The Season is Here - Christmas Party and Friends

Wow, Saturday sure was busy. Rick spent the day hunting at the farm, saw a doe but in the end wasn't able to get a deer. He's out again today. The freezer is no longer full, we have about 30 lbs of beef left, and he gave the two bucks he shot a few weeks ago to some very needy families. Now it's our turn to fill the freezer :) Our area has designated seasons - bow hunting, rifle/shotgun, and muzzleloading. So he does have a few more weeks of opportunity. In the meantime, I'm going to meet with my favorite local butcher and stock up on some pork and chicken - not fill the freezer, but provide us with some good variety through the winter. I do this every year and have found it to be the most economical way to keep us in meats and poultry.

So, yesterday I spent most of the day at the shop - got there at 10:30 a.m. and got home at 5:30 p.m. Okay, I squeezed in a late lunch with Katherine and Hope at Max & Erma's to talk business and shop.

Got home just two minutes before Rick and we both set out to doll ourselves up for the evening. Nothing too fancy, but we knew we were going to Saundra and Chuck's place and also knew it was going to be memorable. So, we dressed up a bit and headed out.

Got to Saundra's at 7:30 p.m. and after shedding the winter coats we toured the house. Saundra does Christmas. She has a tree in every room and every tree is themed - Train Tree, 50's movies tree, Africa tree, Sci-Fi animation tree, Santa tree, Music tree. The main tree, located in the front room, also includes the pickle ornament. The search for the pickle is a favorite game for annual attendees to the party - especially when the children get involved.

The other wonderful thing about Saundra's party is that we were assured of meeting fascinating people. This year was no exception. Though I had many conversations throughout the evening, such as the movie producer Hershel who is going to put me in his next zombie movie, Jane the admissions counselor at the local university celebrating her 20 year anniversary with the university, Julie the admin asst/scheduling expert at the local university deciding to become a Passion Party consultant, Jennifer the budding baker and mother of 4 and 6 year olds trying to 'find herself'. I finally settled in for the evening with Hattie, aunt to Saundra.

Hattie is well into her 70's and absolutely fascinating. She shared her many life experiences while making me share some of mine. She kept asking me questions about my life as if I had the most wonderful experiences to share. And I kept trying to get her to share more of her experiences with me. In the end, we thoroughly enjoyed each other.

Rick settled into conversation with Diane, cousin to Saundra. Diane is a local journalist and strong advocate of free speech and expression. Between the two of them they learned quite a bit about both sides of censorship and freedom.

We left the party at 11:30, too pooped to converse any more! But, again, the following morning (today) we found ourselves sharing our thoughts about the people we met while we enjoyed our coffee and looking forward to next year's party at Saundra and Chuck's place.

I Taught a Beading Class and it was Fun!

Saturday morning/afternoon I taught/led a two-hour Bead-A-Gift Party at Eye Candy Jewelry & Beads. Katherine, my friend, is the owner of this intriguing and wonderful shop located at Watterson Trail and Taylorsville Road in J-Town (an eastside area of Louisville, KY).

We had two women attend, a mother and daughter. Turns out that their birthdays are one week apart and when they saw the advertisement for the Bead-A-Gift Party they purchased a gift for each other!

Julie, the daughter, and Laura, the mother, were fun and creative and willing to try anything I suggested - which made the teaching experience quite wonderful.

Julie, a woman in her 20's, is getting married in June and has incredibly intense, beautiful green eyes. Laura was captivated with Julie's color choices and wanted to expand her palette, but kept going back to black and white. By the end of the party, Laura had a flower themed black and white lampwork bead bracelet, and Julie had a very organic necklace that included warm topaz/browns with bright leaf greens and a spot of yellow here and there.

I was quite impressed with the results and both were thrilled with their creations. The best part? Neither one had ever made a piece of jewelry for herself, yet both walked out of the store with a professionally completed project and were very proud of their creations. They were ready to sign up for the next party!

Such fun. I really enjoy teaching and am glad to have the opportunity to do it at Katherine's shop.

So, immediately following the Bead-A-Gift Party, I have the store manager at my back whispering "please help, please say you'll help". It seems that she had booked a beading party for a 10 year olds birthday and the party room was now filled with little princesses in the making. Now, how in the world could I turn that down?! Of course I jumped in the middle and helped each young one pick out the perfect colors for her stretchy bracelet. Then, with clip on earring parts, we made some especially notable dangling earrings for each of them (which were worn for about 4 minutes at a time because they were "pinchy"). Great fun was had by each girl - and great fun was had by me as I watched them 'glam it up' and pose for pictures :)


I Really Flopped on this one

Well, Thursday night was the night I was to tell the story of Rick being Rodeo Clown. Earlier this week I realized that the story was simply not coming together. I wasn't going to meet the 5-7 minute time limit, and no matter how I practiced it, it was not good. So, at the meeting I backed out. Told the MC that I the 'speech' simply didn't come together. I wasn't the only one, by the way.

But, upon realizing that with a few of us backing out left only 2 speakers, we were convinced to give it a go. Knowing that I would go over the allotted time meant I wasn't eligible to win the contest, and warning the group that no matter how much I worked on this story it didn't feel right, I did it.

Ok, I say I flopped, but in reality it was a good story. Just didn't meet the requirements for the contest. Those in attendance enjoyed it and encouraged me to participate next year.

So, I tried. I don't like to flop/fail/not do well, but it was a good experience. I don't do comedy, nor do I have much experience storytelling - so this was a good night for me to learn from.


Toastmasters and Me

Well, I must say that I am truly enjoying being a member of Toastmasters. I knew I would, but am surprised by how much.

According to the 15 or so regular members, they're enjoying me, too :)

Brag time!

I gave my second speech, about beads and beading, two weeks ago and got terrific feedback. At the time, the most encouraging was - "great eye contact and movement. I'm ready to take up beading!"

Last week I gave my third speech, about how communicating is much more than talk, and am thrilled with the feedback. The most important to me is the one from my mentor, an established and accomplished speaker who has been a professional speaker for about 2 years. His comments were "you have a speaker's presence. Keep the work going because you are making your presence known." Wow.

I'm prepping my fourth speech - a humorous tall tale - to be given on the 20th. Of course, I'll be talking about my hubby's attempt at being a rodeo clown (a story soon to be posted). No, it's not a tall tale, but trust me - most people don't believe us when we tell it :)

This Friday (the 14th) I'm attending an all day event being presented by the National Speakers Association. There will be 11 presentations given by well-known speakers and plenty of opportunity to network. I'll be taking notes because each speaker will be giving pointers on how to improve and study the craft. Then, I'll be handing out at least 100 business cards (that's because more than 100 people are registered to attend!) and promoting my research business.

Speaking of my research business, I'm meeting with the President of the NSA/Kentucky chapter to discuss his research needs for his three businesses :) Yes, the meeting will be included in the price - consultation fee!

Okay, back to work. Then back to refining my speech for next Thursday!


Freezing Point

Freezing Point (Paperback)by Karen Dionne (Author) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/051514536X/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img

Ben Maki, environmental activist, wants to solve the world's drinking water problems by using polar ice and icebergs. A book worth reading. Karen Dionne's writing style is fluid and on target for leading the reader into great visuals, rather than getting stuck in the narrative and not trusting the reader to 'get it'. I'm a fan of thrillers, be they science or medical or psychologically based, and this one is a good one. The characters are believable and have personalities that are consistent throughout the plot. The science is interesting and appears to be well researched, at least the writing was convincing and in fiction that is the point. Knowing this is her first book, I am anxiously awaiting her second.

Check it out!


Happy Anniversary!!

Today, Rick and I celebrate 18 years of marriage. Wow. And I still like him! LOL

Seriously. Our life together has not been boring. Some things we could both have done without. Some things we both want to remember forever.

Most of all...I'm still glad I said "yes".


I've Been Tagged...

When I checked my comments today, I saw that I'd been tagged by AJ at http://erthefae.blogspot.com/ with one of those blog memes where you share random facts about yourself and then tag your friends.

So, here are the rules:

1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

So without further ado, here are some facts about me:

1. I dip french fries in mayonnaise because I really, really, really dislike ketchup in any form - yes, even when cooked on meatloaf (double yuck!).

2. 20 years ago I thought I would marry a tall, dark, white-collar professional man and have three children - my hubby Rick and I married in 1990, he's short, blond, blue-collar man and we have no children. And, we're two peas in a pod :)

3. Though I'm shy by nature I have found that I enjoy public speaking.

4. My favorite color, for now, is orange, followed closely by yellow. Being a Gemini, don't be surprised when my favorites change - they do every few years.

5. I still play classical piano, though not as often as I used to. As a kid I dreamed of being a concert pianist, until I realized that it meant playing in front of people :)

6. I get motion sickness - cars, trains, planes, amusement parks, revolving restaurants. I'm better than when I was a kid, but I still take precautions.

7. With the help from a family member, I started my own business a few months ago - doing what I love which is research and information/fact finding. Hoping to make some money by year end :)

As for the 7 soon to be tagged, here they are:


Now, back to my regularly scheduled writing assignment - speech for Toastmasters, copy for postcards (marketing), review of website for discussion with webmaster tomorrow morning - and yes, I will fit a bit of beading in here!


Whew...what a busy coupla weeks

So, the insurance company has not completed the claim process for us to repair the roof. Hurricane Ike did quite a number on it, and on over 500,000 homes in the Louisville Metro area - so I know the poor claims adjuster is on overload. I hope we have a settlement and a new roof before winter :)

I've been spending time with the Kelly family - as always, but now with a poignant note during every visit. I'm getting an idea of what it's like to lose a close family member. I admit, though, that I am glad the Kelly's are family oriented - it means they're always around, putting each other first, even as they fight :) Mary is doing well, still caught up in finalizing paperwork and such related to Terry's death. But, because she is surrounded by the kids and friends (me included) she's getting by just fine.

My website for the new business is almost ready. I've written 6 pages of content, have located the news feed I want to include, have signed up with an online payment system, and am now in search of an appropriate photo for the banner. Burke Research Services is in business, I just can't send you to the site just yet. I have had some projects, though - yippee! Small, but they paid enough to pay the bills :) I have some bids out on a few other projects and should know something in a week or so.

As for beading - I have realized that I simply do not like to do bead embroidery. Too much like sewing for me. Besides, one of the best things about off-loom weaving is that my working hand always has beads running through it - providing the same meditative qualities as prayer beads do. This doesn't happen with embroidery. I'm almost finished with a name tag for myself, then I think that will be it for quite a while.

I am teaching basic jewelry classes at Eye Candy Jewelry and Beads in J'town, KY. Can't seem to get anyone interested in weaving classes, yet. Though a few people are asking for more advanced jewelry classes - without providing me information about what they mean by advanced...hmm, go figure. Anyway, Katherine (store owner) will be having beading parties (bead a gift) in November and December, so that should be fun.

Speaking of beading, I'll be doing just that at my Toastmasters meeting. I've decided to do a quick speech on the benefits of beading and my turn is this month. Next month I'm entering the BS speech contest - for those in the know, I intend to tell the story of Rick's attempt at being a rodeo clown. I have a feeling that no one will believe its a true story!

Okay, back I go - time for work. Until next time...Bead Happy!


Good-Bye Terry Kelly - be at peace

Terry Kelly and his wife Mary stepped in to become surrogate parents to me in the early '80s. My parents moved (with my 2 brothers) to Indianapolis and I was old enough to wave 'so long', as I was really tired of moving.

There is no way to express the amount of guidance, love and attention he and his wife have given me over the years. I have a key to the house. Many times I've come into town and walked into their home, picked a bed or couch and crashed for the night - then to be awakened by Jamie (the youngest) or Mary for breakfast. Every year, since 1990, my husband and I have attended their annual New Year's Eve party.

Countless cups of coffee at their dining table. Midnight calls for help with one of the kids. Jamie, the youngest, was the same age as my younger brother and just as humorous. He died at 32 in 2005. Erin, the only girl, was a bridesmaid for me. Shaun, the oldest, was a wild child and we dated for a short time - very short. Tim, though mentally he is a child his heart is large. Kevin, my age, is a dear friend to both me and my husband.

They're family. We're spending today at the house, by their request. Tomorrow we'll be at their side for the viewing, then Tuesday for the funeral. Ricky will probably be a pallbearer.

Here is a link to Terry's obituary http://www.legacy.com/louisville/Obituaries.asp?Page=LifeStory&PersonID=118044390- which says nothing about the 5'3" Irishman's huge heart, silly sense of humor, constant appearance (after retirement) in the court system to keep in touch with inmates/guards/fellow probation officers, wiry frame that never got over 130 lbs., knack for turning down the hearing aid just as the women got to talking, ability to guide many people along the road of life. He could be found at the bowling alley every Friday night - but he didn't bowl. He liked to visit, cheer people on, encourage people to improve, help people get by. He had a temper that showed through very red ears and squinty eyes, a heart that was generous and giving.

Terry died of COPD and emphysema. We watched him deteriorate for over a year, until finally he became bedridden. On Friday evening/Saturday morning, sometime after midnight, he died in his sleep. Mary found him at 4:30 a.m. Saturday.


Beading Class at Eye Candy Jewelry and Beads

Saturday, September 27 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. I'm teaching a basic stringing class at my friend's new store in Jeffersontown, KY. Katherine and her partner Debra opened Eye Candy Jewelry and Beads in August (officially) and have asked that I be their primary beading instructor :) Yeah!

The first class is about stringing - picking the right beads, learning about beading wires, using a crimping tool and crimping correctly, learning about proportion of the beads and colors and fit. We have quite a few women signed up for both Saturday morning and Tuesday evening - a repeat of the class. I'm excited and looking forward to teaching again.

Upcoming classes will include beadweaving. I thought I would start with a netted bracelet, then offer another class to guide students on how to embellish the bracelet :)

Another class would be flat Ndebele - an intermediate class.

I'll be talking with customers and students to gauge their interest and needs, and then plan the classes accordingly.

So, if you're a Jeffersontownian/Louisvillian/southern Indianian interested in attending a class with me - send me a note with your questions and/or requests and we'll see what we can do for you :)

Until then...Bead On...Bead Happy!


Time Flies by Fast, Doesn't It?

Wow. August has come and gone and we're now in the middle of September. Yikes! I really did not mean for the blog to get neglected. Every few days I found myself thinking "you really should update your blog, you have friends and family wondering what's happening with you." Then I would get sidetracked with various 'life' things. Here are some of them:

I purchased the necessary software/equipment to become self-employed. I started my search for a home-based business back in 2003. In early 2007 I came upon a suite of software and a network of business owners that specialized in research/market research/sourcing and marketing, utilizing the internet but also the basic tools used in research such as telephone, library, hoofing it to the front door of a consumer, etc. Anyway, my background includes research projects in a few different industries, expert knowledge in two industries (manufacturing and electronics/engineering), and writing. So, I decided in April 2007 that this was the route for me to become self-employed. Two speed bumps - funding and high speed internet access at home.

Rick and I set out to save as much money as possible, and to encourage our small town to buy into or allow for high speed internet access. I participated in speaking before local business councils, city councils and county councils to present the case for building towers and laying wire for access. The town installed wireless towers in February 2008 with limited access :(

June 2008 is when Verizon came to town with DSL. Yippee! I had the high speed, I had the funds. But, if I were to outright purchase the business tools I needed it would leave me and Rick vulnerable, financially. Oh the dilemma! Then a family member came forward, out of the blue, and offered assistance. Kudos and wowzers to them :) :) :)

So, I am the proud owner of Burke Research Services with a soon-to-be up and running website at www.burkeresearchservices.com. Available to small, medium and large businesses (for profit or non-profit) to provide candidate sourcing for recruiters, e-mail marketing campaigns, market research, competitive intelligence, consumer research, etc.

August was spent studying and learning and studying and learning. I have a suite of software, up-to-date technology, that I needed to become adept at using. I attended webinars, seminars and conferencing classes. I was interviewed for a radio program. I've joined local networking groups. I've been writing copy for web pages. I've been getting the word out that I am in business. Whew. I've been busy.

September 15 was my target date for the website to be up and running. I got sidetracked with beading and illness :( Then the windstorm from Hurricane Ike hit and we're just now up and running with power. Thank goodness we have cash in the bank...we need a new roof :(

Anyway, by end of month my website will be up and running.

I have had some good inquiries that should turn into paying projects, just going to take a bit of time to work the sale :)

In the meantime ---

Took a long weekend to spend with Mike and the family at Winona Lake. Tammy and I spent most of our time on the bicycles and on the jet ski :) Mike and Rick built a large shed...12' x 16' (room addition if you ask me), from scratch...with plans that Mike made. Custom trusses ala Rick :)

I will be teaching beading classes at Eye Candy Jewelry and Beads in Jeffersontown, KY. She's located on Watterson Trail at Taylorsville Rd. Classes will be basic beading/stringing while learning crimping techniques, basic beadweaving while learning netting and spiral stitches. Intermediate beadweaving will be diagonal peyote (Russian Leaf pattern) and flat Ndebele embellished with crystals and such :) First class is Saturday, Sept. 27 at 11 a.m.

That's it for now. I'll post again soon with pics and more info and such.


The Painter of Shanghai - a book review

The Painter of Shanghai
Jennifer Cody Epstein
Penguin Books
ISBN: 978-0-141-02933-7

Let me begin this book review by saying a few things about my reading habits. First, fictional biographies are not my cup of tea. My experience with them has been spotty with decent reads mixed in with stilted writing and unbelievable scenarios. Second, China (Asia in general), is not an attractive culture to me. I don't care for the art as I consider it busy and garish. I don't understand the 'hidden' undercurrents of that society.

So, knowing the above, I delved into a book that is both fictional biography and set in China.

Wow. What a wonderful surprise this book is! It is a tale of a Chinese woman's journey from the life of a prostitute to being a controversial artist. Beginning in 1957 and set in France we're given a short introduction to Pan Yuliang of today. Soon, though, we're transported to 1913 when she is 14 and her life changes direction. Here is where we learn of her family, the traditions of Chinese life and how they rule the educated and the rural ignorant. Sold into prostitution by a trusted uncle, she struggles to learn and survive. Two years later she is rescued from the life by a kind gentleman who works in local government, who takes her as his concubine. He is a believer in empowering women to be individuals and independent. Drawing and doodling, her talent is noticed by a local artist. She enters art school and becomes the artist she was meant to be.

There. That's a quick summary of the story. Now for the best part. The reading. Jennifer Cody Epstein writes with beautiful prose, introducing various bits and pieces of Chinese life and culture as effortlessly as if she were sharing her own story. Her knowledge and research comes through beautifully, but her skill with storytelling is what held my attention. I was shown how a woman lives in China when it is a Republic, to China when it is Communist.

I was captivated, entranced and curious as to what would happen next. Not once did I believe Pan Yuliang to be whining or play the martyr. Her story is horrible. It is incomprehensible to me that China would consider women in such roles and their traditions are still unattractive to me. And yet each scene and experience is believable.

The tale of Pan Yuliang was told with dignity and respect, and adding in the skill of the writer I believe this is why I enjoyed reading it.

I recommend this to anyone interested in learning about a strong woman's life. And how she got the strength to go forward by believing in others, in herself and having the pragmatism necessary to survive difficult times.

I look forward to reading more of Jennifer Cody Epstein's work. See for yourself at www.jennifercodyepstein.com.


The Bucket List is a winner

Rick and I watched The Bucket List last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. Jack Nicholson portrays a lonely multi-gazillionaire with a hidden heart and Morgan Freeman portrays a hard working middle class family man. Both did a fine job. The story is quite believable, with moments of hilarity and bittersweet poignancy. We laughed, we sighed, we guffawed, we reminisced. Rick and I never had an office 'bucket list', but we both have things and places we want to see and do before either one of us die, so we related to the desire shown by both of these characters.

The best part of the entire movie, for me, is that both characters stayed true to their values. Even when facing death, they did not put their moral character on the line. Quite refreshing!

We both wholeheartedly recommend this one! Enjoy.


BFAC done!

I named this piece "Choices"

A Necklace

Three bracelets

A Choker

I struggled with the vase idea. While working on the netting I was struggling with being bored with it. To take a break and relax my mind, I dumped a few colors from the project onto my beading mat and contemplated chucking them into the garbage (really, for a moment I thought it). Then I pushed a few orange squares together, a few blue rounds. Picked up needle and thread and worked up a flat herringbone piece. Hmmm. I did the same with a few other colors and larger beads. It was beginning to look like a bracelet that I just might like. My stash of findings include basket crimps and snap clasps (my favorite clasps) and I pictured two bracelet possibilities. Then, looking at the netting on the vase I saw additional bracelets. But I wanted a choice available to me and the final owner - necklace or bracelet or both? End result is 1 necklace or 1 choker or 3 bracelets. I'm happy.



Ha! Didn't know I was a closet ABBA fan, did you now? So I'm outed. I think I've done well to hide it these past 20 years or so...but now I just can't help myself. I had the opportunity to see the ABBA wannabes with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra a few weekends ago and had a ball! No, they're not ABBA. No, they aren't as good as ABBA. Yes, I sang along with every song, joined my aunt, my cousins and a niece on the lawn of Connor Prairie and boogied until I could boogie no more. Whew! Then I proceeded to try to wear out my ABBA CDs. Yes, Rick is happy to be working out of town during the week...I've had that CD playing every day since the concert. I've been a dancing dervish, boogying fool, jiggly old gal...having a good time, thank you very much :)

There. It's out. I'm an ABBA fan and too old to care if you know it! HA! I hope you do the same :) Oh, I happen to love every song, no particular favorite...so enjoy!


Memorial Day, Birthday, Family

It doesn't get much better than this.

Memorial Day, the 26th, was my birthday. Rick and I went to Winona Lake to spend three wonderful days with Mike, Tammy, the kids and my mom. What fun we had. Arriving late Friday afternoon, Rick and I were attacked by the kids - nothing beats having an 11 yr old and a 9 yr old hug and love on you for a good 10 minutes.

Tammy made homemade strawberry shortcake, just for me and it was absolutely delicious! yum! She was concerned because she had used the wrong measuring cup for the flour - 3/4 instead of 1 cup. So the shortcake was a bit dense - but it had plenty of flavor.

Saturday was spent on the lake. Mike has a deckboat, perfect for fishing or tubing. Eric swears that this is the year he will learn to waterski. I'm looking forward to seeing his progress come July 4th!

Sunday morning Tammy and I walked the 2.5 miles into Winona Lake Village. My incentive for this walk? Fresh coffee and possibly split a danish with Tammy. We took off at 9:30 a.m., got to the coffee shop at 10:20 a.m. (not bad time, if you ask me). What do we see? Nothing. Nothing in the village is open on Sunday - until noon. Oh my. Tammy was hoping for a shot of caffeine, and I admit to hoping for a bite of baked sweet goodness. Oh boy.

So, we sat on the coffee-house porch, enjoying the sunshine and cool breeze from the lake. We people-watched, talked about the history of the village, and in general twiddled our thumbs for about 30 minutes. Tammy went to college here at Grace College and is very knowledgeable about Winona Lake's history - check out info about Billy Sunday, the founder of the college and quite the evangelist, and general info about this beautiful area: http://www.winonalake.net/

We decided that my legs were now ready to move, so we walked to the lake. Then we walked two neighborhoods. Then we walked the canal. Then we walked...oh, you get it.

As we rounded the corner of yet another block, and I saw by the town clock that noon was finally within minutes of becoming reality, I shared an idea with Tammy. "Hey, do you think Mom would like to join us for lunch?" Thinking this was a great idea, she used her cell phone and within 10 minutes Mom was driving toward us. She brought Kelly with her and we made the afternoon a girls' day out. The best part? Getting a ride back! Don't tell anyone I said that.

Monday morning was spent saying good-bye - for now. Rick needed to be home before 2 p.m. because he was going to be working out of town for the next few months and wanted to get an early start on the travel. I wanted to get home somewhat early so I could hook up with a few friends before the holiday was over. So, we left at 10 a.m. and got home about 3:00 p.m.


HearIndiana Walk a Success!

I walked the 2.3k and boy am I proud! Carrying this extra 50 lbs is like carrying handweights, ankle weights and a backpack of stuff. But, I did it and can proudly say so.

Thank you to everyone who contributed and donated to the cause. My sister-in-law raised over $650, without really trying :) We're both anxious to start next year's fundraising, stoked to raise more.

HearIndiana received more than their goal of $25,000.

Here are the photos - proof that I did it! LOL

Yeah, it says Runner! I swear the number was random! Believe what you will! LOL

I've caught my breath and agreed to pose with my Aunt Chris, brother Mike, SIL Tammy and the two kids, Eric and Kelly. We've decided that purple really isn't my color.

Proof of movement! Yes, I've been caught in mid-stride. And, I'm only a step or so behind Tammy. We won't mention that I found her pace to be olympic-training speed, or that she slowed down at the 3/4 mark so I wouldn't be lonely.


Hear Indiana...

My brother and his family have dealt with hearing loss for over 11 years. Both my niece Kelly, and my nephew Eric, are 95% deaf. Both received cochlear implants...Eric at 3 and Kelly at 1. Both are mainstreamed into public schools, are bright and well-adjusted, and are participating in a fundraising effort for Hear Indiana. Eric is now 11 and a budding geologist/mechanical engineer, and Kelly is now 9 and a budding writer and runner (man, can that kid run!).

Here's a link to their page:


This photo is from August of 2007, a family reunion at Mike's place in northern Indiana. Yes, they're always this silly :) Yes, they're always this happy :) They're great people, and I'm proud to have them in my family.

Any donation you could provide, from $1 on up, would be helpful.

Rick and I will be walking on Saturday the 10th. Rather than set up my own donation site, I want you to go to my brother's and pledge there.

Thanks for your support!


Flu, Wet Noodle, Beading, Dancing....

Wow. I got the flu, then the flu got me! One solid week of varying temps, ranging from 100.5 to 103. Sweats, muscle aches, froggy throat and voice, settling in to a hoarse cough that I'm still fighting. Blech.

Went to belly dance last night. Considering that it had been over two weeks since my last class, I was pleased with my ability to keep up. Though by the end of the 2 hours I was perspiring profusely, I felt good afterward. This class ended with a choreagraphed dance that I simply could not do. The instructor kept assuring me "hey, it's an advanced choreagrphy, don't worry about it!" But, ya know, I have a tendency to want to keep up or go before others in the class - yes, I'm competitive. Oh well, I tried. I admit to being glad the mirrors were hidden from me by other students! LOL

So, I've been beading. I'm slowly working up my BFAC project, though it's coming very slowly. To brighten up my mood, and because Spring is really here, I'm doing a few herringbone ropes in white and yellow. They'll look nice twisted together and I seem to have accumulated quite a few yellow tops and blouses :)

So, though I still feel a bit like a wet noodle, I'm forging forth. My job hunting continues and I landed a personal interview for later this week with a company I've been trying to get into since '04. Uh oh, may have to shop for a new suit...no matter that I've lost 5 lbs now, it appears that these last 2 1/2 weeks of being ill have softened everything!

Anyway, I'll be loading up some pics later this week. Until then, I'm ready for a nap.


Indiana Censorship...is your state next?

I'm so embarrassed. Had I known this bill was even being looked at, I personally would have gone to Indianapolis and sat on the steps of the capitol, awaiting my representative and senator. I have written to both, pleading for their support in the removal of this bill. Please read the following article excerpt and follow the link for the full article:


ABFFE to Fight Indiana Store Registration LawBy Rachel Deahl
The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) has blasted a new Indiana law that requires bookstores to register with the government if they sell what is considered "sexually explicit materials." The new law, H.B. 1042, was signed by Governor Mitch Daniels on March 13, and calls for any bookseller that sells sexually explicit materials to register with the Secretary of State and provide a statement detailing the types of books to be sold. The Secretary of State must then identify those stores to local government officials and zoning boards. "Sexually explicit material" is defined as any product that is "harmful to minors" under existing law. There is a $250 registration fee. Failure to register is a misdemeanor.

ABFFE spokesman Chris Finan said the law is the only one of its kind currently on the books in the country. Calling it "clearly unconstitutional," Finan said ABFFE will urge the Media Coalition to challenge the law at the organization's next meeting on April 9. H.B. 1042 does not go into effect until July, by which time Finan is hopeful the lawsuit will be filed and an injunction issued by the court.


BFAC Progress..encouragement needed

Ok, so this is where I am with the BFAC project. I know, I told everyone I was going to do a RAW project, with part of the challenge being to do everything in RAW. Well, that didn't work out. I was compelled to do netting...go figure. Anyway, so here I am. I have a collar of sorts and I thought I would continue the chevron pattern up to the lip of the vase. Then, I made a flower using 3 bead netting, and in the center I have a square swarovski. Right now my plan it to do two more flowers, net the bottom of the vase in 3 bead netting, then attach the flowers in a small bunch at the base of the neck. Then, at various points around the netting on the bottom of the base, use the drops from the kit. That is my thinking right now. Thoughts from the outside world are now needed! Encouragement to continue with my plan or ideas to enhance or even the occasional "Bleh, bad idea" would be appreciated.
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Belly Dancing, Shimmy the Shoulder, Pop the Hip...

Oh my. I survived my first belly dancing workshop today. I attended a one day workshop with a local instructor that covered the absolute basics on up to stage presence and performance. It was a 4 hour workshop, and I lasted into hour 2.5! :) Yes, I am as surprised as you are about my lasting so long.

Now, this does not mean that I mastered all the moves, a few of the moves, or any of the moves for that matter. Nor does it mean that I am now ready to perform for anyone other than an instructor!

What it does mean is that after taking the plunge into exploring dance as a method of fine tuning my flexibility and fluidity (of which I have none...klutz of the year here...known to have random bruises with no knowledge of where they came from) it is a good thing.

AJ, a beading friend in Tucson, says that after a few months of lessons she stopped obtaining the random bruises, and has become quite adept with being graceful. I look forward to saying this for myself.

Anyway, I'll know tomorrow whether any soreness will be felt, but as of right now...three hours after the workshop, I'm feeling okay.

The instructor is offering beginner lessons, 1 per week for 4 weeks starting this Wednesday. I'll be talking to a friend about joining me in this adventure, but whether she joins me or not I'm intending to take the classes. I truly do not want to perform, or find my inner diva (according to the instructor we all have one) or dance for anyone other than myself and my husband. No, really, I just want to walk a bit more gracefully, have a presence about me and stop the random occurrence of bruising on my body :)


Flexible Cement, Arsenic Soil, Math and a Pond...

It's the annual middle school/high school regional Science Fair! And, this year I was asked to judge the engineering category, as well as the Final Judge session for "Best of Show".

What fun I had. The Fair is held at the student activities center on the University of Louisville's campus, near downtown Louisville. Judges representing various disciplines come from a wide background of professorial types to the hobbyist to the person whose job is in the field of study. My engineering studies, combined with my previous field work using engineering principles, is what landed me in that category. Though most of the projects were mechanical or structural engineering, I at least understood the principles used in physics and materials. And, the importance of documentation :)

Mathin, the Flexible Cement young man, was a 7th grader who had poured a cement patio with his father, then experienced the dreaded cracking and hollowness of a badly done cement job within 30 days of the pour. Wanting to know what happened, he investigated cement and mixing and such. Happening upon a construction worker a few weeks before the Fair, he learned that mixing a fibrous material with cement keeps it pliable/flexible when dried. He experimented with various plant fibers and man-made fibers, then hit upon a mix of Home Depot cement with Sisal (plant fiber). He is now ready to re-do the patio with Dad this summer. He received 1st place in engineering and a special award during Final Judging. And, a quick remark from me about how adding rebar would make difference :)

Karey, the 6th grader who analyzed soil samples for arsenic was quite impressive. Her concern? Her neighbors in a predominantly Asian neighborhood had gardens close to the house. Which meant that the food was close to old decks and walkouts - made with pretreated lumber. So, does the arsenic in the pretreated lumber leach into the soil, contaminating the food items? Yepper, it does! Her methods were spot on, her documentation flawless, and her conclusions were well represented. And, her beautiful black hair pulled into adorable pony tails to the side of her wide eyed face didn't hurt either! LOL

Casey, the 6th grader who wanted to show that mathematical modeling was the way to go when to determine future effects of global warming and acid deposition in fresh water ecosystems. Holy Macaroni! Did this kid know her stuff? Yepper. She blew the socks of the Math Judges, then absolutely blew the socks off we Final Judges. Yes - she received the Best In Show. Turns out that she out-performed, out-calculated, out-did the seniors! Wow. And, her presentation skills were pretty good, considering she's a really short young woman with enough brown hair to cover half her upper body :) On a side note, loved her fashion sense of wearing long shoulder brushing diamond shaped earrings (picture 3" long), silver, with a black shift dress that had fun silver sparkles near the hem, and finished off with black tights and mary jane shoes. What a cutie! LOL

I'm signed up for next year, have almost convinced Rick to join me (engineering or environmental science) and will be recommending a few of my friends to the Director for future recruiting!


Martian Child - A Terrific Movie

Starring John Cusack, Amanda Peet and Joan Cusack, and introducing Bobby Coleman.

Now available on DVD - I recommend getting it today.

Based on the true short story written by sci-fi author David Gerrold, this is an inspiring and uplifting movie. Rick and I watched it over the weekend, while we were snowed in. We both thoroughly enjoyed it and will be recommending it to everyone we meet.

Ever felt like a misfit? Ever met a child that you thought was a misfit? Ever sat back in awe of a child's ability to use the imagination in order to survive?

David the writer is a widower and getting more and more lonely as time passes. Thinking that a child would add an interesting dimension to his life, David visits a group home and happens upon Dennis - a child hiding in an Amana appliance box. Eventually the two meet face to face, then share the same house, then David completes the adoption. It's the in-between stuff that makes all the difference on this journey.

I loved the fact that it is based on a true story, as evidenced by the 'special feature' showing an interview with the original David and son. The compassion and respect this man shows is very inspiring, especially in the face of a child whose background is that of abuse and abandonment.

This is a perfect family movie, one that can touch the hearts of children everywhere. It teaches compassion, respect, communication and understanding. Understanding that everyone comes to a situation with varied backgrounds, yet common ground can be found.


Pay It Forward

My husband and I have always believed that when we receive something from someone, instead of paying that person or persons back, we become ready to give to someone else in need. Over the years, we have received random acts of kindness, money because we had none at one time, dinner because when we were homeless we were hungry, time on the phone because we were lonely, a random card of appreciation for something we had done.

The above has never been a 'formal' project, just a way of living a life of gratitude. Anyway, I have joined a project Pay It Forward. Here are the 'rules' and what I pledge to do:

The first three people who comment on my blog will receive something handmade from me, if they in turn will do the same thing...See the rules below:

Pay It Forward rules: I will send a handmade gift (something beaded) to the first 3 people who leave a Comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange (and email me their mailing address), and who make the same pledge on their own blogs. I don't know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward meaning you will do the same for three people who comment on your blog. Chances are very good you will receive the gift within a few weeks :)

Ok, so here you go. Now it's up to you to formally participate in a Pay It Forward project. I look forward to hearing from you.


I got a surprise in the mail today!

A cyber friend from the All About Beads forum sent me a necklace! I hope the photo I took did justice to it. It's quite nice. The lampwork focal is a combination of blue, green and rust-orange. The photo shows the spring green side, whereas the blue is a lovely sky blue :) She used pearlized orange 8s for the core beads and lime gree, black and white for the spirals. In the middle of some of the black spirals are light blue Swarovski bicones, the same shade as the blue in the focal. Finishing off this lovely piece is a Bali silver hook clasp. I think it's quite lovely and will be happy to wear it this spring and summer - because I found a wonderful blouse to wear it with! Thanks Marilee!


And Now - the unveiling of the kit

Beading for a Cure at http://www.beadingforacure.org/ and current auctions at http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZbeadingforacure

BFAC sells the kit for a nominal fee. All kits are the same. Each bead artist is to create something utilizing at least one bead from each size and color in the kit. An additional bead can be added, though all added beads must be the same size and color. For instance, I could decide to add a creamy yellow to the mix in size 11s. That is all I can add. The kit(s) were produced and supplied by Betcey, owner of Beyond Beadery at http://www.beyondbeadery.com/ .

Here is the kit I received:

Many thanks to Dulcey Heller for allowing me to use her photo. You can see her beautiful work at http://www.dulceyheller.com/

So, these are not my colors...really. Though they are earth tones, I do not use color-lined beads. I'm encouraged by my ideas, though. My first thought upon opening the package was - well, no herringbone necklace here! I'm concerned about the slime, er, lime green swarovskis. And the color lined drops. Hmmmm.

I will be embellishing an amber vase using RAW (right angle weave). I will be using 'medallions' along the bottom curved portion of the vase and basic beading around the neck. I may add some pearls to this mix, only because it needs something to lighten it up!

I have some basic work done, but not quite enough yet to post a photo. Though I intend to share progress photos in the upcoming weeks.


I Wanna Go Back!!

Oh my, I've been home a few days and already I'm ready to go back to Tucson! To heck with the fact that the scenery left me dry (pun intended). Desert and mountains with lots of sunshine and 70 degree weather is preferable to ice covered landscapes and 30 or below at home. I'm losing the freckles! My only claim to tanning, I might add.

Rick is ready to go back to Florida. Which does not help me in any way to be happy about being home now! LOL

He's been making noises about visiting some friends in Alabama. Friends I haven't seen for quite a few years. Friends that have a lake house, with a boat, with fishing equipment. Friends who want us to visit. Friends who recently told Rick that the bass are getting lonely. Aw, geez, how do I fight fishing, sunshine, morning coffee with friends! Ack!!

In the meantime, I continue my job hunt. Though I want to be self-employed one day, actively building a business I have researched and come to believe is right for me - because it requires the extensive use of a computer, research and customer service - I also know that I refuse to go into debt. Therefore, I need to be gainfully employed.

My plan - to get a job in supervision, management, technical something. Keep the job for at least the next few years. Purchase the business and do it part-time for at least a year. Now, if only the rest of the world were on board with this plan!

So, I continue the job-hunt, continue to fend off the urge to tell hubby "let's pack it up for a week and get out of there", bead some new designs and pray.

Oh yeah, I'm participating in the 2009 BFAC (Beading For a Cure) charity. Read more about it here www.beadingforacure.org.

I received my kit and am already working on the piece! Surprise! No thoughts about what to do with this odd assortment of colors. I knew after opening the package what the beads needed to become. Pictures and info after the project is finished.

Okay, enough whining. I only allow myself a few minutes to whine, then I get some cheese and get back to work. So, off to eat some cheese and bead a bit more!


Home and enjoying Tucson Stash!

Well, I made it home with out all the drama from my flight out of Louisville, thank goodness :) I forgot to mention in that post that though I was wearing 'the patch', upon landing in Tucson I did have to use two bags...thank goodness I don't eat before a flight. And, on the flight home I used 'the patch' and a Bonine. I think I've hit upon the perfect combination. The only issue with using a motion sickness aid is that they tend to make you very drowsy. So much so, I slept 11 hours the first night and 10 hours the second. I should be back to normal tonight.

Okay, so here are some pictures of my purchases in Tucson. I'm missing just a few pieces...only because my mother is wearing them! LOL

Lampwork, rainbow agate and red coral. The black glass has confetti type decoration and I simply could not resist. The hearts and disks are in varying shades of green. My absolute favorite buy is the rainbow agate! OMG, blue and orange with white streaks! Just beautiful! And the red coral matches/accents it perfectly. I cannot wait to start working on a project with these babies.

Fossil squares, 4 pendant pieces from Dakota Stone, some Dave Christensen glass focals, a Netsuke horse for my niece, Kelly. A gold dipped leaf and a bronzed leaf of kale :) The four pendants are picasso jasper framed with black onyx. I fell in love with the gal who designs these. She is Chinese, graduated from Purdue with an engineering degree, then finished with an MBA, married a computer programmer, then purchased a factory in China to produce her work with stones. A delightful young woman whom I look forward to doing business with throughout the years. The last piece is a Devin Somerville lampworked pendant that didn't come out right in the photo. Ack! my lack of photography skills are really showing here. I'll try to scan it later.

Pearls, pearls and pearls :) Mother of Pearl strands in green, grey, teal and topaz. Small seed pearls in cream, green and topaz. Green jasper squares, serpentine rondelles and green jasper tubes - the rest of them were used for something that my mother is now wearing! Red coral 2mm rounds, Lapis 2mm rounds, brown goldstone star and sodalite teardrop pendant.

I love glass. Below is all venetian glass in varying colors of gold, brown, black/silver and a salmon kind of color. Bottom right are swarovski pendants in greens, pinks and topaz.

I found Wynwoods Gallery and picked up a bunch of things :) Now I can go to her website and have a better idea of what I'll be getting :) Two lampwork cabs, a lovely stone cab (no idea what kind), copper links, copper chain, gold necklaces for pendants.

The findings! We cannot forget the findings! Crimps, head pins, snap clasps, toggles in silver and copper. Some gold, some sterling. A kit from Nikia Angel cuz I like the shapes and colors she used for bead embroidery, plus I'm hoping to get some practice in on the bead embroidery :) And, two pair of earrings I purchased from the copper mine after touring the mine with my family :)

That's all for now folks :) On the one hand I have hard time believing I spent the kind of money that I did, on the other hand I'm thrilled I was able to go to Tucson and probably won't be going to a bead show again for another year or so! LOL


Tucson Update

I'm having a great time! On Thursday evening, my mother and I joined 4 others at a bead dinner at PF Chang's...Yum! Originally this bead dinner, an annual event, had 11 to 12 people scheduled to attend, but only 6 of us showed up. What a shame. First because the organizer was limited to just a few restaurants able to accommodate 10 or more people, thereby reserving a banquet room. Second because once the organizer knew the actual number of people attending we could have eaten somewhere else. Not that the food wasn't good, but the ambience was a bit noisy and dark. We would have preferred a cafe or bistro setting. Oh well, maybe next year the others will join us!

So, my feet are in good shape :) I purchased a pair of New Balance walking shoes the day before I flew out of Louisville and am thrilled with how they're holding up to walking on concrete for up to 4 hours a day. My brain is a bit fogged by beads, beads, beads and more beads. LOL So, mom and I took the day off on Saturday and went site seeing, then joined my uncle and his girlfriend for dinner last night at Olive Garden. While eating, mom and Elda planned my last week here - filled with site seeing jaunts and a few questionable excursions :) Yes, they left me two more days to shop for beads! LOL Though I was assured that the schedule was negotiable.

I found a good vendor for findings and loaded up on a year's worth :) And, today we're going shopping at yet another show. We've only gotten to 5 shows out of 42 you know :)


I think I should learn how to discern gemstone quality

First let me say that it took until Feb 4 for the RV park's wireless network to be up and running. Then, for it to be stable has taken another day or so. So, there is good reason why I haven't been on every night and bloggin about Tucson.

Second, having now spent 4 days being dazzled by semi-precious and precious gemstones, I've come to the conclusion that I need to learn my gemstones and their qualities. As well as how to determine whether I'm getting a good price or not. I won't give up the bead-weaving, but boy would I love to design a setting for the star-cut citrines I purchased. They're top drilled and will work beautifully with heishi gold tubes I have. But, I can easily see a few of them set in a cocktail ring that would WOW anyone within 20 feet.

But, I'm not a jeweler, nor do I have skill in casting or working with precious metals - yet. I have a feeling there will come a day when I become more knowledgeable.

In the meantime, my poor mother is on bead overload. She's such a trooper. She's driven me to the shows each day and has declared herself my assistant :) Meaning, she drags the suitcase behind her and helps me pick out things to fill it! This is her first bead show and I think she's spoiled :)

I've purchased copper chain, Robert Jennik lampwork, rainbow botswana agate, lampwork pendants, MOP and seed pearls in varying colors, display items for my booth, green turquoise, some cool glass beads in different shapes, some huge green striped lampwork hearts for focals. And the best, for me at the moment, is when I came upon Wynwoods Gallery booth (http//www.wynwoods.com) and finally got some cool stuff...check out Lois' designs, I just love them!

No photos yet. Mom hasn't figured out her camera and I'm too tired to deal with it right now LOL. But, maybe tomorrow or Friday I'll get them posted and you can drool with me.

Until then, happy beading!


I Made it to Tucson - on time, but barely

I'm now in Tucson, thank goodness. Before I begin sharing my Gem Show experiences, let me take you back...back to last Tuesday, the day before I was to fly out of Louisville and into Tucson. The day when all plans seemed reasonable, when life was good, when all was well, when I knew I was a lousy traveler but made sure all things were in place...

I started the day by gathering my beads and working projects and putting them away. This is a courtesy to my husband who has been out of state for the last three weeks. He'll be home before I will, and I want him to come home to a clean spot in the living room! LOL

At about 1 p.m., I spoke with Judy, my friend who had offered to take me to the airport (at 5 a.m. no less), to help me save money on parking fees. She was ready. She had set all her clocks in the house for 4 a.m. and planned to sleep in the living room to awaken to the television. There was gas in the car and she had already told "the office" that she may be a few minutes late in the morning (this way she could grab a quick nap after taking me to the airport).

Because I had purchased my tickets via Travelocity, I knew I could 'check-in' on-line anytime during the 24 hours before my flight. I was scheduled to fly out at 6:45 a.m. Wednesday morning. I got on-line this last afternoon at home and played and surfed and e-mailed. I thought about checking in, but decided I'd wait until later in the evening.

At about 4 p.m. I started packing. It didn't take me but 30 minutes because I am an experienced traveler and knew ahead of time what I would be taking with me. I debated as to whether or not I should put on the "patch" (motion sickness aid called TransDerm using the drug Scopolamine to prevent severe reactions to motion - from which I suffer). But, I decided to wait until morning. For goodness sake, I was going to get up at 3:30 a.m. Plenty of time for the patch to begin working while waiting for my flight.

At 6 p.m. I took myself out to dinner. I knew this would be the last meal before traveling, a precaution against the patch not working completely. So, I fully enjoyed my favorite meal of French Onion Soup, Oriental Chicken Salad and Blonde Maple Brownie at our local Applebee's.

As I left Applebee's I noticed the wind was quite gusty and that it was 10 degrees or so cooler outside than when I had first arrived. While on the road home I heard the latest news flash on the radio - tornado watch in my county. I get to my town, stop at a gas station to fill up and the weather doesn't appear too bad. The station attendant assured me that 70 mph winds were being felt in a town 15 minutes west of me. Uh oh, this could be a problem.

I get home at about 7:30 p.m. and have to retrieve my trash cans from the front yard. Ok, at least it isn't hailing. The winds were pretty rough, but we've had worse. Inside I go to my computer to check-in and see that my wireless network is down. Guaranteed it's because the tower has been blown down. Shoot! Ok, don't panic, I still have dial-up. I get to Frontier Airlines' website and select "online check-in". 40 minutes later the silly graphics are still not up on my screen. I wander through the house, cleaning up a bit, checking my list for packing, etc. after 65 minutes and the website is still not up I realize that I won't be able to check-in. No biggie. I'm planning to be at the airport by 5:30 a.m. so I'll have time.

The news is now saying that the watch has been reduced to a warning, but beware of high wind gusts. Ok. Here we have steady winds of 70 mph and now experiencing gusts of up to 90 mph. All I can do is hope that this all dies down by in the morning.

I go to bed at 8 p.m. Hey, I'm getting up at 3:30 a.m., what do you expect? So, I'm lightly sleeping, not able to go deep yet, when I think I hear my phone (three rooms away). I figure it's the wind because quite a few squeaks and creaks are being heard throughout the house. Then my cell phone rings. It's next to me on the bed (one of three alarms I had set to wake me). I'm awake now! It's Judy. "Gee Char, I hate to tell you this, but my neighbors' pine tree is now in my yard and blocking my car. I don't think I'll be able to get it moved by 4:30 tomorrow morning". I assure her that, though these things don't normally happen, I do have a plan B. I'll get a cab.

Now I'm a bit nervous. Our area is having severe storms, forecasted to last through the night. I'm unable to check-in on-line. I don't normally awaken well before 5 a.m., and am supposed to get up at 3:30 a.m. Judy cannot come to get me. Do I call the cab company now? or wait til the morning? The winds are loud and obnoxious outside my window. I decide to wait until morning for the cab and snug into my bed for the night.

3:30 a.m. all three alarms go at once. I'm up. I'm out of bed. I turn off all alarms. I make a pot of coffee then hit the shower. After drying off, I put on the patch, I have a cup of coffee. It's approaching 4 a.m. I call the cab company. The only company I know to call is in Louisville. I schedule a 5 a.m. pick up. I tell the dispatcher I'm going to the airport for a 6:45 a.m. flight. I tell him I'm not in Georgetown, but in a rural area. He's convinced I'm in Kentucky and I have to tell him three times that I'm in Indiana, and that he needs to relay directions to the driver or the cabbie will never find my house. I'm assured all is well.

5 a.m. I have cash, coat and suitcase ready. All things in the house are either turned off or turned around. I even have the cabfare out of my wallet and in my pocket for easy access. I'm beginning to feel the affects of the patch so am confident that all is well.

5:15 a.m. No cab. I call the company. I'm assured that the driver is less than a mile from my home.

5:25 a.m. No cab. I call the company. A different dispatcher assures me that the driver is on his way. I tell him "not possible, he should be here by now" dispatcher puts me on hold, I need to pee.

5:30 a.m. No cab. Dispatcher calls me and tells me driver is trying to reach me. I tell him I have phone in hand and no one has called me. He says to give him 3 minutes. I hang up. The phone rings, it's the driver. "Where are you?" I ask. "Hey", he says, "I looked for your place. I found the church at **** road but your house isn't there." "I don't live by a church, you need to come through town and within 1 mile will see me." He attempts to argue with me. "Where are you now?" I ask again. "In New Albany", he replies. Oh hell, he's at least 25 minutes away! So I say "Listen bud, I'm hosed. I needed to be at the airport in the next 5 minutes." He starts to say something, but I interrupt with "You're an idiot and you've lost my business." SLAM goes the phone.

I am now in panic mode. It is now 5:40 a.m., it takes 30 minutes to get to the airport, I haven't checked in and now I have to drive! Good thing I gassed up, heh?

I bound out the door and throw my two carry-on suitcases into the car (told you I was an experienced traveler - never check a bag if you don't have to). I don't warm up, I immediately get out the drive and spin tires to get onto the main road. I hit town. There's an ambulance. Traffic is stopped because said ambulance needs to go down the road two cars in front of me. Traffic begins to move. The lights are all red. I'm starting to get nervous. I finally get to the highway. It is now 6:05 a.m. and I still have 20 minutes of driving to the airport. Yes, my foot hit the pedal and I stayed on 90 mph.

6:15 a.m., I hit Louisville International Airport. I miss the turn into the parking lot. Holy crap! I have to drive to the pick up area before having access to the parking lot. Yes, the man in front of me that is now fully stopped and looking at something on the seat beside him is important. But, not as important as my getting on my flight. HONK! I scare the bejeebies out of him, I'm sure. Anyway, I get to the parking garage. I don't care about parking fees now, I only care about getting on a plane.

I drive to the top floor, exposed to all weather conditions. I don't care. I park in the middle because I don't know where Frontier Airlines' counters are. I've always flown Delta. Oh hell. I grab my bags, lock the car and run to the elevator.

I'm on the first floor, and have two flights of stairs ahead of me. I glance at a clock. It is now 6:20 a.m. (amazing, I know). I don't think, I run. I took the first flight of stairs 2 at a time, the second flight I took the escalator (I have stopped thinking by now).

At the top of the escalator I turn to the left and in front of me is Frontier Airlines' counter. Empty of passengers, has two attendants. I run to the counter and ask for my flight. This really cute, young, wide awake young man grins and says "they're boarding now". Not possible! Can't happen! I put on my best pitiful look, explain that an idiot cab driver couldn't find my house, and could he please help me make my flight? He calls the check in area and asks if I can check in at the counter. Yes. Whew. He takes me through the standard questions. I respond appropriately. I'm free to go. "Where?" I ask. He says "through that hall, turn left, you'll see security." Oh no...security!

I get to security. Half of the city of Louisville is going through security. I show my ID and boarding pass. I try to get into the shortest line. A tough little old lady stops me and tells me which line I'm to go through. I tell her that my flight is boarding. She doesn't care. Two fellas ahead of me back out of the line to let me through - yes, I'm grateful but in too much of a hurry to say so.

I'm out of security, I'm doing the O.J. through the terminal (running like a madman). I'm hearing my name on the loudspeaker for last call for boarding. I see the check in area. The attendant sees me. With raised eyebrows she asks if I ran all the way. I cannot answer. I cannot catch my breath. She pats me down and locates my boarding pass. I get on the plane. I hand over my bags to an attendant. She helps me find a seat (the plane is virtually empty). I sit. I cannot breathe. The guy next to me is cracking up, trying not to laugh out loud. I realize that I haven't put my shoes back on from during the security check. I also realize that my coat is around my waist, my belly-bag/fanny pack is under my breasts, and I still cannot breathe. But, by God, I'm on the plane! Uh oh. Gotta pee! Yes, the flight attendant laughed when I got out of the lavatory.


Whiners, Complainers, Juvenile Women watch out...

For quite a while now I've been carrying a resentment/irritation/disgust around in my head. Long enough to realize that it has affected my perspective on previous work experiences. So, considering the options available to me to relieve myself of this burden, I believe the least damaging is to write it on my blog.

Before I continue, this is related to a woman that I once worked with. Actually, she was a member of a team that I managed. To approach this person today would be unprofessional, inappropriate and possibly considered badgering :) While working with her I did broach the subject(s) and it was considered a humorous discussion on her part. A different discussion, where I requested that she stop talking about her job interviews while working caused her to lose her temper and start yelling about "free speech", and ended when she told me to meet her in the parking lot. Yeah, I'm not kidding.

Here are some of what I have already said to her, and some things I didn't get a chance to say:

Stop the whining. Sitting at your desk and stating "I just don't know how I will get all this work done" on an hourly basis is childish, annoying and disrespectful to your co-workers.

Arranging your workload to prevent you from participating in a call rotation is also disrespectful to your co-workers.

Telling new people how to do their job, after the manager has already set up a training schedule, is annoying and irksome, as well as confusing to the new person.

Complaining about your husband's infidelity only proves your childishness and immaturity. E-mailing your firefighter boyfriend (from work) about how his hose is hanging is juvenile and disrespectful to yourself and the company.

Bragging about job interviews, while working, is wrong. It is disrespectful to your co-workers, insubordinate behavior to your manager, and is not why the company pays you to be at your desk.

Declaring your experience as a manager, then acting like a toddler needing a babysitter in order to get your work done, does not reflect well on you. Complaining and whining to upper management when your manager asks that you stop whining and use the time to do your work is really annoying. It wastes time, reflects badly on you, and is disrespectful to your co-workers - because when you take the time to complain, annoy and/or meet with upper management, your co-workers have to step in for you and do your work.

There, I've said all I'm going to say. Yes, there is more, but these points are the main ones that have been on my mind. The funniest part of all of this is her inability to see that all along I was trying to help her position herself to be considered for a promotion. Yes, jealousy is a bad emotion and when I realized that this explains her behavior is when I stopped trying to help and instead tried to contain the problem.

and now for a bit of fun

The Recipe For Charlene

3 parts Flirtation

2 parts Elegance

1 part Prosperity
Splash of Beauty
Finish off with an olive

Hmm, good thing I like olives! I'll have to ask hubby and friends about the other parts :)


Tucson, AZ - Home of the Gem and Mineral Show

Oh my. I'm starting to get excited. I leave for Tucson on Wednesday, the 30th. My plan, and my plane tickets, say that I'm returning on February 19. Three wonderful weeks spent in Tucson where it is warm, where the rain does not freeze on its way down or on the ground, where snow is not an option, where humidity is non-existent. Oh my. Will I look like an apple that's been out in the sun too long?

My mother is in Tucson for the winter. Two years ago she purchased a travel camper and Dodge Durango then took off from Indianapolis and traveled the south and east coast. She spent last winter in Indianapolis and vowed that she would find someplace to 'settle into' this year. After traveling the Midwest and some of the south again this past year, she found a park in Tucson that is reasonable, had a space for a few months, and was close to the city.

Back in November my mom calls me and says "Gee Char, I've been hearing about this show that comes to Tucson in February. It has booths with beads. If you'd like to go to it, you're welcome to stay with me in the camper."

After catching my breath (jumping for joy can be exhausting!), I assured my mother that the Show she refers to has become an international affair, that jewelry designers, store owners, and collectors travel worldwide to attend. That getting a hotel room is impossible unless you've reserved it during the previous year's show. Of course I said YES!

So, armed with little more than lots of cash, a listing of some 50 odd vendors I hope to be able to purchase from, a new pair of walking shoes, and tons of designs in my head and jotted down in a small notebook - I'm flying out on Wednesday.

The Lottery

I grew up with a mother who loved to enter sweepstakes and contests. She never won anything, that I know of. When asked why she did this, her response was always the same "somebody has to win, it might as well be me." Personally, I think the local lottery stole this line from my mother for their commercials.

Anyway, so I used to enter the Publisher's Clearing House sweepstakes, the Reader's Digest sweepstakes, and once the Hoosier Lottery came into being in the '80s I started buying the tickets. With the Hoosier Lottery, my thinking when purchasing a ticket was always "well, if nothing else, at least it's going to education." Hmm.

So, I stopped all the sweepstakes entries. After 20 years of trying and not winning anything, I finally gave up. Yes, I know, I'm a slow learner. But, my saving grace is this - once I've learned something I am not doomed to repeat it!

Then again, here I sit with my Hoosier Lottery ticket - again. I purchased two tickets (sets of numbers) last Wednesday. Thursday morning I went online and checked the numbers, learning that I matched 2 - which gives me a free ticket. Happy that at least I finally won something, I turned in the ticket and received my freebie on Friday. This morning I checked my number(s) and learned that once again I won a free ticket. Hmm. Not quite so happy, but at least I won something, right?

So, later today or tomorrow I will turn in my ticket for another freebie. Wonder what I'll win on Wednesday?


Did I tell you I love Herringbone?

First it was peyote (see yesterday's post), now I'm back to my favorite stitch, herringbone. Also known as Ndebele (en-duh-belly), an African stitch I learned in '03 via trial and error and drooling over many peoples' work. So, here's a sweet bracelet using brown opaque 11s, silver-lined champagne 15s and 2-3mm button pearls. Oh the possibilities! This belongs in my personal stash because I did not finish it professionally. But, I intend to make a few more using various stones/gems/pearls etc. What do you think? Let me know!


Out of the Box, into the Triangle!

So, this little triangle box came about when I asked the question "What if...?" I was planning to work on a caged bead to use as a clasp hider for a herringbone necklace I've been working on. Then, I look down into my box of beads and saw these two colors - color lined yellow 11s and pink iridescent magatamas. Well, I don't know what came over me. I pulled them both out, along with some color lined purple 11s, made a few piles on my beading mat, and voila! a few hours later, out came this boxed triangle. Hmmm, quite a color change for me, as I normally don't care for pink. And, this is my first boxed triangle, ever. I'm pretty pleased :) Any ideas on what I should do with it now!? LOL


New lariat photo

Here is a better photo of the brown and blue lariat I finished last month. I used the basic spiral stitch, japanese 11/0s, and fringe! Yes, that is fringe you see and it did not kill me to do it! Measures 38" and wears beautifully :)

New pendant and earrings

I used delicas number 1010 and the russian leaf/diagonal peyote stitch. At the last minute I added the pearls.