Monday, January 31, 2011

sewing update

I've posted a couple of entries on the Createlivity blog. With pictures that are MUCH better than the ones I took on my phone. Fran, you can see the tunics, there, complete with shells. We saved the ones we cut off. Someone, sometime is going to get a necklace. Just saying.

The next sewing entry will be here, tomorrow, since it was not from a repurposed fabric. Saving it since I don't want to use up all my goodies in one day.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

yoda's wisdom

More and more, as I deal with health issues, as I deal with what I WANT to eat vs. what I need to eat for my health and diabetes, as I deal with the personal issue of being real with myself, I understand and appreciate the wisdom of Yoda. He said to Luke, "Do, or do not. There is no try."

I either exercise, or I do not. Even though I have said it to myself, and probably will again sometime, there is no try. I either eat right, or I do not, there is no try. That "try" has become my excuse for failure, I have come to realize. I "try" to eat the right things, but...

I've taken up swimming again. The new indoor pool has a couple of lap lanes, and Raine is very happy to ride along and play in the rest of the pool while I do laps. 18 laps is half a mile. The last time we went, I got to 15. Unfortunately, I've had to skip the pool this week, and get over a sinus and throat infection, but I sure did want to do some laps yesterday. So far, 2 days a week has been all we have managed, but I can tell some difference. More walking between the trips to the pool is the thing to work on next. I'll try to like it more...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

spider solitare

I know, I know. Its a game, and I'm being silly about it, but for a long time I would play (on the medium setting, 2 suits) and I was winning about 65% of the time. Then, I used a little more patience, tried a few more times to solve the card puzzle, and felt like I got better at the game. Sure enough, my percentage of wins started to go up, little by little.

Not too long ago, We had to do some major work on my machine, adding a new hard drive and wiping the old one to get rid of a virus. It reset my spider stats and I got to start over on them. What if I didn't have to work my way up through all those percentages, one at a time? Well, I'm winning at 92% right now. I've played over 100 games, so while it might not be the percentage I keep forever, I think it is a somewhat fair representation. I felt like I'd improved, but, well, wow!

Monday, January 24, 2011

epiphany the second

See, I learned not to use up multiple inspirations in one post.

OK, also, even though it is an epiphany, the topic is - really - much different.

On most Sundays, Carl & I go to Sam's for our weekly shopping. Often, because the gas is cheaper there (although not as convenient unless you are there anyway), I gas up my car. Well, of course there is a line, and of course sometimes you just have to wonder how some of those people manage to actually drive if they have so much trouble putting fuel in their cars. Sigh.

Have you noticed that many of those people seem to be older? Have you noticed that those "older" people aren't as much older as they used to be? Yeah. me too. So, the next time I say "Move it, grandmaw" I better check to make sure I'm not talking to myself...

Did I mention that one of the good things about have a later-in-life kid is that you aren't a real grandmaw until later than most of your friends? Yeah.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Today was a day of epiphanies for me.

This morning, I was reminded of Lou when I read the plaque she gave me that says, "Best friends are the sisters that destiny forgot to give you." I cherish memories of Lou because she was indeed one of my best friends, at just the right time. She was funny and smart and talented, and - really - way too cool for me. She was beautiful and sassy and she taught me some stuff about living and enjoying life that I just hadn't known before. Fran and Lou were friends forever. Really, they were so much a part of each other's lives that they were more than friends, they were family. I always thought that their friendship was something special, the history and longevity something that a Taurus like me can really appreciate. I realized today another way just how special.

When Lou was very ill, battling the cancer that would finally end her life, Fran left her home, her husband, her stuff, and came to be with Lou. Not everyone would or could do that. I didn't, and I certainly loved Lou and cared about her. It wasn't easy for Fran to be with Lou while she died and I respect Fran for doing what she did more than she will ever know. I've known that much for a long time, though. My epiphany was that in doing what she did for Lou, she opened herself up to something that would change her life for the better in so many ways. She put herself in the place where she would really get to know Lillian, and their relationship began. Lillian and Fran are - for me - one of the best couples I know. They complement each other so well. They strengthen each other and complete each other. Together, they are more than either of them alone. And alone, each is pretty awesome. Fran gave a gift, and received a gift. It was a pretty uplifting realization, and one that Lou would be nodding along with me, a knowing look on her face, thinking, you finally figured that one out, did you? (see, she's still around, teaching me stuff)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

amusing child

Sometimes kids are just... entertaining. Raine has been working on ways to cut down on her "prep" time in the mornings. Not that she has a lot of time, or prepping to do in it. I wake her up at 7, she gets dressed, feed her fish and the dog, the heads for school by 7:30.

Still... Saturday morning she cleaned in her room. I went in and did the I'll stand on one side of your bed, and we'll spread it up thing. There were clothes under her pillow. "Are those your school clothes?" I asked.


"For Tuesday?"

"Yep. They're all ready."

"OK." Indeed they are.

Monday evening, she announced, " I'm going to wear my socks to bed. Then I won't have to put them on in the morning."

I nodded. "OK."

"It will save me time in the morning," she explained.

This morning she was up - and yes, dressed - about the same time I was. Up in time to eat a bowl of cereal and watch a little TV, which she liked. Up early enough for me to get to wait on her before I could get my own breakfast. Sigh.

Still, I like he view of what helps her in the mornings. I think it is a step of maturity that she is ready to figure out how better to be ready. It amuses me as well. The innocence. The innovations.

I did tell her if she got up before anyone else was up, it was too early, and she needed to go back to bed, though. I really don't need her waking me up before I'm ready. Really. Don't.

Monday, January 17, 2011

sewing day

Yep, I posted some pictures of finished garments in the Createlivity blog. I took them with my phone. At this size, it looks nice and clear, but where is the magnifying glass? Any bigger, and it's blurry. Still, we finished this nice tunic top for Roxanne today. She picked sleeveless so she could wear it under a jacket. It's black, with strings of small white dots, like strings of pearls, running up and down. It isn't straight lines, though, there is flow, and I really liked the effect. Wish you could see it here, I really do.

I took a couple of photos of Roxanne today, as she modeled several pieces that we've recently finished. As I took the photos, I was reminded of my mom. Something about the way Roxanne stood to have her picture taken was just so much like her. Now, Roxanne is related by marriage, not blood, to Mom, but she spent a lot of time with us, and with Mom while she was growing up. We are getting to be the age that my mom was when most of the photos of times I remember growing up were taken... that may be part of it. Mom would definitely have enjoyed sewing with us, and some of the fabrics have come out of my mom's stash. Anyway, it is a good rememberance of her either - or both - ways.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

weekend holiday weekend

So, I think the talk with the administrator went well. Of course, I am still dwelling on it. Of course I am. There has to be a point where, when a student makes the choice not to do his or her work AT ALL, they face the consequences of failing. I will hope that it isn't a significant percentage of the class.

Oh, sure there are things to do differently, and when I figure them out, I change them. Try different things. Observe others, adopt and adapt. All of those things. I'm not perfect and I don't try to say I am. Still. There are things that are beyond my control. Even with my own child, much less the children of others, who - because they are/should be nearing young adulthood - should be taking more and more responsibility for their own actions. Facing the consequences of their choices. I'm not saying throw them to the wolves. Provide opportunity for them to make up their mistakes, but acknowledge that mistakes were made.

I dunno. What are the public schools going to do when they've chased all the teachers out of the profession?

Happier thoughts, Dina, happier. Roxanne and I decided we would actually get more time to sew on Monday's holiday, so that's our plan. Expect pictures!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

ask, and ....

I think the "other shoe" I referred to yesterday is going to fall tomorrow. It is coming from the direction of administration, however, not students.

Administrators - being human and all - have favorites. I accept that, even though I'm not, generally speaking, on that list. I do my job and I go home and I don't like playing politics. I never have. Still, when the whole school is governed by one administrator who plays politics and favorites big time (and isn't even the head principal), well...

This being an open and public forum, I'm not going to discuss particulars. Just saying it isn't one big happy family.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

is there another shoe somewhere?

Last semester was one of the most difficult semesters I've had. I tried very hard to get my students to do their work. To turn their work in. To pay attention. To pass. They. did. not.

I wasn't the only teacher running into that wall. I think my failure rate was the worst that I've EVER had. Yikes.

This semester has started out very well, thank you. I think I have - at this point - only one student who just doesn't want to participate. Even he has turned something in, though. It may not have been pretty, but it was turned in. Other students are behaving, cooperative and pleasant. It is sooo encouraging! OK, I know they are still on their "best" behavior, for the most part. Still, I'll take what I can get.

Monday, January 10, 2011

students again

Today was the first day for students this semester. It went pretty well, they were on their first-day-of-school good behavior. Of course the first day, I do a lot of talking, and going through the policies etc. By the time fourth period rolls around, I wonder at times whether I have told them some piece of information or not. Other times I wonder whether I'm repeating myself... too many times.

Ah well, the first day is that optimistic day for all of us. On the first day, we can all pass. We can all get all of the work done, and no one will be in trouble. At least on the first day.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

happy blocky

One of the things we accomplished while sewing today was putting together the first four blocks (of 96) for our quilts! When Roxanne came to my house so we could cut stuff out, I told her my idea for making our first quilts. First of all, the blocks have to be EASY. Next, if we work on sets of four fabrics for four blocks, then make a set about every other week, then by the end of the year, we'll be ready to put our quilt tops together. She thought that sounded like a good idea. In fact thinking about having a quilt that we made put a big ol' smile on her face.

Despite having a tub of odds and ends, saved for some future quilt-making endeavor (you know, like this one), I decided that I would start off even easier than that. I got some fat quarters, since they were on sale, and cut out the pieces for the block we decided on. Actually, we decided on two, very similar blocks. I cut out enough pieces for two sets of four blocks, and some extra blocks of the two sizes we'll be using, to get the fabric all taken care of.

Today, we laid them out, and then Roxanne sewed while her mom ironed (I have a feeling her mom may be on the next round of quilts...). They turned out great! Yay! Roxanne and I both have fond feelings for the quilts my mom made for us, and we have both thought about making some, but never really gotten it all together for it. I know, I know, we still have a year to see whether we really have it all together for it now, but I think we do!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

it's been nice

What a lovely vacation this has been. Holiday doesn't really capture it. Vacation.

Raine started back to school today, and wasn't absolutely thrilled to do it, but we talked about it all week, so it wasn't a surprise. Took her swimming last evening as well, to get her tired out and ready for bed, and I think it worked. Just so happens I did some laps as well, which felt pretty good, too. Anyway, Raine got up right away this morning, fed her fish, got dressed, fed the dog, and was out the door pretty early, actually. She did good.

Tomorrow morning is my turn. I've been telling myself all week, and talking myself into it. I hope I can do as well as Raine did this morning. Of course, I won't have students until Monday, so that will help, actually. I've had a much needed break and rest and hopefully enough of a recharge to carry me through next semester. Tomorrow, back to the work routine.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

it must be time to step forward

Fran did the Tarot reading that I "won" by participating in her writing project on her blog. It was cool, and one of the things that inspired me to begin Page by Page. Anyway, she asked for numbers, and returned the reading a few days ago. It was a very interesting reading, and I'm not going to share much of it with you, really, except to say that it encouraged me to reach out and maybe start something. Something that I've been putting together in my head for a while now.

As must be obvious by now, I enjoy crafts and crafting. More and more, it is where my passion lies. I've heard over and over, from many people, in many walks of life, in many situations, often enough that is has the ring of truth to it: "follow your passion." I've looked at crafting in a lot of different ways, trying to figure out how to make a paying job of it. I'm not sure I've gotten there yet, but I think there is a path to follow, and I may be taking the first steps.

The paths I DON'T want to take are several. There is nothing wrong with them, they just aren't MY paths. I don't want to own a fabric store (or sewing machine store or yarn store). While I love visiting and shopping in these places, and I know people who own and run them have valuable knowledge that I am willing to share, I don't want to have to think of the people I craft with as my customers. I don't want to have to sell them things to make my living. I also don't want to have to figure out something that I can make enough of and sell enough of to make a living. I don't want to have to travel the craft fair circuit to sell sell sell. Again, I don't mind being a customer of people who do this. I'm sure many of them make a decent living, too... it just isn't ME. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not against selling my stuff. I want to do it in a way that allows me to get paid for my time, though. A respectful, artisan way, without a lot of traveling and packing and unpacking and etc etc...

I do, however, have a vision of what my path could be. Or a vision of an idea... or something. It has to do with artisan advocacy. I'm taking my inspiration from several sources, like Penny Arcade, which has basically everything to do with comics and gaming, and nothing to do with crafting. Still these guys are advocates for gaming and gamers online and in person. They now are involved in PAX (Penny Arcade Expo), a convention and expo for games, gamers and comics, and a charity which will probably raise over a million dollars this year. Cool, huh. It's their job (and they even have employees) to follow their passion.

So, what have I done to start me on my path? Well, here locally, there are a couple of outlets for crafty type people to share their work. One is the Dona Ana Arts Council, which sponsors the Renaissance Fair every November. I will contact them, too, but I haven't taken them on yet. The other outlet would be the Southern New Mexico State Fair. I'm going to meet with the person who is in charge of the arts & crafts building/section/whatever of the fair, and talk about some ways to market participation in the fair by more artists, craftspeople, and artisans. I'm rather excited to share my ideas, and see what the next step for artisan advocacy is.

Monday, January 3, 2011

one of those days...

Today, Raine and I went to the mall. We got our back-to-school hair cuts. We got new calendars for everyone. We got new shoes for Raine, and we got some lovely shower gels for me. We had a nice lunch and we walked. It was a very nice couple of hours.

BEFORE we went, I accomplished something on my list. I thought at the time, I should blog about this right. now. before I forget. Then I thought, oh, no, I won't forget. But. Yes. Of course I can not remember what it was. hmmmm

We got the tree undecorated and ready to put away. We got the trash taken out, and the barrel to the curb for pickup in the morning. I watched a good bit of Top Gear, and laughed pretty hard at the campers the guys made and tried to use. I even read for a bit (wasn't that lovely). But whatever it was I accomplished this morning and was planning to share, it's gone for now. I'll be back sometime right before I fall asleep tonight, probably, but I doubt I'll be willing to jump up and write about it then...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

year in review

Seems like the season for them. Go figure. What with being the new year and all, now.

Best things about 2010: reconnecting with family. We traveled to Houston and visited my Aunt, and some cousins. I hadn't seen them for about 15 years. It was a good visit, and thanks to computers and facebook, the reconnection continues. Sometimes I wish I could be closer to them, but the world is what it is, and so is life. I'm happy that we haven't just totally drifted away. I've enjoyed being creative and sewing with my cousin, Roxanne. It has been theraputic in many ways for both of us. I'm looking forward to expanding our repetoire in 2011.

Worst things about 2010: loosing some family members. Any time someone you care about passes away, it is difficult, and multiple people in one year makes it that much harder. I'm disappointed in myself that I haven't taken better care of me. I've done more talking the talk than walking the walk, I'm afraid this past year. I'm working on being better to me this current year.

Hopes for the year: communicate better with friends and family, especially the people closest to me, and who I count as both. Be creative. Make things in many formats. Encourage others to do so as well. Be happy. Grow as a person.