Things I am telling myself right now

Sometimes no news is good news, but no news is also frustrating as fuck.

Did someone put a curse on us? So that we’ll never be able to buy a house and move?

Change of address forms suck anyway. And I’d probably forget to change my address on Amazon, and all the random shit I order would show up for the new tenants of this house.

If there are new tenants; apparently selling a house right now is difficult.

There’s so much to be done with this house before we could sell it, anyway. What if in order to sell it we have to get central heat and AC put it? Do you know how bitter I’d be having to pay to get that shit installed after twenty years and not be able to use it?

I’d have to dig up my dog, Heidi, and my cats, Selkie and Buddha and Rembrandt. Fortunately we got Bridgett cremated because she was so big – Tim would have had to have dug a hole almost the size of a small car.

There’s probably not pizza delivery way out that dirt road.

Give up hope, this is never going to happen. Move on with your life and call a contractor about extending and screening in the back porch.

But don’t give up hope, because if you give up hope the universe might think you don’t want it enough, and it might not happen.

In a hard-to-grok twist of thought, one thing the lender doesn’t like about us is that we have enough cash for a down payment. It makes us look risky, because we may have borrowed it, we didn’t just… sprout twenties from our forehead like Zeus sprouting goddesses. Note to self: next time we try to buy a house, rob a goddamn bank first. Don’t look to family.

Another thing they don’t like is that we’ve had two credit checks in the last year — oh, I’m sorry, maybe because that’s because WE’VE BEEN TRYING TO BUY A HOUSE? AND ONE OF THOSE CREDIT CHECKS IS YOURS?

Packing 3000 books and 250 plaster molds will suck, because that shit’s heavy.

Can you tell I’m starting to lose hope? Yet, I also keep telling myself, it’s always darkest before the light. Still, at this point, it’s hard to be hopeful. It’s hard to be anything. Tim is more hopeful than I am; I feel like a hollowed out palm tree about to be used as a kayak.

I got nuthin’. I need pictures of kittens. Here’s when we first went to meet Moya and Serenity.

Future new kittens

Scenes from last week

Mostly this is cross-posted from my work blog, with a little something extra personal tacked on at the end, because this is my personal blog.

Starting the week off with a teaser. These odd handles will make more sense in a couple of weeks! #ceramics #mugs #mugshotmondayWhen I first started looking over last week, I didn’t think there was too much I could show anyone – it feels like most of my week was spent at super-secret dye pots, and at the computer working on things (I spared you a photo of me doing quarterly sales tax… you’re welcome). But in looking over my photos for the week, I do have some things to show! Even if most of them are teasers… like these mugs. Many of you who saw this earlier in the week guessed correctly; the grooves and cutout in the handle is to hold a teabag from falling into your cup of water. I’ve glazed these and they’re in the kiln now, and I’ll have them up when I finish glazing a few more things and can fire. I didn’t make too many of the because I wasn’t sure if there’s a call for them — after all, I do already offer about 50 or so mugs… but I just fell in love with the idea and had to make a few.

Handspun HatIf you’re a yarnie, have you looked into the joint 15-in-2015 I’m doing with String Theory Colorworks? You can read about it here on Ravelry. I finished my first project, a handspun hat. I didn’t use all the handspun, though, and I’m already making another one with the leftovers. And I have my eye on two more skeins of handspun, because y’all, this pattern is like popcorn. I CAN’T MAKE JUST ONE.

New colorway coming soon (next week, if it's all dry by then). "Ranger Baby", because my pregnant sister-in-law, a Park Ranger, needs some baby stuff knitted and it better not be pink or blue.I had lunch with my sister-in-law “Ranger Amy” this week, who some of you old timers may know from her old blog, Through the Eyes of a Park Ranger. Amy and her husband are expecting their first child soon, which means I am in full baby-knitting mode… but neither Amy nor her husband are into the main choices of pink and blue. But! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back when I was dyeing the club color Yggdrasil, the test skein didn’t come out exactly like what I wanted for that color, but I thought I might be able to use it in the future. I can, for Ranger Amy’s upcoming Ranger Baby – hence the name of the new colorway I’ll be listing next week. Amy is an amazing photographer, by the way, and has recently begun selling some of her work — you can see her stuff here.

Play. Practice. Produce. Mostly practice.  #stitchmarkersI mentioned in my yearly review that while I liked making stitch markers (and they’re definitely something many of you have mentioned wanting), I wasn’t happy with making them from Fimo clay… so I fell down in the Fire Mountain Gems website, and am working hard on my wire-rapping (and headpin length guestamating) skills. Expect to reap the benefits of this later in the spring.

So, this happened.  Slip casting since I was four years old. Picked up hand building a couple of years ago. 2015 is when I learn to throw. Expect six weeks of ultra-derpy pots. #ceramics #neverstoplearningWednesday night I started a six-week ceramic throwing class. OK, here’s the funny thing — I grew up a slipcaster, and never wanted to throw. I didn’t think there was anything I couldn’t get from slipcasting, and besides, all the people I knew who threw had kickwheels and bad knees. I honestly didn’t know – and you can laugh at me, go ahead – they have these things called ELECTRIC WHEELS. One thing that I want to make that I’m just not able to do what I want to with slipcasting… are yarn bowls. I’m going to need to throw them. So I’m taking a class… and I love it. I’ve been looking up prices for and reading reviews on wheels, and I’ve got my eye on a Brent Model C, which is going to run me about $1200… plus about another $200 for a good ergonomic stool (for the hours I plan on spending in front of it)… and then of course a run to Ocala for a few hundred pounds of clay…. all in all I’m looking at about $1500. I’m wondering what my chances would be for doing a Kickstarter campaign (“Kickstart my electric kickwheel!”) would be. You know, considering that the things I’d offer for incentives would be things like “$50 for a yarn bowl I don’t know how to make yet but I promise won’t look like I had palsy when I made it!”… uh, yeah. Maybe I should keep my eye on Craigslist, instead, to see if anyone is unloading one any time soon. (I try to keep home money separate from work money, but you totally know that if we get the house, I’m going to ask Tim if I can be fronted the money from our home account to get a wheel out of happiness for my new studio. Or, you know, out of sadness, as a make-up gift for not getting the house, if we don’t. Either way, however way, I’m getting a wheel, and I’ll pay it back after I start making yarn bowls that don’t look like they were thrown by a blind one-handed drunk.)

Movement #handdyedyarn #yarnLastly, this is mostly how I spent last week… dyeing and winding yarn. International club yarn shipped Friday, Monday will see the release of Ranger Baby, and Domestic club ships Friday (barring any horrific yarn tangling issues)!

Through the studio doorAnd in between all of that, I did a lot of staring at the wall. “We’ll let you know tomorrow” must mean something different to the lending company than it does to me. And is that… good? Bad? Nothing? Are they not telling us because it’s no, and they’re not even going to bother? Are they not telling us because some of the rules for lending changed at the beginning of January of this year, and so they’re trying again from the beginning, using the new rules? Does that mean yes? Does it mean a strong maybe? I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO FEEL AND I’M FEELING ALL THE FEELS. And I’m tired of feeling everything. I just want to live my life, and I’d like it if my life didn’t constantly include dreaming about moving. I either want it to happen or to be off the table. I feel like I’m trapped in a Howard Jones song — “You can see the summit but you can’t reach it/It’s the last piece of the puzzle but you just can’t make it fit/Doctor says you’re cured but you still feel the pain/Aspirations in the clouds but your hopes go down the drain”. Except I’m not giving up hope… it’s just living side by side in my heart with utter uncertainty. And it sure is getting crowded in there, along with aspirations of throwing clay and desire to do a good job with HaldeCraft. Gah.

So. That was my week. How was yours?

La Chua Trail

A couple of weeks ago, when Antony was visiting, he and I went with Aunt Gay and Uncle Joe and walked a good portion of the La Chua Trail. Below are the photos I took (you might have to come to the site if you’re looking at this in an RSS reader, the albums don’t always come through). We saw a couple alligators. Heh. A couple.

La Chua Trail On December 30, 2014

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I love alligators. Don’t know why, they’re not at all cuddly, or even really personable. Maybe that’s why. Like Honey Badger, Alligator don’t give a fuck.

Allegedly, we should know tomorrow.

So, we had one last card to play with the lender, and we played it today. He’s going to go over things with the underwriter tomorrow morning. Allegedly we should know tomorrow if it’s yes or no (right now, it still looks like “probably not, but we’ll try one more time anyway”).

YinYangPuzzle

BEST CASE SCENARIO

They say, “Oh, we must have been smoking crack! You two look completely trustworthy and not risky at all! Here’s $100,000 you crazy kids, go live in the country!” and then we will put up some fence for the dog and a safer back deck and some shelves in the workshop and then we’ll move in and fix up this house and sell it with hopefully not as much stress as fucking buying. And we will have bonfires and RV visitors and gopher tortoises and wild persimmons.

WORST CASE SCENARIO

They say no, and that’s the only bad part because for the first time since I was about 16 years old I have zero credit card debt (still have that student loan for that degree I’m doing fuck-all with, though), and then we renovate the fuck out of this house including extending and screening in the back porch. And we will gain back a guest room and everyone is welcome to visit even though we only have one shower and the grout is scary.

Either way I’m getting a new bed.

Y’all. Y’all, I’m so tired. It’s been ups and downs since May, thinking I was getting out of this fucking house that I never wanted anyway, but somehow got talked into buying because – believe it or not – at that time it was easier than finding a new place to rent. And then I “won” it in the divorce… which at the time, was easier for me even though I didn’t love the house, but try finding an apartment when you have 15,000 books, a dog, three cats, and a kiln that goes to 2300 degrees.

I’m so tired. I’m so tired of the back and forth, of the “give us all this paperwork right this second NOW” and then waiting, tired of the wanting and not getting. Madeline Kahn could sing a song about how tired I am. It’s a good thing I’m getting a new comfy bed no matter the outcome because y’all, I want to sleep for a week.

And I’ll keep you posted. Thank you all for all of your support through all this — I know if we don’t get it, it’s not because each and every one of you wasn’t pulling for us. xoxo

Down but not out

2014-11-14 16.44.29I had the weirdest dream last night. I was trying to check out of a hotel, but didn’t have enough money. So I had to play a complicated half-text, half-graphics computer game in order to find real gold that I could then weigh and use to pay for my hotel room. Every time I brought more gold back to the hotel clerk, it wasn’t quite enough. I had solved, I thought, every puzzle in the computer game and thought there was no more gold to be had… but the clerk insisted that there was more, that I hadn’t found it all. That there was one puzzle left unsolved – but he could give me no hints as to the location of the puzzle, so I could find it and solve it. But that only ALL THE GOLD in the game would pay for my room and allow me to leave, so I’d best hop to it if I wanted to leave. A friend’s mother was there and trying to reassure me that I could find all the gold and she kept trying to tell me everything was going to be OK, even though I was getting more and more frustrated that I couldn’t find the last of the gold, and I *knew* I only needed a few grams more, but I just couldn’t find it. I couldn’t check out of the hotel, and I had places to be, and either I was going to be late or time was running out…

Gee, what do you think THAT means?

We were supposed to close on the property today. As of yesterday, we still don’t have the loan. One red flag came up Monday. MONDAY. We were supposed to close TODAY. They couldn’t have found a problem a week or two ago? Gah. Anyway. So we have a two week extension, both for us to work with the lender and for the owner to get the repairs done that the lender says are the most important (the appraisal just happened last week).

Sweet Zombie Jesus. At least I’m also not getting a mammogram today, like last year. Ugh.

 

Five TV shows I would binge-watch while on vacation, if I could

But, you know, I’m not on vacation, so I don’t have time (just kidding, I’m totally on vacation, I just don’t want people to know because last year I got smothered in “I know you’re on vacation but” emails, and I’m trying to avoid the same this year… so if anyone asks you, I’m hard at work! You haven’t seen me!). Plus, I’ve already seen these shows. But I kind of wish I hadn’t, because I’d love to watch them again for the first time!

1. Dead Like Me, starring Ellen Muth and a whole bunch of people who are going to look familiar, including Mandy Patinkin. Available on Amazon Prime, and Hulu Plus. And on DVD in my living room. An unfulfilled college dropout with no prospects gets killed one day while walking home (how she gets killed becomes a running gag in the show, so I’m not going to tell you how if you haven’t seen it). She’s recruited as a Grim Reaper; she has to show dying souls how to get in to heaven, whether they want to be dying or not, before she can cross over herself. Hilarity ensues.

2. Jeremiah, starring Luke Perry, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, and my favorite, Sean Astin. Available on Amazon Prime, and Hulu Plus. Set about ten years after a virus has wiped out everyone over about the age of 12, a group of survivors band together to make sense of (and survive in) the new world. Hilarity ensues. OK, not really that much hilarity. I liked it in spite of Luke Perry… mostly because of Sean Astin, who steals every scene he’s in. Together our survivors try to find a mysterious place the main character’s father, a scientist, had mentioned. Will they find answers and rebuild the world? Or will power-hungry young adults, raised in a world without adults and rules, tear down the last of society?

3. Orphan Black, the only one in my list that’s still running, starring Tatiana Maslany, Tatiana Maslany, Tatiana Maslany, Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris, and Tatiana Maslany. Available on Amazon Prime. A con artist desperate to get her child back takes over the life of a woman she, by chance, sees at a train station. A woman who looks exactly like her, who commits suicide right in front of her. The life Sarah takes over is not what she expects… especially when she meets a third woman who looks exactly like her. I can not say enough about how fantastic this show is.

4. Profit, starring Adrian Pasdar who you may have seen recently in Marvels Agents of SHIELD, but whom I will always love for Near Dark. Available on Amazon (as a DVD set for sale). Good luck finding this one (unless you know my friend Jeff, who is the one who loaned the DVD series to me, and he might loan it to you, too). A man who works at a multinational company will get ahead by any means necessary; extortion, bribery, murder. Is he a man with no morals, clawing his way to the top? Or does his ruthlessness protect a broken child within, one who is seeking revenge for a lifetime of childhood abuse? Or, is he simply mad?

5. Twin Peaks, starring everyone. Available on Amazon Prime (for sale, not free with Prime), Hulu Plus, and Netflix. And on DVD in my living room. Pull up to your couch with a damn fine cup of coffee and a slice of the best apple pie as you sink into the mysteries being revealed in a town where no-one, including the owls, are what they seem.

Have you seen these? What other shows that only ran for a season or two would you recommend to binge watch?

 

Ms. Haldeman, please come into my office for your annual review.

(Cross-posted to my work blog, so sorry for those who are seeing this multiple times.)

So, I thought that a few years ago I had written a hilarious post about giving myself an annual review, like I used to get when I worked for larger companies, but it must have been lost in one of my many blog host change moves. I was going to read it over, and decide what humorous parts I could rephrase from it, as I write a semi-serious review about the last year and what I can do better to improve next year. Then I got lost in thought as I debated, internally, if I wanted to do a straight-up serious year-in-review post, or if I wanted to write a second, more humorous employee evaluation review. And *then* I got more lost as I searched through my online photo albums to find a picture of an office in which I’ve worked, so I could do a comparison between then and now. And there went my morning!

I have to be honest, I do not miss, one single bit, employee reviews. To get called into an office – or worse, a cubicle, where everyone around can pretend not to hear – and to get dressed down for things that you’ve already forgotten about, or called out on how people perceive you and you have no idea what your boss is talking about, or reminded of that one time eleven months ago when you dropped the ball on a group project… all so that your company can justify not giving you a big fat raise or bonus? Or worse, getting told you’re doing a fantastic job… but that the company can’t afford to give you a raise? Gah. My “favorite” (and I do use that term loosely) was getting told that I was doing an adequate job but showed no motivation to grow in the company, and that next year I should really think about applying myself so that I could move up the corporate ladder. When really, at the company I’m thinking of, the only reason I would climb up the company ladder would be to throw myself off it because my goodness, have you people MET yourselves? Why would I want a lifetime career *here*?

Hmm. Is it any wonder I work for myself?

So then. Let me call myself into the office and talk to myself about the last year.

Office_Move_14

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The light at the end of the tunnel

Last year I tried to take a vacation, and HAHAHAHAHA! I had more questions, more problems, more messages on multiple platforms *after* I posted I was on vacation than in the two weeks previously (“hey, since you’re taking some time off, let’s talk about what I want to order when you get back to work!”). This year I’m not even trying. Or am I? Maybe I’ve been on vacation and just haven’t told anyone, so that I’d get left alone? MUHUWAHAHAHAHAHA.

Actually, I’ve been wrapping packages, and going through Kleenex like Ding-Dongs.

I think today calls for USPS home pickup. ;-) #craftlife

This has been my view for the last week, which is AWESOME. This means I can do things like buy that laser printer, the new tablet, order a bunch of supplies that I don’t need yet but will (and can afford to), and even, eventually, give myself a bit of a paycheck so that I can go out and buy some Christmas presents. Of course by the time I have time, all that will be left are probably bear-shaped footie slippers at WalMart (so I hope, family, that you like bear-shaped footie slippers, because guess what you’re getting this year?! HAHAHAHAH!).

I’ve been sick, too, which is just grand when I’m busy. I’ve been corresponding first thing in the morning, then getting orders together and going to the post office and other errands, and then coming home and staring at the wall wondering what I was thinking about trying to do a few days ago and did I ever finish it. I’m so confused and frazzled that this last weekend not only did I mess up the dates for a Christmas party, showing up a day early (and then not knowing if I’d be able to get back on the right day)… but then when my aunt called me to tell me they weren’t coming home Sunday as planned, but that she’d call me when they were, I totally forgot to go by her house and get the mail. I was sick as a dog on Monday and didn’t think about doing anything other than getting orders out, and then Tuesday the only thing I was trying to keep in my head (besides getting orders out) were to not forget to pick them up at the airport. Totally forgot to go get their mail. Sigh. At least I didn’t go get their mail and take it to a Christmas party on the wrong day…?

Hark! Is this a Sick Day which I see before me? #workathome #mugshotmonday #handmadequilt

When I’m not wrapping packages and answering messages, this is my view.

Today I’m still feeling snotty. I was feeling better this morning, but that has passed and now all I want to do is go to bed. Dinner? Pff. Whatever. NyQuil is my dinner.

But the Christmas rush is almost over. It’s almost time for me to start slowing down, thinking of what to give my family, and maybe taking a few days off.

And aren’t we buying a house soon? Fucked if I know, we still haven’t heard from the bank. Blargh!

Print this

While my finger had to hover over the “buy now” button for a few minutes, yesterday I bought the most expensive printer I’ve ever purchased (but it was 54% off, thank you, Christmas sales… and I mean that as in “thank you for buying from HaldeCraft for Christmas because it means I can afford this snazzy new printer” and “thank you, Amazon.com, for having shit I need, at a discount).

Works in progress

What’s so special about this printer? For one, it’s a laser printer instead of an Inkjet. So, toner is going to be more expensive by-the-cartridge, but it will also print about 2500 sheets of paper per cartridge vs. about 250 now. My little inkjet I have now is a trooper, but I’ve just about used the crap out of it in the last two years since I’ve got it… no amount of self-cleaning or diagnostics will fix the black streak I’m starting to get along one side of the page. And it goes through toner cartridges like a… like a thing that eats toner cartridges. I buy a black cartridge about every six weeks, and three color ones about every two-and-a-half months. And the only stuff I print in color are things that I look at and think “I’d really rather print that in black and white and save the color cartridges” like knitting patterns and directions and stuff.

Transfer paper trial piece

But the other thing, the thing I was thinking about two years ago but decided not to do (hence getting another inkjet then instead of a laser) is that after hours and hours of research on ceramic/pottery forums looking up information, and many Googles of MSDS sheets on laser toner cartdridges, I’ve settled on a printer that has 45% iron in the cartridge… which means that I can now buy decal paper for ceramics, and print my own decals. So all this fuss I’ve been going over the last couple of years, transferring quotes or my own images to paper, tracing the paper, and painting over the trace… now I can just print that shit out on decal paper, transfer it directly onto my ceramic piece, fire that shit, and BAM. Done. Now; this printer is only black-and-white, and the reviews I’ve read from the transfer paper say that it fires to a sepia-tone. I happen to love sepia, so that’s fine with me, and I’ve read that you can fire it onto bisque and paint over it (I’ll have to experiment with that)… so, there are ways to put color onto the image, still. Mostly I’m looking forward to getting quotes on mugs and having it be in a legible typeface, and being able to get direct photographs as art onto certain pieces, and I think sepia will be perfect for that because the photos I’m thinking of are older, and sepia kind of calls out to that in-the-past aspect.

Which brings me to…. Cathy! Who has been asking for this for years, and will be glad to know that after I experiment a little bit, the following photo will – FINALLY – be available on a HaldeCraft mug —

Grandmother BadAss

Yup.

No news is good news, right?

Still no word if we’ve gotten the loan for the 15 acres with the not-too-shitty mobile home and the totally amazing 2200sq ft studio.

IMG_5818

But no news is good news, right? I mean, the lender (third lender, I think, have I told you that story?) finally finished asking us for paperwork justifying every check, every deposit, every withdrawal for the last two months. We’ve signed and dated so much paperwork that I’m signing my initials in my sleep. But we haven’t heard anything, and I’m trying to stay positive, even though I’ve chewed my nails almost off. We’ve made a backup plan for renovations to this house, should we not get the loan and need to stay here. I can’t decide if that makes me feel better (options!) or worse (am I telling the universe I don’t want the 15 acres and workshop?). Because I do, Universe. I want this fifteen acres of practically untouched land, with deer and gopher tortoises and long leaf pines and wild persimmons and wiregrass and sunsets like the one I’ve posted here. I want this workshop with all that open space so I can spread out and not have one table on which I do three different things and none of those things can be done at the same time. I want a house with a fireplace, and a guest room, and enough space to build a dream home. I want that. So no news is good news, right? And I’m going to do this craft show tomorrow and kick ass, and be in a great mood, and then next week we’ll find out we got the loan, and I’ll be in an even greater mood, and the rest of the year will be a happy and hectic dream as we pack and move. Right?

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