnome-appropriate, you know!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pulling

I talked to my dad yesterday. He told me about his morning. When he got up and started to head downstairs, he reflexively looked into my old bedroom expecting to find Callie on my bed - one of her many regular nap sites.

Honestly, I expect I'll go searching for her the next time I visit too. But I know exactly where she is.

The routine is interrupted. How long before it settles?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Callie Baby

It was January of 1999. We wanted another cat though, since we already had one, I can't remember why. I think I just wanted one, and my parents were ok with it.

We decided to go to the shelter instead of waiting for the "Free Kittens" signs that always somehow appeared. Dad and I went looking first. We needed a cat that would be ok with other cats, because of the one we had. There was a beautiful silver tabby with bright green eyes about a year old, and a cage full of little kittens. The little calico was the sweetest cat in that bunch, and the volunteers said everyone just adored her. The silver tabby was a nice cat, but he hissed at the kitten my dad was holding when I brought him near her. Unfortunately, that meant he was not a good candidate for our home. But that calico, she got along with the other kittens just fine. At the end of that visit, we were set on the calico, but had to bring my mother and brother by for their approval before the shelter would let us adopt her.


When we came back with the other humans of our household, they let me hold the kitten of choice. She was in the middle of a nap, and she kept on napping there in my arms. A few days later, my parents came into the pharmacy where I worked with the sweet calico in tow. I called her Callista, which means "the most beautiful," but that was a long name for a little six month old kitten, so we just called her Callie.

Callie grew into quite a large cat. She was very complacent, putting up with the other cat, Ichus, teasing her. After my brother got married and moved out and took Ichus with him, we got Miss Luna. Callie still put up with her, but dad and I could tell she would be happier being the only cat in the house.

Right before I moved out, Callie developed diabetes. She came very close to dying then, because it took us a while to realize what was wrong, what was causing her sudden and drastic weight loss. She stopped using the litter box and spent her days just loafing around. When I left, I took Miss Luna with me. I couldn't take Callie, because of the litter box issue. I will be forever grateful to my parents for how they stepped up and took care of our suddenly ill cat. Even my mother gave her insulin shots.

Callie improved with insulin and seemed to be happier since she had the house to herself (and my parents, of course). She was living, though not altogether thriving. I wonder if she missed me. I think she might have, because she always slept with me when I came to visit. It's been about two years since she was diagnosed, a few months before her twelfth birthday.

Last weekend, I wasn't sure she was doing that well. She spent the whole time on my bed and barely ate. When I came home this past Saturday, I didn't see much of her, and she didn't sleep on the bed with me. By the time I was ready to come home Sunday afternoon, just about 1600 or so, she was in a dreadful state. She was drooling goo. She huddled up to dad, who was on the floor holding her. We talked about taking her to the vet in the morning. With one more kiss on her sweet head, I headed home - fearful.

Around 1900, my dad called to tell me they took her to an emergency hospital. There was a bit of a screw up on the part of the hospital, because Callie needed to be revived but it somehow didn't get to the doctor right away that she was diabetic. Once the doctor knew what was going on, he was able to do something about it. Even though her blood glucose level was at zero, she seemed to be responding. But brain damage was highly likely.

As I learned Monday morning, the doctor called my parents around 0200 to say that Callie was experiencing seizures. They knocked her out with valium, but that didn't stop the convulsing. Dad made the decision to have her euthanized. Dad told me at work, and we both left early so we could bury our baby kitty in the back yard next to Buttons and all the mice and hamsters and guinea pigs and parakeets. I did not want dad to have to do that alone, and I've never had a chance to bury any of the beloved cats who came before her. I wasn't going to miss it.

Afterwards, over dinner, as mom was looking over the bill from the hospital, I was half-expecting her to say something about being free of the burden of a diabetic cat. Mom is good at downplaying when she wants to be, and I really felt that she thought Callie was sometimes a pain to deal with. It wasn't always that way, of course, just after Callie got sick and started using the carpet as her litter box. Looking at that bill, about half the cost of Miss Luna's recent care, she wistfully said "at least we tried." At least we tried. If they had waited to bring her to a doctor in the morning, she would have died in the night, and we all would have felt guilty, like we didn't do enough to save her. I was wrong about how mom felt.


In a way, we got two more years with Callie than we would have had. And somehow, we knew that one day the diabetes would be the end of her. Even so, she outlived every cat I had before her. I think she knows that she takes my love with her.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Callie's Love

Callie had to be put down during the night. Going home soon so dad doesn't have to bury her alone. More later.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Obsessed

I pulled my new iPod Touch out at lunch today. I made a comment to LDS about the new game I had downloaded. She then said, "I think you're obsessed."

"I'm not obsessed!" I countered.

"Just consider this a failed attempt at intervention," she said.

Wait. What?

Monday, March 01, 2010

Weekly Weigh-in 5

It's been seven weeks since I started this plan. It counts as six weeks because we had to cancel one (because of the feet of snow) and it will be added to the end. So, seven weeks that counts as six weeks since one of those weeks was two weeks long, and he fifth weigh-in.

You females out there know that there are times during the month when the scale says something that it shouldn't. I've been wearing jeans (adds 2 lbs easily) at every weigh-in, deciding to go with consistency for a more accurate reading. This time, I went with a lighter fabric of pant to off-set the weight that my body is retaining because of the time that it is.

It must have worked, because I lost 2.8 lbs from last week, bringing my total for the seven weeks to 11 lbs even!

This past week, which was my first week eating a point less a day, I found it just as difficult as I used to to fill my diet with veggies and things. Part of it was that I felt busy, maybe rushed, and cooking doesn't really fit in there. But, I'll take another stab at it this week and see if it gets better.

All in all, I feel great. And I feel like I can keep this up. And I feel like it was the right thing to do to get myself back under control.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Activities

I am seriously wiped out today. And no, I wasn't up late last night reading. I was up late doing something else entirely!

But, I have to stop by the post office (crazy fun things are happening on my Etsy team. I'll let you, which I consider the non-Etsy crowd but not to say that Etsy folks can't read here too, in on it also). And I will go to the weekly fiber crafts night because I need some designated crafting time.

I also need some sleep. Maybe there will be time for a quick nap.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Goal

Well, maybe not really a goal. It there a word for something you want to do (like a dream) that you want to strive for (like a goal) but won't really break you if you never do it? It's just a want, but it would be neat kind of thing, is there a word for that?

I would like to write something and self-publish it on the Kindle.

The catch would be that it would have to be something I wouldn't try to publish otherwise, because the vast majority of publishers frown upon things that have been published before. So it's best to choose something that I maybe won't try to publish in book form. For example, I saw a comment on the forums from an indy author who said his publisher loved one of his stories, but wouldn't publish it because it was a Western, and Westerns don't sell. So he did it on is own on Kindle, and I believe he reported it does fairly well.

I have several things in the works right now and it would be fun to be a published Kindle author. It's just something to do (like I need something else to do). We'll see.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's Here!

My Kindle arrived this morning! I was expecting it tomorrow!!

Ok, those of you who know my financial woes (check out the cat label) are probably wondering why I bought the thing that I've been planning to buy since September. It's expensive, you're right. Could I have put that money towards my bills? Sure, well, some of it, anyway.

I got it now because my wonderful and generous family and friends made it possible (on top of a discount that I found for the device).

So, I ordered it on Friday. Amazon tracking said it wouldn't be shipped until Wednesday, but that changed yesterday when Wednesday became the expected delivery date. I had it sent to the office so someone would be here when it arrived. It was kind of funny, the receptionist sent me an e-mail at 1030 and I went down at once to get it. Her desk was piled with boxes, and I removed only one of them from her way - the smallest of them!

I plugged the thing in so it would charge and got to read (free books that I pushed to my device from my desktop) a little on my break. What fun! It really is an awesome device. I haven't tried the text to speech yet. And I need to pick out the next audio book that I want to hear.

I'm happy to have it. I know I will get plenty of use out of it and it didn't really kill me any more to buy it now. Shopping therapy has its merits.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Weekly Weigh-in 4

This past week was one of my worst, comparatively speaking. Last week, Sunflyr and I ordered pizza and I've been taking all week to eat it. I just came home from Fox's super weekend epic gaming birthday bash that involved two restaurant dinners, lots of (extremely good-tasting) crap to snack on, and the ever-dreadful birthday cake. I didn't use more points than I had this week, but I did use more of the weekly points than I have since I started. After all of this, I was certain the number on that scale would stay the same if it didn't go up.

I was wrong! It went down! A whole 2.2 lbs down!! I'm less than a pound away from having lost 10 lbs!

Why in the world is the word "pound" but the abbreviation lb??

So, I've learned that I can fill myself with crap and still be ok, as long as I measure out my portions and reasonably calculate what is in what I eat.

Subsequently, I've learned that I can still enjoy a party! Huzzah!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Grumble

STOP WITH THE NONSENSE COMMENTS ALREADY!!

Ok, I know you're all bots and you're trying to see if your comments will post automatically so you can come back and spam my blog about enlarging penises and gambling and getting really cheap drugs from Canada. Even though I don't publish your crap, I still have to look at it. It sickens me that you (or the people who program you) don't have anything better to do with their time. You all are a waste of space and when you die, you will be remembered by no one.

Test Results

I finally heard from the doctor about Miss Luna's last test. She called on Tuesday, but I didn't get a chance to get back to her until yesterday.

The results were inconclusive.

This kind of toxo screening is an antibody titer - it looks for the concentration of toxo antibodies in her system. A high concentration would show an active infection. There were more antibodies than when she was first tested in the emergency hospital on January 10th, but not high enough to lead the doctor to believe she was fighting an active infection. This means Miss Luna's exposure to toxo was likely years ago, probably when she was a stray kitten. She has toxoplasmosis, that much is sure, but nothing says for sure that toxo was the cause of her sickness, or even that exposure to something else (like the bartonellosis that the other cat has) would cause it to manifest symptoms.

What does all this mean? Well, it means we don't really know what caused the fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, and very obvious neural distress that landed her in the emergency hospital. We don't know if the antibiotic course she was given for toxo would take care of whatever the cause was if it was something else. It means we don't know if she could get sick again, and we'll have to go through this whole process again. That part of it really fills me with dread. I never want to see her moving like that again. Further more, since we don't really know, we don't know if she will expose Callie to anything if I were to bring her with me when I visit the folks.

What we do know is that, exposure to bartonellosis or not (which we did not test for but it is highly likely she has it too), bartonelosis does not cause the neurological symptoms that I witnessed. There was something else going on, and it may or may not be the toxo. And I may never know for sure.

I'm going to visit some friends this weekend. Right now, I really wish I wasn't. I really want to stay home with my kitty. I haven't gone away for more than one night (and that was only once) since she got sick and, remember, she got sick after I came back from being away for an extended weekend. I can't help but be a little worried. Physically, Miss Luna seems back to her old self, but I don't know what almost three whole days away from me will do. Remember, as the doctor said, Miss Luna needs me. Phoenix said she would be home all weekend and would keep an eye on Miss Luna for me and would call if she seems to be even slightly out of sorts. So, I just need to breathe and go about my plans, and trust that my roommate would let me know of any changes. I think she thought I was being just a little too anxious. I can't help it. I need Miss Luna too.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Weekly Weigh-in 3

Our leader cancelled last week's meeting because of the weather and will add it to the end of this paid plan. She couldn't make it this week, so we had a substitute.

My weigh-in was 2.6 lbs lost from the last time two weeks ago. That puts me a mere half a pound away from hitting my first 5% goal and 7 lbs less from when I started! And, by the way, I am a little less than 3 lbs away from being back at a healthy BMI for my height.

I got a bravo sticker (it's a little star that says "bravo" awarded for doing something good on or about the plan) for planning ahead of time for eating out. I specifically talked about dinner with Robin last Friday night. We went to Outback Steakhouse, and I planned in advance what I was going to eat, how I was going to have it prepared, and what portion I needed to take home so I knew exactly how many points I spent on that meal. Eating out is a breeze if you plan for it. I looked at several of the things that I would want to eat, and picked the best point-choice out of all of them, so I wasn't depriving myself by not eating what I wanted and I wasn't going too crazy with it.

I'm feeling really great today!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy New Year

Out with the old!


In with the new!


Happy Lunar New Year!
Welcome to the Year of the Tiger!