Friday, November 30, 2007

Hey! We did It!

"Blogger" by Vlad

Today is the end of NaBloPoMo! CONGRATULATIONS!! to everyone who hung in there and managed to post everyday! Cheers!! to us!

I'm amazed that I actually did manage to post every single day. When I started I thought I would have to miss a couple of days for a planned weekend of travel, but the trip was cancelled, so I didn't even miss what I'd planned to miss. I will admit that because of illness, family emergencies and such, I did have to rely on posting some quickies, like some You Tube videos, "My Power Bird" - things of great interest to everyone who is out there searching in blogland. But, at least I came to the computer and made sure that I posted SOMEthing! And, I wrote everyday when I could. It may not have been earth-shattering, but it's hard to be interesting everyday for a month, you know. Actually, I'm not sure that I'm all that interesting anyway. That was not the original purpose of this blog. It's supposed to be a place to post about my art. But, I'm not so sure that that is all that interesting either. But some people like to look at the pictures when I have something new to show, which I will have soon, if inquiring minds want to know. I'm quilling some Christmas ornaments right now.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Could Be My Worst Buying Decision Ever

My friend and I were in the mall and some kids skated past us. They were wearing those cool shoes that have the wheels in them. They make it look so easy, as though you can walk along and if you want to skate you push a magic button and the wheel pops out and off you go. I said, "I wish they had those in adult sizes. I'd love a pair." I meant it, too. I loved to roller skate as a kid.

I had the old metal skates that we had to adjust with a key that we wore on a string around our neck. I know some of you remember those, don't you? I also went to the roller rink on Saturdays - I think my parents sent me there or to the movies to get a few hours of peace. My point is that I really liked roller skating.

Back to my story - a few days later, my friend calls me and she's been doing some online research. "Hey, you know those shoes with the skates? They DO make them in adult sizes. Isn't that cool?" She tells me they're called Heelys because the wheel is in the heel - isn't that clever? They have them at Of course, we order them! She wants to try them out at University Mall because it's a nice flat surface - it should be a good place to skate. Sounds good. We couldn't wait for them to come.

When I get mine and read about them, I realize that there is no magic button. hmmm You either have the wheel in or you don't. You walk or you skate. How did those kids do that? They made it look like they were walking, then decided to skate. I put the wheel in the hole in the heel. It sticks out about an inch. No way can you just walk on it! I went out in my garage and immediately almost busted my butt! I got between the two cars and tried to do what the direction said - walk on the front until you want to skate, then rock onto the heel. Holding onto both cars, I still almost busted my butt! Little kids can do this, but I cannot seem to master this technique of walking and rocking onto the heel to skate. They should not sell these in adult sizes - our brains are unable to process something that allows one to do this.
I have had these Hellys (not misspelled) for 6 months. I did make one more attempt - in my garage - to learn to skate on them. I took the wheel out. I have a lovely pair of sneakers. I'm glad that I didn't try them out in the mall first. I would have been sitting on my butt in the middle of the floor as everyone collapsed in hysterical laughter.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Am I Really at High School Reading Level?

cash advance

Well, good. I never claimed to be smart, but is it really only high school level? Am I really only readable by teens who are like into texting on their cell phones, clothes, accessories, makeup, Dancing With the Stars, which stars are dating which stars - or not?

I thought I'd check out the validity of this little widget. So I plugged in some other websites. This is how they scored.
Craig's List - Genius Hey, it's a good site, but Genius?
Almost Naked Animals - College - Postgrad This is a website with cartoon pictures of animals in DIAPERS - PLEASE!! I can see that it probably appeals to those IN college but once you've graduated and quit partying....
Elastic Baby - College - Postgrad This is an animated baby on a string controlled by your mouse, giggling. It does make you laugh, and again I can see the appeal, but it was ranked HIGHER than mine!
Wackystuff's Bad Words - Genius This is a blog of postcards of BAD WORDS! How can this be genius??
Foundation For a Better Life - Jr. High This organization encourages others to do good through the media and they ranked junior high. This shows how random this widget thing is.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

When Life Seems Too Hard

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar... and the coffee...

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He asked once more if the jar was full.

The students responded with a unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand.The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things - your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions - things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter, like your job, your house, and your car.

The sand is everything else - the small stuff."

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Play with your children! Take time to get medical checkups.

Take your wife out to dinner. Maybe even play another 18. There's always time to clean the house and fix the disposal.

Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled.

"I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

Anonymous (from an Email)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Interesting Email This Morning

This morning, I got an email, you know one of those that gets fowarded around. This one was supposedly written by Jay Leno, and it talks about what America has to offer, how we should be thankful for her (which I am, by the way). It looks very familiar and I realize that I had checked it out when I got it the last time it made its rounds, which was apparently last Thanksgiving.

There actually was an article written saying these things, but Jay Leno didn't write it. On November 20, 2006, Craig R. Smith, of WorldNetDaily, wrote "Made in the USA: Spoiled Brats," which got sent around as an email because it is a good article. According to Snopes, the people who check these kinds of things out, Jay Leno had made a comment, "Maybe this is not a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance," after Katrina hit the year before. This quote was added to the bottom of the email with Smith's article, and as these things happen in email land, the whole article was eventually creditted to Jay Leno, even though the email starts out saying, "Jay Leno wrote this; it's the Jay Leno we don't often see." Yeah - because Jay Leno doesn't think this way, which was why I checked it out when I got it the first time around!

So here's the article - the real article, written by Craig R. Smith:

The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true given the source, right?

The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the president. In essence 2/3s of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change.

So being the knuckle dragger I am, I starting thinking, ''What we are so unhappy about?''
Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter? Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job? Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?

Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state? Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter? I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough. Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all involved. Whether you are rich or poor they treat your wounds and even, if necessary, send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home, you may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of having a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your belongings. Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes; an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss. This all in the
backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90 percent of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world? Maybe that is what has 67 percent of you folks unhappy.
Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S. yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

I know, I know. What about the president who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The president who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The president that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled brats safe from terrorist attacks? The commander in chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me?

Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go. They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ''general'' discharge, an ''other than honorable'' discharge or, worst case scenario, a ''dishonorable'' discharge after a few days in the brig.

So why then the flat out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans? Say what you want but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds it leads and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells. Just ask why they are going to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book and do a TV special about how he didn't kill his wife but if he did … insane!

Stop buying the negative venom you are fed everyday by the media. Shut off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There is exponentially more good than bad.
I close with one of my favorite quotes from B.C. Forbes in 1953:

''What have Americans to be thankful for? More than any other people on the earth, we enjoy complete religious freedom, political freedom, social freedom. Our liberties are sacredly safeguarded by the Constitution of the United States, 'the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.' Yes, we Americans of today have been bequeathed a noble heritage. Let us pray that we may hand it down unsullied to our children and theirs.''

I suggest this Thanksgiving we sit back and count our blessings for all we have. If we don't, what we have will be taken away. Then we will have to explain to future generations why we squandered such blessing and abundance. If we are not careful this generation will be known as the ''greediest and most ungrateful generation.'' A far cry from the proud Americans of the ''greatest generation'' who left us an untarnished legacy.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Read Any Good Books Lately?

I've been reading for as long as I can remember, and I love books- any kind of books. I have a hard time giving them up, especially ones that I had really enjoyed reading or ones that were a gift from someone special. You might imagine that they have taken over my house. I finally boxed up some of them and put them in the room above the garage. When it came time to clean out Randy's parents' house, there were more books - they were both avid readers, too. Other family members took some, but I took about a bazillion, vowing to read them "one day." And I have read them - at least 2 of them.
Something really had to be done with all of these books. I separated them into three sections - books I really want to read, collectibles, and books I probably will never read. I had planned to give the "books I probably will never read" to Orange Congregations in Mission, a charitable organization here in Hillsborough that we've been donating our castoffs to for years.
Then I discovered, an online club where I can list my unwanted books and trade them for books other people have listed. Cool! Don't let the name fool you - it isn't just paperbacks. People list every type of book you can think of - hardbacks, audio books, large-print books, children's books, craft books, art books, gardening books, cookbooks, coffee table books, the cute little books you give for gifts. There are new releases, older books, classics, text books. You get 2 credits when you list your first 10 book, to use to order your first books - just that easy to get started. They've made it really easy to mail the books, too. (Your information is not displayed anywhere on the site so don't worry about that.) When someone requests a book from you, you print a mailing label. They know how much the book weighs so the label has the amount on it. You can even print the postage from your computer now, or you can just add enough stamps to equal the amount shown. Either way, you don't have to go to the post office. At first, I didn't trust the printed amounts so I always went to the post office, but they's always been right to the penny! Postage for a paperback is around $2.13, for a hardback $2.47. If you print the postage, you get credit for the book right away. If you use stamps, you get credit later - either when the post office confirms it, or when the other person receives the book. Then you get to choose another book. And there are plenty of books to choose - as I'm writing this, there are over 1,700,000 books available, and the number just keeps growing as people keep posting books. It's 6 AM, and more than 500 books have already been posted today. Over the past couple of years I've received some really good books for books that I wasn't going to read anyway - not a bad deal, eh? I still have credits but I'm saving them in case I see something I just can't live without. So go on over there and check it out. If you decide to join, tell them I sent you :D

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Decisions, Decisions

Deciding when to start a family has always been hard for a career-minded couple. Sometimes the decision is made for them, if you know what I mean. But if they are in the family planning stage, there are so many things to consider: are they at a point that they can afford one? where are they in their career paths? do they both want children? I always thought this was just a matter of thinking a LOT and talking to each other a LOT until you came to the decision that it was time.

I've learned that there are business tools for everything these days, even when it's time to start trying for that baby. Professor Ralph Keeney and doctoral student Dinah Vernik of Duke’s Fuqua School of Business developed a sophisticated logical decision model. (Click to see a video) No more guess work for the career couples. No more discussions. Just plug the data into the model and it will tell them when. Wow, isn't this so much easier than our day?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday

I'm sure there is nobody around to read this today. In fact, I shouldn't even be here writing this. The stores have been open since 4 am! That means I could be almost finished by now if I had been at the stores when they opened. But, I can't think of anything on my list that would make me go out and stand in a line - and you know there will be lines, even at 4 am - especially at 4 am - on Black Friday! People will be there hours before the stores open, waiting to get in, waiting to rush for that one thing on their list that is a "must-have" on every child's list this year, but is in short supply, and the only way to get it is to shop at 4 am. My child is 22 - old enough that his "wants won't hurt him" - well, that's what MY mother said! Seriously, he doesn't want a ninja turtle this year.

I don't shop on Black Friday anymore. It's just too crazy. You can't find a parking place anywhere near the mall. If you do happen to get inside, or if you go to an independent store, once you get in, you can barely look at anything. I'd rather wait and go next week. Plus I do most of my shopping online or in the smaller local shops.

Years ago, my mother-in-law, my sisters-in-law and I would venture out on the Friday after Thanksgiving - it didn't have any special name then. The sales started early, but at a decent 8 am. We didn't show up until around 9, taking our chances on getting a parking space and usually having to park in the back, but still finding one. We looked for bargains and Christmas gifts, laughing all the while. We girls were never together that we were not laughing - everything was funny to us!

After the mall, we'd grab some, then head to a few specialty shops. This is when the real shopping began - the shopping for US! We would hit a wonderful store, Salem Creek, to buy Christmas decorations and other goodies, then hit Talbots, to see what clothes might be on sale. Our last stop before heading home would be Dewey's Bakery for Moravian cookies, creme horns, eclairs, and Moravian sugar cakes for tomorrow's breakfast - yummmmm. Now, that's a fine day shopping...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful for my friends and family.

We are spending our Thanksgiving Day with family. Except for our son, Matt, who recently moved to Washington, DC, nobody had to travel this year. We used to all gather at Randy's parents' home for Thanksgiving, and we all travelled to get there - some a couple of hours, some a couple of days, unless they flew. Since his parents aren't with us any longer, it's harder to get everyone together. My brother and Randy's brother & family all live in this area, so we all gather for holidays now. We have 8 for dinner, sometimes more if the "younguns" bring someone along. It's a lively, fun crowd. We always laugh a lot when we're together. I've got to go cook a turkey! Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Go Tarheels!

I'm going to try to get this done before anybody has a chance to sidetrack me today - yesterday I didn't get a chance to blog until almost 10:30 pm! I'm usually in bed by then, but we had gone to the UNC - SC State basketball game - Go Tarheels! We didn't get home until after 10. The game was so much fun! Carolina won, scoring more than 100 points, which means that I can take my ticket to Bojangles today and get 2 sausage biscuits for $1.00 - what a deal!

Randy was able to get tickets (great tickets, too! not up in the nose-bleeder seats!), so even though I still have stuff to do to get ready for tomorrow, how could I pass up a chance to see the Tarheels play basketball?? He bought season tickets to football this year. I'm not sure why - our son, Matt graduated in May, and we never had season tickets while he was going to UNC - but he had a chance to get a pair of decent seats so he did. I'm a huge basketball fan, but I'm not big on football. I don't know "offsides" from my backside, so I usually don't know what's going on. I just cheer when our score goes up, boo when theirs does, and ask a lot of dumb questions about what the ref is saying.

The game this Saturday is against Duke, our major enemy, I mean, rival. As much as I would love to see this game, I am hoping that Matt will want to go. Because it's supposed to be really cold Saturday. I don't even like football. Why would I want to freeze my offsides off to watch it? even if we ARE going to beat Duke's offsides?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Busy Busy

I've been trying all day to get time to post something, but every time I sat down I got interrupted. I've been up since 4:30 am, left the house at 7 to do some last minute shopping for Thanksgiving. Since I got home, I've tried to get my house cleaned. I wouldn't worry about it except the NaBloPoMo rules say we need to post EVERY day! So, here I am writing a little post before I head to bed. See you tomorrow...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Gorgeous Fall Day

Yesterday was gorgeous out! Here it is, almost Thanksgiving, and it was 60F! It was warm enough that we put the top down on our little Miata and went for a ride through the country - not hard to do, since we live in the boonies! The leaves were stunning! I can't remember them being this brilliant this late in the year.

We were glad for the chance to put the top down our little car. We just got it back from having it painted. It took all summer. One of those deals where the guy said, "4 to 6 weeks." But in reality it was 4 months. It wasn't completely his fault because he does collision repair for insurance companies. Just wish he had said that. We would have taken it to him in the winter instead of missing all the convertible weather. Oh well, we did have yesterday, and it was a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Restaurant Ratings

I do pay attention to those signs in the restaurants - you know the ones that show how many points they got for being clean, whether they got an A or a B. It doesn't matter to me if they got a 98 or a 94, but it matters to me if they got a 85. I didn't realize that anybody could go look at the ratings for any restaurant. But, why not? This is the computer age - we can look at everything! So, of course, once I discovered that this website existed, I had to check it out. Below is a list of all the eateries in Hillsborough and their ratings.

Everybody did pretty well. There are two 90's, but the rest did very well. And Subway is really amazing. The Subway near Walmart scored better than perfect, with 101.5! I think you get extra points for attending some classes so I guess that's how you get to be better than perfect. The other Subways have good scores, too. Panciuto, the new Italian restaurant downtown, scored 99.5 - close enough to call it perfect!

ANNA MARIAS.....92.5
CASA IBARRA.....93.5
JACKS (Jack Shack).....98.5
JOHNS GRILL.....93.5
LLOYDS II.....96.5
M & M BILLIARDS.....98
PANCIUTO .....99.5
PIZZA HUT.....94.5

The most surprising thing about this list - there are so many restaurants in Hillsborough! I'm always complaining that there's no place to go!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Art & Soul - I'm Registered!

and I got every class I wanted! There were some problems with Registration, but with so many people clamoring for classes at one time, that's to be expected. I was poised at my computer, just waiting for Registration to open at 4:00 EST. As soon as it did, I added the class I've been dying to take, then added the other classes. When I got ready to check out, I had only one class and the opening night event in my cart - WHAT?? I paid for those, then I went back to add my other classes and some of them were now FULL! It is only 4:04. I chose my second choices, paid for my classes, and left the computer. I was disappointed that I didn't get that class that I was dying to take, and it seemed odd to me that it was already full. After all, I WAS there when registration began! But I figured there was nothing I could do about it.

But, then this morning, reading my email, I discovered that apparently this had happened to a lot of people. The Art & Soul server just couldn't handle the volume of people trying to register all at one time. But the Art & Soul staff, Cindy and Glenny, being the experts that they are, worked hard to assure that everyone got the classes they wanted. There was a notice to let Cindy know if you had experienced registration problems like mine. I was worried that it might be too late, but I wrote to Cindy at 5:00 this morning (2:00 her time!), explaining my situation, and I received an immediate response that she had fixed it - I got the classes I wanted! This is what I call service! Just one of many reasons that make Art & Soul a great experience.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ridiculously Politically Correct

You know, I was going to try to steer clear of politics here on my blog, but I heard something that I felt just needed to be addressed.

Is there a group of people who just sit around all day coming up with the next "agenda?" the next "cause?" the next "let's see who we can get all riled up?" I admit that occasionally the cause makes sense, but, for the most part, WHO CARES? But this one absolutely falls into the "I can't believe this crap" category.
Some group of people in Australia, with nothing better to do, decided that Santa should no longer be allowed to say, "Ho, ho, ho." After a bazillion years of Santa saying these words, some meddling bunch of fools has decided that "Ho, ho, ho" should be changed to " Ha, ha, ha, " for political reasons. This meddlesome group thinks that "Ho, ho, ho" might frighten children, and is derogatory to women.

Actually it isn't just a meddlesome group - it's a recruiting firm that hires Santas. "Recruitment firm, Westaff - which supplies hundreds of Santas across the country - has told its trainees that the 'ho ho ho' phrase could frighten children and could even be derogatory to women." How can "ho, ho, ho" be frightening? Children have associated this phrase with Santa forever!?! "Ho, ho, ho" means Santa. And, please! Is anyone really offended, man or woman, by Santa saying "Ho, ho, ho????" How can that be misconstrued as being derogatory in any way, shape, or form?? Give me a giant break!!

Apparently, the Santas are not going to take this. Santas being trained by Westaff, the above mentioned recruitment firm, quit when told that they had to say "ha ha ha" instead of "ho ho ho." Others quit when they were told they couldn't say, "ho ho ho," because it sounded like the American slang for prostitute. Come on! Give me a break! What child is going to make that connection!

Political Correctness in the extreme...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My Power Bird is a Cardinal

Your Power Bird is a Cardinal

You believe that each day is precious, and you spend your times as best as you can.
You see the wonder in small things, and you are often content with what you have.
You life an interesting, colorful life - and you bring color to those around you.
Confident and expressive, you believe you know how to live a good life. You're living it!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Recipe - Blueberry Dump Cake

Did you ever wake up and realize that you had plumb forgotten that you were supposed to cook something to take to work (or church, or a meeting)? This recipe is for that day. It will save you! You can throw it together at the last minute, just before you jump in the shower, and it will be ready to go when you are.

Blueberry Dump Cake

2 cups Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 can (15oz) crushed pineapple
1 box Yellow cake mix
1.5 sticks (3/4 cups) butter, melted

Optional toppings:

1 cup nuts

Spread blueberries in an ungreased, 9x13 pan, cover the bottom.

Pour the drained pineapple over the blueberries, as evenly as possible.

Spread DRY cake mix over pineapple, smoothing it out.

Pour melted butter over the cake mix - (won't cover completely, so just try to even it a little).

Cover with optional toppings.

Bake at 350°F for 45-60 minutes. Top should be golden brown. It will be moist so toothpick test won't work!

(You can substitute other fruits for the blueberries – I’ve made it with peaches, blackberries, raspberries… Strawberries don't work too well - they get too mushy.)

This recipe is from the files of my Aunt Nettie Vann.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Getting Organized = Flying

Yesterday, I received an email from a woman who had read my post about being a Packrat. She wrote to tell me that she could relate and that she, too, wanted to take back her house. I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but while I was reading her email, I was reminded of The FlyLady. I had belonged to her Yahoo group, the FlyLady Mentors, years ago. During that time, my house was at its most organized. I rejoined the group this morning, hoping it will help me in my quest to regain control of this house.

The FlyLady is understanding and encouraging. She teaches you to get organized by developing routines, and by doing it in little steps. She says, "Keep in mind that your home did not get this way overnight and it is not going to get clean in a day." I also like that she tells you to jump in anytime, "You are not behind - you are just getting started!"

I'm going to give this another shot. It worked out well last time and I think I'm more determined this time. So, in the words of the FlyLady, "Let's Fly!"

Sunday, November 11, 2007

North American Quilling Guild (NAQG)

Since I started quilling, I've been a member of the North American Quilling Guild. If you're a quiller and you haven't already joined, why not? This is OUR organization. The Guild has one mission - to the promote the art of quilling. Joining is easy - simply complete an application and pay your dues, which is a reasonable amount.

Once you become a member, you don't have to do anything else if you don't want to. You can just enjoy the benefits of being a member. But, if you want to be involved, there are many ways to do so, and they welcome you, even newbies!

A major benefit is Quill America - the newsletter/journal, published 4 times per year. This alone is worth the price of the dues! It has articles, projects, tips, news of quilling events, and photos, lots of photos! of quilling.

You also get the experience and support of your fellow NAQG members. Their goal of promoting this art is exhibited through their willingness to share tips, patterns, advice. But what I found to be most helpful, especially as a new quiller, but even today, is that they are a very supportive group, always jumping in to offer encouragement.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Wall Street Journal posted link to this blog!

I know 2 posts in one day - do I get extra credit for this?
But I found out that the Wall Street Journal had posted a link to this blog! Yes, THE REAL Wall Street Journal. This means that somebody from them actually read my blog and thought it worthy of linking.

The WSJ Blog has an article: "Clothesline Has NeighborsBent Out of Shape in Bend; An Illegal Solar Device?" At the bottom of the page, there is list of blogs with related articles, and my post from Wednesday, November 7 - Clotheslines - a Thing of the Past is listed.

Thank you to all of you who take the time to read.

Hey You, Thanks for the Memories!

Happy Anniversary!

The begining - he's thinking of smearing that cake all over my face!

Yesterday was my wedding anniversary - 27 years. I think it's been a pretty typical marriage. Some days we love each other to death, others we can't stand the sight of each other, but for the most part, we get along. We've had our ups and downs, but geez, it's been 27 years! We've been though a lot together. We've lost loved ones, changed jobs, had illnesses...

The best, most rewarding thing we've been through together... drum roll... is our son, Matt. He is our shining star, or, as my mother-in-law always said, "the light of our life." He is a Tarheel, after all.

Now look at the two photos. Except for the kid ( I mean, young man) in the middle, they are pretty much the same, right? We haven't changed much in 27 years!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

My Aunt

I'm sad today. My dear aunt has died. I'm thankful that she died peacefully in her sleep. I regret that I didn't make that trip to visit that I kept thinking about all summer, putting it off one more week. I'm out of weeks now.

Growing up, I didn't live near my relatives because my dad was in the Air Force, but we spent at least 2 weeks every summer visiting them. It was the highlight of my year. I loved coming home to NC and seeing my grandparents, my aunt and uncle, and my cousins. My time was divided between my granny's house and my aunt's house. My favorite cousin and I spent the whole time together, spending the nights giggling, telling stories, catching up.

Last year I went to visit my aunt, and it was the first time in my life that it was just the two of us. Every other time I'd been to her house, it was overflowing with people, big and small. I'm glad that I had that chance to have her all to myself for a couple of days. No matter how much I tried to do things for her, she wouldn't hear of it - as always, SHE doted on ME, fixing me ice tea, breakfast, making sure that I had any little thing I needed. Bless her heart.

I'm going to miss you, Aunt Nettie Vann, I love you.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Clotheslines - a Thing of the Past

I have to clean out my laundry room this morning because I'm having a dryer delivered. I wish it was something neater, but at least I am able to replace the old one. I do remember having to hang out laundry. I didn't mind it too much except when it was really cold. You can't hang laundry with gloves on, and wet things are really cold. But I couldn't hang my laundry now even if I wanted to. This neighborhood, which is only one street, doesn't allow clotheslines. I'm not sure how it is that we've gotten to the place that someone can tell me that I can't put a clothesline in my own backyard. We do own this little piece of land that our house sits on. But the guy who "developed" this neighborhood of one street thought it would make people clamor to live here if it said that nobody would be erecting clotheslines in their backyards. He also assured us, back in 1988, that nobody else would be developing neighborhoods all around us. He lied. We used to sit on our deck and look out over the woods around us, knowing that the deer had slept out in the adjoining field. Now when we're grilling supper, a neighbor yells, "what's for dinner?" We look up at the subdivisions on all three sides of us. I don't really mind all this growth either. It's been good for our town. I better go clean out that laundry room...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Art and Soul

Yesterday was the day many in the art community have been waiting anxiously to arrive - the unveiling of the class list for the Art and Soul, Hampton, Virginia, 2008. Emails started going back and forth, announcing that the list was up. The online forums were abuzz. This is just the beginning. Registration is November 15th. After that things will really get exciting, with conversations about supply lists, swaps, trades, roommates, shuttles to and from the airport, meeting up with friends - old and new... The closer it gets to May, the more exciting, and excited it will all become!

Last May I attended my first Art and Soul retreat. Actually my first art class, ever. The veterans called us "art virgins." One kind, or irreverent, artist handed out some very cool NYC subway collectible condoms so us virgins were sure to practice "safe art" (the condoms were actually one of her trades).

I'm not going to go into every class, though each was an amazing experience, unlike anything I'd ever done. But I want to say a few things about the retreat because it had such an effect on me. I couldn't have chosen a better first class - Paint That Collage with Ann Baldwin. She is an incredible artist and instructor, putting everyone, even me - the scaredy-cat, at ease. Not long after the class started, I began to have a sense of feeling FREE. Having never taken an art class before, I had no idea that you could paint like that! I'm a very orderly,(ok, insert the word, anal), type person. I would have done all one color, then all another color. I was amazed to see her just slapping colors here and there. She would take a picture that she had torn from a magazine - it had lots of extra stuff around it! I just shook my head, I would have trimmed the heck out of that sucker! She just stuck it down and covered the edges with PAINT - imagine! She said things like, "don't worry if you don't like that there, you can fix it later." In the early part of the class, I was having trouble breathing because, of course, I WAS worrying about not being able to fix it later. But by the end of the class, I had learned that I, too, could paint OVER something; that I, too could slap paint on; that I didn't have to be so damn rigid. It was wonderfully freeing. I was lucky enough to take another class with her later in the week, and by the end of that class, I was ripping pictures out of magazines, and slapping paint around like I'd been born doing it! All of this had me feeling pretty good about myself. But then I walked into Misty Mawn's class. Uh-oh, this looked like trouble. Another beautiful artist and instructor, very sweet, calm, BUT, she wanted me to use my fingers to glop paint and gel medium on the canvas. I had this thing about getting my hands messy. This was going to be hard. I could use a brush, but nobody else was. I didn't want to be different, plus I thought I probably wouldn't get the same effects. So, I took a deep breath and plunged my fingers into that messy stuff. Hey, it wasn't so bad. In fact, it felt kind of good, smearing that stuff around. I thought I had felt free in Ann Baldwin's class - but this was oh so beyond that! I had released my inner child and we were having FUN! We were finger painting!

I did not finish a single project in any class that I took. In hindsight, I was busy trying to learn the techniques being presented and I was busy just relishing in the experiences. I'm not sorry that I didn't come home with anything concrete to show others about my week. I know that I gained far more than what can be measured by anyone else. Can you hear it - The Who, "I'm Free, I'm Free..."
ok, please don't barf...

Monday, November 5, 2007

Buying Beads

I do beading and I buy beads online from a few sources, but I'm sure that I've never bought beads from Mr. Bead before. But Mr. Bead sent me an email and it's a good thing because his email is very informative. I learned more than I ever knew, or wanted to know, about buying beads. I'm going to share only part of this very important email newsletter with you. Go to Mr. Bead and sign up today for the rest of the story.

Top Ten Tips when Buying Beads Online

1. Keep cool. Don't get caught up in the excitement - know your limits. It's easy to get into a bidding war and end up paying more than an item is worth. When an auction closes at five times the original asking price, dealers feel embarrassed.

2. Make sure that the item you are bidding for is what you want. Always be sure you know the size, especially if a picture is enlarged. Don’t assume it is a certain size, then when it arrives in the mail the 'necklace' is suddenly a bracelet for a cat! And don’t buy a strand of beads if you assume you would receive a ready-made necklace.

3. Use your head. Don’t be naive reading descriptions - never take words at face value. Like “This fabulous bead is so hard to describe, the picture speaks for itself!”. “Exquisite” beads are everywhere, and every other item is “unique.” Enter the word “unique” in the search box and its overuse reduces it to meaninglessness. Misinformation is another problem. More sellers misrepresent out of ignorance than by deceit, but it helps to know something yourself and not just trust without question.
"Antique" is identified as by U.S. customs laws as being at least 100 years old. Beads from the 1960s are not antique. Occasionally, a little research brings a bargain. You might spot a rare old African tribal necklace being sold as a trinket from Thailand, though more likely you would be fooled the other way round.

4. Search the Web. Look for similar items and determine what a fair price is. Sometimes dealers will have the same items on their web sites for less than you'd pay if you were competing with other bidders, or the other way round. Look at the sellers other auctions. Keep track of many like items before placing your bid, compare over different auction sites.

5. Check what other buyers have said about the seller and examine any negative feedback. If there are unhappy customers, or if the seller presents a nasty defense, be wary.

6. Bid just before the auction ends, if possible. Buyers like to outbid each other in the final moments. This is referred to as “sniping,” although is perfectly legitimate. It's very frustrating to have someone “steal” the item out from under you in the last seconds. Unless you have the time to monitor the close of every auction in which you have a bid, this will happen sometimes. A sniper program like “esnipe” at enable you to outbid someone at the last minute. However, don’t feel guilty about sniping, it's not really stealing, the item doesn’t being to your competing bidders.

7. Can you make a return? You should be able to receive a refund on items that don't live up to their promise or match their description. However, don’t expect to be refunded shipping or a handling fee to cover the seller’s expenses. Some dealers don't accept returns, but they have to realize you're buying from a small picture only. If you buy a computer or a car on the web, you probably have a good idea of what you're looking at - not necessarily so with beads. Buying online is like a catalog sale, and catalog vendors always offer a no questions return policy. A good dealer knows that pleased customers will bring extra sales that will more than cover the cost of returns.

8. Good auction etiquette. There are some things you can do to make things easier for the vendors and foster a good relationship. When you win an auction, the dealer will e-mail you the item number(s), always ensure this is quoted with your mailing address and payment. Sellers hate spending hours doing detective work or guessing which beads goes to whom. Don’t just rely on Paypal to inform this for you. Some dealers with many auctions take a few days to contact all their buyers. Unreasonable e-mails demanding a total just slows down the process. And some sellers offer a checkout like MarketWorks that automatically adds all your wins including combined shipping - saving you a lot of time.

9. Pay well. Always pay as quickly as possible. If you have not dealt with the seller before, you may have to wait for your check to clear. And if you are using snail-mail to pay international purchases, allow at least 14-days just for your payment to arrive. US sellers in many states have to collect sales tax for their resale license. They don't get a commission on this and have to pay penalties for mistakes in collecting these taxes – so don’t try to evade. Same with VAT in Europe.

10. Watch Shipping Costs. Some sellers will try to rip you off with shipping, especially from China, so check before you bid. However, be aware that international airmail is expensive, so expect to pay reasonable shipping & handling fee. Under US$10 for a small order is OK, over $20 is scandalous. If you order a lot from abroad, airmail doesn’t come cheap - beads are heavy! Allow a reasonable time for your item to arrive before you complain. Ten days from within your own country, or twenty-days from abroad.

Ten Reasons for Buying Beads at all!

1. Beady eyes keep a happy mind – it’s a great hobby. Cheaper than drugs and more fun than psychiatric care!

2. Buying beads is not immoral, illegal or fattening. It calms the nerves, gratifies the soul and makes us feel good.

3. To make money or investment.

4. A bead keeps without refrigeration. You don't have to cook it to enjoy it, and it never needs feeding, changing, or walking.

5. Buying beads keeps our economy going. It is our patriotic duty to support bead stores.

6. Beads are a proven aphrodisiac.

7. Beads don't argue or get crabby. Like women and wine: beads get better with age.

8. Bags and tubes of beads tightly packed make an excellent insulation for the home.

9. At any moment the employees of a bead factory might go on strike and limit the availability.

10. We are participating in a contest. The one with the most beads wins.

The most useful thing I learned from the above is that "sniping isn't really stealing, so if I do it I shouldn't feel guilty." Ok, I'll feel better next time I visit Ebay. I learned to beware of ordering from China. And who knew that beads were an aphrodisiac? I need to show this to Randy - I bet he'll stop complaining about how much I'm spending on all those beads!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Pack rat

I was visiting a friend recently and I was amazed by a couple of things. They have been remodeling their house. I mean they have been doing the actual work - designing, putting up walls, building shelves, cabinets, cutting wood, painting, hanging wallpaper. I can't even pick out wallpaper or paint, let alone do all that hard labor. I was amazed at their house. It was truly beautiful - and they have built it. They must really be proud. I wouldn't be able to stand myself if I did that. I'd have to point out every little thing I'd done. "See this wall - I painted it. Yep. The WHOLE wall, trim work, too." They didn't do that. They were rather humble as I oohed and aahed about everything.

The other thing that amazed me about the visit - they didn't have anything out of place. Nothing. Now I don't know if this was because they were expecting company or if this is the norm at their house. I asked my friend in an email after I came home, but she hasn't answered. Do you think that was too personal a question? We're pretty good friends. I wouldn't be offended if she asked me that. Of course, I don't foresee her ever asking me such a question. I've never been accused of being too neat or being obsessed with cleanliness, but there was a time when my house was neater than it is now. I'm not sure exactly when I lost control of it but I did. It's not dirty - the floors are vacuumed and mopped, and the tables, mantel, etc. are dusted on a fairly regular basis. I won't vouch for all the Santas though. Maybe that's when I started losing the battle - when I started collecting, and leaving out my Santas. When it was just a few it was easy to keep them dusted. When the collection grew, I tried the feather duster trick, but really, all I was doing was moving the dust around, maybe picking up some, banging it off on my leg to lie on the floor until I vacuumed. Now I have a vacuum cleaner that I can vary the amount of suction - cool! I'm supposed to be able to vacuum my knick-knacks safely. Right. Good thing I tried it on something too large to be sucked into the nozzle.

I've decided that I want to take back my house. I've been working on trying to get organized again. A few months ago, I organized my studio. I bought a bunch of those clear containers of various sizes. Some had drawers - those are cool. I organized my art supplies and put everything away. It looks pretty good in there. Except my work table still has only about 6 inches of work space. No matter what I do, no matter how much stuff I put away, there is room for a 6 inch square cork board that I quill on. And I'm constantly pushing stuff out of the way.

Last week I cleaned off the kitchen island and it's already covered again. All mail - catalogs! Catalogs from everywhere. I used to love them - before I got a million every week. I don't remember always getting so many duplicate catalogs. They send 2, 3, 4 of the same catalog with a different cover. Do they think I won't notice? I wish these companies would save the money they spend on catalogs (and the trees) and reduce their prices. Send me a little flyer now and then. Better yet, an email, because I do most of my shopping online now, not through a catalog. It's rare for me to actually look through a catalog anymore. I flip and toss now. But only when the stack is too high to see over.

If you go into any other room you take your life into your hands. Our bedroom is strictly off-limits to company. It's been the repository of everything I needed to hide when somebody was coming over. There are stacks of magazines that "I might need something from." There are items that I meant to put away but didn't know where to put them so I put them in the bedroom until I could figure out a better place. There are at least 3 bags of ephemera for future art projects (this is not counting all the ephemera in my studio!). There are bags/baskets/cups of receipts, letters, extra buttons, pins, pens... Clothes are stacked in a pile at the foot of my bed to be given away, because I'm going to do it tomorrow. And books - books I've read, books I want to read, books I want someone else to read...

Now that I've divulged just how bad my room really is and why the door is always closed, I need to fix it. I 've started - I spent yesterday making room in my closet. I moved summer clothes upstairs. I added clothes to that pile on the floor at the end of my bed - it keeps falling over into Tucker's bed now (maybe I really should give them away tomorrow). But what about all of this other stuff? I really NEED all of it, or I might, someday. See, THAT is the root of my problem - I am a pack rat, a collector of stuff, of everything. I can't seem to throw anything away because I am so afraid that as soon as it leaves my hand I'm going to realize that I needed it. I know WHY I'm this way. It's why everyone is the way they are - parents. Yep, my parents made me this way. This one is my dad's fault. He was in the Air Force and we moved all the time. Every time we moved, we had to clean house and I had to GET RID OF EVERYTHING! or almost everything. And if we didn't get rid of it, it got "lost in the move." hmmm

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Still Going

It's the 3rd day of nano-nono, and look, I'm still going strong. Looking at that thing on the right, the Blog Archive - 3 days in a week is a record, so I should get some kind of prize for this, which is actually my 4th day in a row! I think I did just hear trumpets. No, it was just a siren. Who is out at this hour on a Saturday morning for the police to be chasing? I would think the partyers were sleeping it off by now, and it's too early to be going to work. Obviously I don't have enough to think about.

Last evening, I took a little trip to Southern Pines for First Friday. They had quite a turnout for a chilly night - there were people wandering all around town. I'll admit that I had a specific destination in mind though. I happened to be one of a few artists who were being featured at Artist Alley. That may have sounded matter-of-fact, but believe me, I am thrilled! Me, an artist? Me, a featured artist? wow! Double wow! when I saw the company I was in. The event was "Art that You Wear" and included jewelry, handbags, clothing, and accessories. The art was really impressive, amazing. And everyone I met was just wonderful. It was so much fun talking about ideas, techniques, upcoming classes. And eating - cheesecake to die for. Cheesecake - edible art. Really.

Since it's already November, and Christmas will be here before we know it, I've been busy quilling Christmas-y things. I have some orders for cards, ornaments and pins. I'll post pictures over the next few weeks. I know, the anticipation is killing you. Ok, here's one.

Friday, November 2, 2007


About 10 days ago my dog, Tucker, had a run-in with a skunk! not just any skunk, but an albino skunk! He and Randy thought it was our neighbor's cat for the split-second they saw it before it sprayed them! Randy came to the back door, yelled for help and I grabbed some towels, wet them, and ran out there (in my fresh-from-the-cleaners slacks that I had put on just before we had gone to dinner). Poor Tucker had been hit right in the face and I needed to try to clean his eyes. In the meantime, Randy went to our neighbor's to get the formula to bathe him - not too long ago, he and our neighbor had been talking about dogs and skunks, and our neighbor had said that tomato juice doesn't work.

Here's the formula, should you ever need it (and I hope you don't!):

1 quart 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
1/4 cup Baking Soda
1 teaspoon dish detergent

I needed to go to the drugstore for fresh peroxide (Randy smelled too bad!) I learned that if peroxide has been opened for more than a few weeks, it turns to water - who knew? You can check yours by seeing if it foams.

After getting poor, stinky Tucker upstairs to the bathroom and finally bathing him with the solution and douche, he was tolerable. He didn't smell good, but he no longer reeked of rotten garlic/dead skunk. We disposed of towels, cleaned up our mess, took showers, and went to bed - smelling skunk.

The next day Tucker went to his groomer where he was bathed with their super-duper skunk shampoo. While he was there, I washed the shower curtain, spread, throws, and rugs, and sprayed the whole house with de-skunk spray...

Still I smelled skunk. When I drank my coffee, I smelled skunk on my hand. When I ate, I smelled skunk on my hand. When I lay down in my bed, I smelled skunk on my pillow. And, of course, Tucker smelled when I petted him. I couldn't not pet him, poor smelly puppy. He couldn't help it that he smelled bad. Then, for a few days, it got better. Tucker smelled better and I didn't notice it on my hands or permeating the air. But now it seems to be back. Is that possible? Or am I just imagining it?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Day One of 30 Days of Posting

Okay, it's the first day of nano-nono and here I am posting. What a good girl I am. I'm wondering what in the world I'm going to talk about for 30 days? It's amazing to think that there are people all over the world struggling with this same question. At last count, there are over 3400 members of NaBloPoMo ,world-wide.

When I started this blog, it was going to be mainly about my art. But I don't think I can write about that every day for a month. I don't create that quickly. I can show some pictures but after awhile that would be pretty boring.

I'm sure that I'll come up with something in this big wide world to write about every day. It may not interest anyone else, but that's ok too.
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