Thursday, January 27, 2011

somewhere, out there...

This is some place in China that I went to for a rather interesting dinner. Well, every dinner in China was interesting, some more than others. This dinner consisted of the obligatory drinking game (that I normally avoided) some very good food and an entire evening not talking about work. It was cold and desolate and hauntingly beautiful.

Working over there was awesome. I saw some things I can never forget. I saw some things I wish I could forget. I ate a lot of food that seem unbelievable now and enjoyed myself as much as possible. I worked harder than I ever did for longer hours and under dubious conditions, and I would go back tomorrow if asked.

Working in another country makes you really appreciate what you got. It makes you long for the times when you can tell a joke, speak a little faster, stop repeating yourself and find the light switches.

You learn to appreciate CNN, MSNBC and the BBC. You also learn to bring your own toilet paper, make a meal out of instant oatmeal, cherish your aspirins, and always wear comfortable shoes.

You learn the true meaning of humidity.

You find out who your real friends are...I was there once over Easter and my girl Trena sent me some chocolate eggs!

I found out I can pee standing up! (I also found I have no natural balance!)

When you work overseas you find out there are class differences everywhere but nowhere as pronounced as on a US air plane. And if you think that I am kidding, try sneaking into the first class section and going to the restroom. Them little flight attendants can kick like a mule.

I miss traveling there, I miss working with people who really want to provide you with quality product. I miss the interactions with people and the inevitable culture collision that occur on a daily basis. I miss the tea poured from across the room into glasses filled with what looks like grass trimmings and cocoons, the sticky rice and even the ubiquitous pigs ears.

But mostly I miss the people.

Traveling for work may not be everyones cup of tea, but for me it was heaven. ANd a silent shout-out to all my friends overseas, enjoy a moon cake for me!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Queen today

For those of us with 'big girl' glasses the words are: I am the Queen of England, I like to sing and dance, and if you don't believe me, I'll bite you in the pants. Such sentiment, such pathos, such charm and beauty!!! It was my very first computer generated design waaaaay back...I haven't improved.

I just am not computer savvy. Some people get it, some don't. At my advanced years and declining interest I am starting to realize a lot of things just don't interest me so I'm not investing any of my remaining brain cells to worry about them.

I don't text well or often...don't text me cuz I just found out I have to pay for them...emergency's I will consider, but making sure I am on your list of 10 beautiful women, bff's or gods special chosen ones, just so you think you got a chance at the lottery is gonna put you on my list. And we all know what list that is!

The Queen does not:
do any thing with the word 'extreme' in the title
eat food from dumpsters or haute cuisine joints
enjoy rap (there I said it!)
understand anything on G4
play video games more complicated than bejeweled
think Dane Cook is funny

The Queen will always bitch and moan over any changes in any way up to and including tv schedules, format changes, product design and hours of operation. (omg, my local Post office closed at 4 and I dang near imploded).

Yup, I am my mother after YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN!!!!!!!!!!!1

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

my big-gas truck

After much searching and hair pulling we finally got our big-gas truck.

The next day gas prices increased to over $3 a gallon...sorry 'bout that

We got it because we live down a dirt road that is somehow uphill both ways. And as it is a private community the county does not plow the roads, or grade the roads or have anything to do with our roads whatsoever. We are on our own. So after being stuck far too many times spinning round in circles on a frozen driveway we bought our truck, Jerry-Jeff.

So now I am gradually learning how to drive the beast and trying not to watch the gas gage spin quickly towards the E. And so far I have learned a few things:

Being higher means better visibility for me but however does not translate to you. I am still invisible and can not find the switch to turn off the 'cloaking device'.

I am way to short to clean off the windows

Drive thru banking is now 'watch Ginya climb out the window and hang off the side to grab the canister'.

Shrubs of any size or age are now at my mercy.

Running boards just add another step to complicate my life and usually involve a drunken slip with my coffee in one hand, purse, mail and groceries in the other.

Mud flaps are a must.

I'm driving 55 till gas prices get better, you can go around me, tailgate me, flip me off, or kiss my lily white heart can't take another fill up.

Parking is at best an adventure at worse an accident waiting to happen. I suck at parking this beast, but I'll get better, I promise.

So if you are in my neck of the woods and see a big old truck being driven at a respectable speed with a little old lady sipping her coffee, drive around and wave...and look out when them prices come down cuz momma's got 4 wheel drive!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Evening in Paris


Wonderful place, Paris. I went on a lark a few years ago and enjoyed myself completely.

Wonderful food, art everywhere even under bridges and street signs, a magical place.

Letting yourself enjoy all that your surrounding have to offer is a gift you give to yourself. Sure, while sitting at a street cafe, sipping Kir Royal and eating a chocolate crepe, you could assume Paris is a dream come true.

But what about your own homeland. Having traveled to some, uh 'interesting' places I can tell you no matter where you live someone else will be amazed at your surroundings. All my exchange students stand in awe of Meijers. To them it is a wonderland of fruits and vegetables all available in one place at any time of the day or night.

My friend Kim (hey Kim!!!) came from London and when we picked her up in our van she dang near fainted...then when we took her to McDonalds and she got a large order of fries all she could do was laugh in delight at the size.

A few of my friends have never seen snow. And while I can be happy in the idea that someday my future will not include snow brushes, rock salt, scrapers, ice melt, or snow boots... they were so excited at making a tiny snow man.

Once, one of my exchange student daughters had disappeared...we found her laying on the ground in the back yard, looking up in the sky, transfixed. When I asked what she was doing, she said she was looking at the stars...she had never really seen them because she lived in a big city and the lights and pollution blocked out the sky.

So, while I highly endorse going anywhere you possibly can, don't neglect your own environment. Looking at something with a brand new perspective may just give you a thrill...I will, however, never love snow.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A message from Sophie and Lily

We is really tired to waitin to go do sumptin till it gets warmer...wot does big lady expect...its winter, there is sno...

its not like she has to go out in icy weather with sno up to her boobies and look for the best place to pee

and its not like she has to stomp around in the woods wit sno past her sholders looking for the poop she so carefully placed

she even has stuff on her feet...tho once she had some slippers on and when I pulled real hard they came off...oh we laffed and laffed at that

and can we help it if we love to chase sno...and eat sno...and run around in sno...especially at night...

man she can make some interestin noises when its dark and her robe comes untied...

we lub winter we lub sno and ice and runnin so fast our front ends circle our back ends...we lub it all

i hope someday big lady can learn to lub it to

but i don tink so

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cigar bands

I bought some cigar bands from a fellow Estian and made this pin...I like it! But what was interesting to me was when I got the bag in the mail and opened it up a beautiful whiff of cigars filled the room. That sent me hurteling back in time to being a kid on Sunday nights with my dad and grandpa sitting watching Bonanza, smoking their E.G. Dunns or if they were feeling extra special fancy...White Owls.

Its amazing how smells take up back to places.
First day of school: floor polish
Summer: Off insect repellant and suntan lotion
Pizza Joes: Real pizza crusts and Dr. Pepper
Grandpa Bames: Vicks vapo-rub
Fall: burning leaves
Dundee theater: burned popcorn and scorched paper bags

We all have them...scent memories that linger in the back of our minds only to be dragged up front and center when you catch a wiff of something familar.
Avon Calogne: Dad getting ready to go call Bingo
Moth balls: Mom's cedar chest
Aqu-net: Big sis getting ready for a date
Crayons: rainy days being bored

And you can never know when these scents are going to hit...standing in line at a store, walking in the mall, a subtle breeze in the window. Whenever the neighbors are BBQ'ing I am always transported to family reunions. Amazing.

So I hope we can all find some fond scent memory to transport us back...fabric softener, cologne, cooking...and enjoy a free trip back in time, if only for a moment.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

bling, bling

I love that word! I feel kinda stupid saying it, but typing it makes me happy. And that got me thinking about words in general and how they have changed over the years.

I lived in a 3 (and sometimes 4) generation household and could barely understand what was being said half the time. Grandpa could confuse the heck out of me by talking about so and so 'leaving his grip in the beergarden even after I gave him the office'. I'll hold that up to any hip-hop lingo out there. But, that's the kind of 'hairpin' he was...uh...ok

The other day I typed 'holy carp, the snow is over my generic uggs' and realized Grandpa would not have gotten any of that.

I think I am the only person who will still use the word 'groovy' and mean it. Listen, I lived through polyester striped bellbottoms and the Brady Bunch, I deserve it. I also deserve the right to use the words:
'awesome' even if it is a Lionel Richie 80's style throwback
and 'rad' tho honestly I haven't seen too many 'rad' things lately

I will try ever so hard to incorporate some more colorful words into my lifestyle, and not only the four letter ones...but I doubt I will ever pass myself off as a 'hipster'.

There is just something kinda wrong with an AARP refugee trying to sound like an MTV rejected reality show has been...I don't know a snookie from a situation and am pretty content with that.

So I will stick with what I know...and its all good!

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Thank You StormOne Originals, for letting me borrow your avatar for this blog, from the very first time I saw it I knew I had to write about her!

When I think of the term courage so many images come to mind. Usually it will involve something dramatic like the firefighters on 9-11 or Christopher Reeves in his wheelchair; but every once in a while I find an image that strikes the very center of my heart and adds a face to the word 'courage' This is Bessie Coleman.

Bessie's biography is on Wickopedia, and I wont bother to recite it here, because I want to dwell on that quiet determined face that is in the photo. Imagine how many times that woman was told 'NO' you cant because you are a woman, no you can't because you are black, young, poor...No No No...

And in her quiet determination she said 'oh yes I will' and went to France to earn her pilots license. In 1921 she became the first woman to hold a commercial pilots license. Think about that...think about the times and the determination it would take to push past all the hatred, the ignorance, and the fear to do something you love. I am humbled in the image.

The look on that face says it all, the quiet determination to follow your heart. The calm demeanor of knowing this is your destiny, good or bad, and following your dream...its all there on her face.

Bessie Colman, you are my hero.

Friday, January 14, 2011

supersized potential

Back in the day when I was in school, no one talked to me about the concept of potential. We were either college bound or not. I was given classes based on my 'potential' thus: the NOT classes. I took basic math, independent reading (twice!) art, choir, and some other essential classes to help me on the production line. No one ever talked to me about college, my parents both quit school to work and my future seemed destined to involve a uniform in some manner.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, this country was built on the backs of people like my parents and grandparents who got up at 4AM and worked the same mind numbing job for 30 years...God Bless every one of them. But that life was not for me.

For the longest time I wanted to be a Veterinarian.
Then a Surgeon
A Mortician
(is there a theme here?)
I finally decided on Commercial art...(interesting leap)
But my 'potential' in art was marginal, and my finances even year later, the money dried up and I had to leave college.

So now, looking back through 35 years of side trips, hijacks, and detours I am still pondering my potential.

Go back to school...????
Not sure I could take being taught by someone 20 years younger than me...I know I would be replaying that scene from "Peggy Sue got married" when she stands up in her Algebra class and says 'I know for a fact I don't need to know this' and leaves. yup, that would be me.

have you MET me??? If I can't be in charge, aint NOBODY gonna be in charge.

Good googly goo...Listen: I know there are women out there that wake up all excited cuz they are gonna finally clean behind the piano, roast a duck and power wash the house, that aint me! I can bearly muster up enough energy to get dressed.

Start my own business...
Lord help me...what would that be? Here in Michigan, especially where I live. We can't support a Big Lots, our Radio Shack closed years ago, and even the local greasy spoon chucked it in last month. There are people here that advertise to come and pick up your dog poop..."The Doggie Roll Patrol". Yeah, its that bad here.

So here I sit, waiting for inspiration to push me to the next big thing...
Do I start painting and illustrating again? Do I finish that ding-dong book I am trying to write, do I keep making jewelry, start selling vintage, learn tatooing???

AGH! Maybe, just maybe I need to get over myself, put on the polyester golf shirt and learn to say:

'would you like fries with that?'

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I love leftovers! They fall in the same category as broken, ugly or unwanted. A lot of the items in my shop are made from leftovers. This bracelet is made from some beads and parts I bought at the Salvation Army...they were on a kids tap dance costume and then sent to get another chance at being 'something'. The necklace, same thing, all leftovers.

I love the idea of giving something another chance, of looking at junk and seeing potential, of having another GO at life. Maybe that's why I am so passionate at making jewelry from found objects. Giving it another chance to fulfill its destiny. Maybe I am hoping to get the same chance someday.

Yeah, I doubt you will see me running through airports trying to make that connection any more, or find me shopping at the Franklin Planner shop, or even dashing through Starbucks on my way to a meeting...those days are long gone. I miss them terribly but life is what you make of it, and this is the hand I have been dealt.

I am a left over...and thanks to the recession, I will be a left over till I am officially retired and become a 'usta-be'. Ironically, I was equip to be a 'usta', but its 10 years to soon, I don't have my condo in Bocca lined up, and I don't play golf, and I live in the frickin' center of abso-flippin-lutely nowhere. The winter brings out the cabin fever, and living in a cabin doesn't help. being a left-over sucks.

I think that's why I enjoy Etsy so much, I can fit in with just about any group, find like minded people who are creative and interesting and I feel less 'leftover'. And if I sell a piece here and there, it validates my existence. Win-win.

So, while I will always ache for the mad dash of corporate life with all its frustrations, I must accept that its over. I'm taking my left over life and making something interesting out of it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

computer ignorant?

There isn't a word strong enough to define how illiterate I am in terms of anything technical...comp-u-tard??? cy-ber-dork??? tech-no-ditz??? nothing exactly can describe how ignorant I am in terms of anything with initials in the name.

Case in point: the MP3 player I am trying to get to work with my ancient and much abused computer. Apparently, in spite of the fact I just took it out of the box, it needs an upgrade to the 'firmware'...wha??? ok. so I upgrade whatever the frick that is...and then spend an hour or two synchronizing my system to Windows (which has no connection with anything remotely window like) only to find out my windows system needs to be upgraded to the next level...meanwhile want me to uninstall the programs and reinstall them (hoping I don't loose content) and then I get to the place to upgrade the site I get a screen that says "we've hit a bump". What bump, I didn't feel any bump...headdesk maybe but no bump. Creative support is saying I need to upgrade my entire system, as the MP3 player is not a current model...(just out of the box!) Meanwhile, I got a 3 inch USB plug that will only fit in this system (so what does the U stand for???) so I can't even see what is happening to the player...


Yes, it is true I still have a rotary phone...cuz it still works, never ever runs out of batteries, can be found and used when the lights are out and I have never, ever butt dialed anyone from it.

I come from a world that understood when you spend thousands of dollars on an item it should be functioning and supported for more than 3 minutes after you finish paying for it...the concept that any computer system over a few years old is obsolete makes those little bluebirds spin around my head.

And its only going to get worse...My coffee pot needs to be programed...(yeah right)my cell phone has a few bells and whistles that I have never heard, I guess it has a camera but I don't know how to work it, much less retrieve the pictures...I am completely in the dark.

I do get a kick of seeing the neighbor kids come over to 'look at my phone'...its right up there with them coming over to go through my closets for Halloween. But at some point I will no longer be able to play the VHS tapes (who am I kidding, I got 8 tracks in the basement)

I paid a lot of cash to get ramped up for the new millennium...yeah, I am now only 11years behind, but for me that cutting edge! And as soon as I can dig this new MP3 player out of the wall, I will see if the upgrade worked. Crap, I miss the days when technology consisted of taping nickles to the arm of the record player.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

ack...where have I been???

Forgive me people for I have not written in so long! I am not a writer and do not get a great deal of fulfillment by typing, retyping misspelling and constantly reviewing every word. I heard J.K. Rawlings say she would die if she didn't write, I think it would take something a bit more, oh...say concrete.

Over the holidays I have increased my frustration load in the form of one: Lily. She is another English Bulldog puppy with all that is included with that. Couple that with having a raging bladder infection over Christmas and you can understand why I haven't exactly been able to write (or cook, clean, sleep, or bathe). She is a handful. Standing out in my PJ's in the middle of the night watching a puppy pee is not the most uplifting experience one can have in the dead of winter. But, I think we have rounded a corner and are on a 2 hour pee schedule...someday I may actually be able to leave the house!

We also have semi-adopted a cat...not that I wanted or needed a cat, we have a cat who is already breaking every house rule, puking on the mail left on the table, sitting on my head while I sleep and knocking my medicine down the drain when not catered to...but Milo came to us one freezing night, and after a call to all the local neighbor kids we found out he belonged (belongs?) to the neighbors who left for Florida round about Thanksgiving...leaving Milo to 'fend for himself'. niiiiiice! So Milo is spending the winter here at the lodge.

Myself...I have been feverishly making (tho not especially selling) jewelry. And after the first full time year I can say that if I need to live on my earnings...I have to move to Asia. Not the cool part of Asia, but more like a back water, dust filled rice paddy place with no running water.

So, there I sit in my room filled to the brim with cat hair and bulldog farts, surrounded with bits and pieces of jewelry that is to be, waiting for inspiration to kick in...

It may be a while...please be patient!