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June 2009

Like a spelling test

    In an effort to begin seeing some income from my beads, I set up an Etsy store.  I actually did this a couple months ago, but so far I haven't made a penny.  Of course, that might have something to do with the fact that I haven't listed any beads yet!!  And why is that, you ask?  It all goes back to the camera. 

    See, I have a ridiculous number of beads in "inventory" (well, ridiculous to me, anyway).   So I began sorting through them to pull out the ones I thought had the best odds of selling.  Now this in itself is somewhat frustrating, because beads that I thought were pretty good when I made them now look a  Wonky.  Not all that great.  This process reduced my inventory by about 50%, and my self-confidence by about 25%.  The ones I'd picked out still looked good, though, so I set about taking pictures.

    Taking pictures of beads isn't like taking pictures of your kids, or your dog, or that really pretty rainbow you see in the sky.   First of all, beads are generally round (or at least roundish) which means they don't sit still very well.  Granted, your kids and your dog probably don't either, but at least you can threaten them with something if they wiggle.  Beads don't care.  If a bead wants to roll away, it will.  This makes photography much trickier.  

    Second, beads are shiny.  Shiny is good, right?  People like shiny.  Problem is, shiny beads tend to have shiny reflections on them when you take their picture, and that lovely little strip of glare is NOT good, especially when it's obscuring a particularly nice bit of detailing that you really want a potential buyer to see and lust after.   However, you still want the bead to be well-lit, so that all the lovely colors show up.  This causes difficulties also. 

    The most frustrating problem I have with photographing my beads, though, is what I call the "spelling test phenomenon".  If you've ever graded spelling tests or anything similar, it is very common to find yourself thinking "that looks wrong, but I know it's right" after several repeats of a given word.  I used to help my mom grade papers and we would laugh about the fact that seeing something over and over tends to actually blur your perception of it; that after a while, you can't really trust your eyes, because they're bored and don't want to see what's really there, so everything looks wrong.  I'm experiencing that with my beads.  I've looked at them so much lately that now they all look wonky.  I'll pick up a bead I absolutely love and think "Who would buy this piece of junk?  I should just sell all my equipment right now!", throw it down in frustration and walk away.  Clearly this does not help me get my beads photographed and listed on Etsy! 

    Maybe I need to just step away from the beads for a day, find something else to focus on.  I know, I'll work with the kids on their spelling!  There, their, they're....pear, pare, pair....would, should, could...wait, does that look wrong to you?

Wasn't yesterday Monday?

       Seriously, I was pretty sure when I woke up this morning that today was Tuesday.  Not Monday.  But then the day began rolling along, and now I'm not so sure, 'cause it's sure as heck felt like a Monday!

        The cats woke us up fighting on the deck outside our bedroom window at O-dark-thirty this morning.  The puppy discovered a new, high-pitched and extremely annoying noise he can produce, and decided he needed to practice it.  A lot.  Every time I tried to talk to someone on the phone, I was interrupted.   Jon went to the doctor for his yearly physical and was informed that he may have bursitis in his left shoulder. (We are too young for such things...aren't we?)  Oldest son has "lost" his algebra book and has no idea whatsoever where it could be.  I decided to take pictures of my bead stash so I can get them listed on Etsy, and the camera died after about five beads.  Seth has a snotty head cold and is "too sick" to do anything productive, but not too sick to want to have FUN.  And I'm still fat. 

        See?  This is definitely Monday material.  I think the calendar is playing games with me.  Somehow somebody snuck in an extra Monday, and I am not happy about it.  Do we ever get an extra Saturday?  NOOoooooo, of course not!  But hey, let's throw some Monday at 'em and see what they do.  Isn't this fun?  Isn't this amusing?  Look at how purple her face gets when she's mad!  OOoh, that can't be good for the ol' blood pressure! 

        Okay, so I know it's really Tuesday, but good grief!  It's not the big things that drive you crazy, it's the little piddly stuff that just keeps proliferating no matter what you do that wears you down.   I wonder why that is?  Maybe because you can't get away from it.  At any rate, today it's grating on my last nerve, and I want it to STOP.  I'd go out and try to make beads, but I'm almost afraid.  My luck I'd stick my finger in the torch flame or get a piece of hot glass down my shirt or something equally unpleasant, and I'm just not up for that today.  Maybe I'll just sit here and surf the Web for a bit....on my (slowly dying) laptop.  Sigh.

        Please tell me tomorrow is Wednesday?


I just knew it

    I've said before that I am not a particularly active or athletic person. In school I was always one of the last ones picked for any sort of game, and I was fine with that.  Playing a sport usually meant getting hit with something hard or else falling on my face.  I'm a lousy runner, my hand-eye coordination is poor, and I can't throw worth beans.  So you can see why I've always avoided sports, especially team sports.  As far as I'm concerned, they're just an opportunity to embarrass myself in front of a large group of people. 

    Last night we went to our church team's first softball game of the season.  Jon and Luke signed up to play, so I felt that as a good wife and mom I should be there to cheer them on.   Besides, I don't mind watching - spectators are usually safe - and there are always other people there to chat with during the game. 

    The church league plays seven-inning games, doubleheaders, and it was fairly chilly, so I figured I'd probably head home after the first game.    I was sitting in my camp chair, visiting with a friend,  when I saw one of our players twist his ankle and almost go down.  He managed to stay on his feet - barely - but quickly left the game to sit with ice on his ankle for a while, and he finally left.   However, within the next inning or two of John's injury, one of our girls went down and went down hard.  Joanna took a ball to the foot that knocked her off balance, and when she fell she badly twisted her knee.   She had to be carried off the field and spent the rest of the time lying on the side with ice on her knee and ankle, and half a dozen jackets and blankets piled on her.  (She should have gone home but she was really ticked she couldn't play and insisted on watching until it was over.)  A couple other players were either hit or twisted an ankle through the course of the evening, although John and Joanna were the only serious injuries.  And after all that pain, we lost both games.

    Now, you may wonder why I'm telling you all this, so here's the point: sports are dangerous.  I mean, how much safer can you get than a church softball league?  And yet two people went down over nothing more important than a round ball and a big stick.  It's not worth it, people.   If I'm going to exercise, it is NOT going to involve flying balls or swinging bats or anything else that can hit me, trip me, or otherwise cause me harm.  My own body gets me in enough trouble, thank you very much, I don't need any help.  I always knew being athletic would get you in trouble, and now I have proof.  Me, I sat on the sidelines and walked away perfectly intact.  Score one for the couch potatoes!

Here I go!

    I am pleased to announce that the new regime has met with very little resistance, and that was quickly silenced by a look at the scale.  Changes are being implemented, goals are being set, and accountability is being established.  I even have an exercise ball! 

    Humor aside, I am taking this very seriously.  This is tough for me; even as a kid I wasn't someone who enjoyed a lot of physical activity, so exercise isn't high on my list of "things I want to do today".  (My mom used to send me outside in the summer and lock the door so I'd play instead of reading in my room all day.  My solution to that was to sneak a book out under my shirt and go sit behind the garage where she couldn't see me.)   I cannot even begin to understand how people find exercise "fun".  To me, those two words don't even belong in the same sentence.  So I'm trying to find ways to move my carcass that don't make me think "Exercise!  NOOOOOOoooooo!"   One simple thing I've been doing is to walk whenever I'm on the phone, even if I just pace back and forth between the kitchen and living room.  I really did get a balance ball, and I roll around on it (when I can snatch it away from my kids).  Really I'm just trying to move more, however I can work it in. 

    As far as diet....well, that's a tough one too.  I like food.  I like food a lot.  And unfortunately, most of my favorite foods are things that don't exactly qualify as "healthy eating".  Things like fettucine alfredo, cheesecake, baked mac & cheese, Grandma's oatmeal cake....oh gosh that sounds soooooooo good right now....argh!  You see?  One thing I have figured out about myself is that I eat when I'm bored.  Nothing particular to do?  Hey, let's cram something down the ol' gullet!  Watching tv in the evening?  Can't do it without a snack, it's unAmerican!   It has nothing to do with hunger and everything to do with laziness.  Instead of finding something productive to do, I shove food down my throat.   So now, if I find myself unoccupied, I grab some knitting, or clean something, or work with my beads - anything that keeps my hands busy and full of something that's not food.  I'm also trying to get more water down, although I have to confess that most of my water intake is coffee- or tea-flavored.  (Hey, it's still a liquid!)  But I'll drink a cup of my favorite herbal tea in the evening instead of mowing down a huge bowl of ice cream, or half a box of Cheez-Its.  And I'm trying to get more fruits and veggies in, and fewer carbs.  (sniffle..)

    So that's how I'm starting out.  Hopefully little changes will add up over time to make a big difference.  I did notice this morning that I'm about a pound lighter already, which was encouraging.  I don't just want to be thinner to look better, though, I want to feel better and be healthier.  I'd really like to be able to chase my grandkids around some day, you know?  


I don't like this

    This past week has been an interesting one, to say the least.  (I use the word "interesting" very loosely, by the way.)  It was very definitely a "Murphy's Law" sort of time, and I have to tell you, I do not like it.  Not at all.  Apart from all the usual mishaps that come with daily living, I had an overabundance of migraines; my mom was in the hospital for a few day, which always freaks me out; and Sunday night a very dear friend of ours had a stroke.  Tim is 45 and has always been very healthy, so this was a complete shock.  He's doing well - thankfully it was a mild one - but there's no such thing as a "good" stroke.  Now the doctors are trying to determine what brought this on and how to prevent it happening again.

    Now, I am not normally a person who obsesses about her age.  I'm 43, that's how many years I've been breathing, and there's not much I can do about that, is there?  But Tim's stroke scared me.  First of all, obviously, for Tim - this guy is the brother of my heart, he's been part of our lives for a very long time.  The thought of something happening to him just makes me sick.  The realization that if it could happen to him, it could happen to us - that's scary too.  I've been thinking about strokes and such as something that I didn't have to worry about for a few more years, you know?   I mean, we're not young anymore, but we're not really old either.  Right?  But this is making me think differently...and again, I don't like it much.

    The biggest thing that hit me is that if Tim, who is a healthy, active person, could have a stroke, then what am I at risk for as an overweight, inactive woman?  Yeah, it's not a pretty thought.  This may be the motivation I needed to really make some changes in my lifestyle.  Pants that are a little snug around the waist weren't enough to do it, but the thought of a stroke or heart attack is definitely a kick in the rear.   Plus, I recently read an article citing research that suggests belly fat can be a trigger for migraines in women ages 20-55.  You mean losing some of my tummy could help cut  out those hellacious headaches?  I am SO there!

    The final straw came yesterday morning.  Our new puppy, Zeke, has conquered going up the stairs, but he still can't go down very well, so he frequently gets carried down (I know, I know, but there's only so much time in a day and I can't spend it all watching him squirm down 15 steps!).  I had just carried him down and thought "Wow, it's amazing how much of a difference carrying his 22 or 23 pounds makes while going up and down the steps."  Then it hit me.  With the extra weight I'm carrying (and it's been here a long time, folks...a looooong time) it's like I've been asking my body to carry two Zekes around everywhere I go.  No wonder my legs and back hurt!  That image really shocked me.  Vague things like "Oh, losing weight will help your __________" don't go very far with me, but the idea of carrying around two hefty puppies 24/7?  Ouch!  Put 'em down! 

    So I am embarking on a quest - a quest to find my lost waistline.  It's going to be tough, I know; exercise and healthy eating and all that stuff just doesn't thrill me, to be honest.  But it's got to be done, and now I really see why.