And you know what that means… tomorrow morning I leave for the Florida Fiber-In! Fiber… Oh! Shit! I never did post about that over here; I did on my work blog, though, and you can read about the 11th Florida Fiber-In here. Oops. Sorry about that, I could have sworn I cross-posted that one! Sigh. See y’all next week, when I’ll catch up and answer emails and all that good stuff.
This year was going to be amazing. Back in January, in spite of being worried about Lenny the Boob Pea, I had such plans for HaldeCraft this year.
Part of those plans included expansion, and by that I mean actual physical space expansion (not necessarily product expansion, although that would have organically followed had I had the room to do it). Those plans have still not come to fruition and I feel like a bird in a cage that’s only a little bit bigger than I am. I can’t spread my wings. I’m too cramped. I also feel like I was handed a gift-wrapped package at the beginning of the year of awesome good things for my business and that I never did open the box. I’m not sure whether I didn’t open it because I was waiting until I had more room, or because I was afraid of committing to the next step. It’s easier to say I didn’t have room, but I feel like maybe I’m hiding behind that because saying that I was afraid to jump into the pool with both feet seems a little … ungrateful to that well of creativity that keeps. giving. me. IDEAS.
Because why else would you take a day off?
This morning, Tim was like (when I said I was contemplating not dyeing yarn today, but instead, running errands, doing laundry, and getting some things done I haven’t been able to do), “Don’t dye yarn today. Sure, it’s not a day off if you’re doing things for work that you can’t do when you’re dying yarn. But you’re still getting work done, you’re just rearranging your schedule, like any good manager does.” I’m paraphrasing, because I was half asleep when he was talking to me, but that’s the gist of it. Gist? Jist? Whatevs. Fake day off, FTW!
ANYWAY. My point. I need some website design feedback, because I apparently can not think for myself any more. I emailed a friend about this yesterday but like a song stuck in my head, I can’t stop thinking over it. So Imma brain dump on you!
Re: my work related website design.
I’ve been running into some problems the last couple of weeks; Shopify (my host/shopping cart) is making some upgrades to their back end, automagically sucked into supported themes. While Happy Cog, who made my theme, does still have
a couple of themes up one theme on the Shopify website, mine is no longer supported (boo!) and they’ve phased it out/no longer offer it… so I’m running into weighing “do I want to not have these upgrades” vs. “do I love this theme.”
And I do love the theme. Brownish-gray! Easy on the eyes! Funky without being blinding! Just a little bit different, and simple without being plain.
But I also really like the idea of better/easier viewing/shopping for customers on mobile units, and being able to assign variant images to my drop-down menus when I offer something in multiple colors (so that when someone chooses, say, “blue”, the default photo automagically becomes the blue one, both on the website and in the cart when they’re reviewing their sale). This would save me a lot of drama when, even though I try to remember to add color names to all the variant pictures, someone gets upset when they think they were buying something oatmeal colored but get something gray instead.
But I love this theme.
But what else is next? What other improvements/offerings will Shopify make? Is the above the start of me being left behind if I stay with this theme?
I was thinking maybe of starting 2015 with a new shop theme. Except that’s four months away, and except that I can’t stop thinking about a new theme… but I’m so brain-fried right now I don’t know if I can’t stop thinking about it because it’s a great idea, or I can’t stop thinking about it because just like a song by Meatloaf, it is stuck in my head and nothing I can do can get rid of it. PARADISE BY THE DAAAAAASSHBOARD LIGHT!
So. The Shopify theme store doesn’t have many me-appropriate themes up there any more, sadly. By “Me-appropriate” I mean easy on the eyes, but a little bit funky, doesn’t look like all the others, and stands out not because it’s garish but because the design is so simple that my product photography does most of the work. There is really only one up in their shop that I would consider… the rest all look like I’m trying to sell computer equipment, or have that fucking white letter on black background shit that I hate. Or otherwise don’t fit the idea in my head of a handmade goods site. This is cute, but I don’t offer sewn items, so I’m afraid buttons and string on every page might be misleading. This one appeals to me (probably because it comes pictured with ceramics) but is soooo painfully plain.
This theme, on the other hand, looks similar enough to my current theme that it wouldn’t be too different for people; the color scheme is close to what I have now, the layout looks pretty similar, but it has a spot to welcome people on the front page (which I don’t have now, and that’s always bugged me), it has a matching – but smaller – mobile design for phones and tablets, and it has a lot of things out of the box that my current theme does not but that I’ve been able to figure workarounds for.
If you’ve clicked the link, could you tell me if you think it’s “me”? Or tell me that I need to wait until the start of the new year? Or tell me that yes, if they’re making changes and the theme I have isn’t supported any more, this is not a crazy idea? My gut says get it now, just do it, but I also don’t trust my brain this week because SQUIRREL. I know “advice is what you ask for when you already know the answer and wish you didn’t” but in this case I really am open to your thoughts.
In case you’re thinking “how much work would this make for you, when you’re already saying you have the brain of a goldfish?” — Changing themes is not that hard with Shopify, thank goodness; that’s one thing they do right – everything they offer is built on the same bone structure, the theme is just like … skin that you take off or put on. So “updating” my theme would take, like, an hour, tops. (In theory). Of course I have been known to take on easy things that go catastrophically pear-shaped, so, there is that.
Blah blah blah words words, blah blah. Thanks!
Since Monday of last week (not yesterday Monday, but the Monday before that) my daily schedule has been the following:
Start the coffee.
Start the dye pots that I set up the night before.
Let dye pots heat for one hour (while drinking coffee and catching up on the Internets).
Start dyeing Color #1 (approximate time for loading all three pots, 20 minutes).
Wait 20 minutes, check and stir yarn.
Wait 20 minutes. Add citric acid.
Wait an hour. Take out yarn, rinse, switch, start dyeing Color #2 (approximate time for loading all three pots, 20 minutes).
Wait 20 minutes, check and stir yarn.
Wait 20 minutes. Add citric acid.
Wait an hour. Take out yarn, rinse, switch, start dyeing Color #3 (approximate time for loading all three pots, 20 minutes).
Wait 20 minutes, check and stir yarn.
Wait 20 minutes. Add citric acid.
Wait an hour. Take out yarn, rinse, switch, start dyeing Color #4 (approximate time for loading all three pots, 20 minutes).
Wait 20 minutes, check and stir yarn.
Wait 20 minutes. Add citric acid.
Wait an hour. Take out yarn, rinse, hang outside to dry. Set up pots for next day.
I love that this is what I do, but I have to be honest… those 20 minute increments slay me. The hours are mostly OK, I can get stuff done in them. But the 20 minutes?! I have an alarm that I set, because believe me, I will forget that 20 minutes (or an hour) has gone by and that I need to do something (I used to use the stove/oven timer, but then whenever Tim was cooking and using it I would randomly run into the dye room when the timer would go off, panicked that I’d totally forgotten I was doing something… so I downloaded a timer app for my tablet). So the alarm goes off, and I have a moment of trying to remember which stage I was on in the process, go and do the stage, come back and reset my alarm for the appropriate time… and try to remember what I was doing before the timer went off.
If I were smart (HAHAHAHA) I would make a list of a bunch of things that would take me either 15 or 45 minutes, and I would do those things, and only those things, in the 20 minute and 60 minute arcs of time that I have between stages of yarn. If I were smart. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Instead, I spend five to ten minutes trying to remember what I was doing, get back into the groove of it, and then another however many minutes of actually doing it before the alarm goes off again.
I feel like the dogs in Up, like every once and a while I just randomly yell “SQUIRREL!” for no reason. Speaking of dogs, it’s been hard to get my walks in, in the last week. A couple of times I have managed to line that first hour up with an early morning walk, since I walk for about 45 minutes. But not every day. So even though I’m getting a lot of steps in walking from one end of my house to another fourteen times a day, they’re not really exercisey steps. Is “exercisey” a word? IT IS NOW. So in addition to being able to hold a thought in my head for about the same amount of time as a goldfish does, I also feel like a slug.
HOWEVER! I am getting a shit-ton of work done, and it’s work that I’d be spreading out over three months, if not doing it now. Hopefully soon we will hear what our friends want for their property, and if it comes in at what we are hoping for, we’ll be buying it and moving (so everyone cross your fingers for us because if it winds up being out of our price range….?). If we wind up buying the property and moving in October, having all this yarn dyeing behind me, club essentially being finished but for the swag, I will be over the moon happy. That’s a lot of work I won’t have to do at the same time as moving, and that makes this week worth it. Even if Tim asks me things and I just stare at him and blink a lot because it’s super-difficult for me to even form a cohesive sentence right now.
Also, if the property is within our budget, and we can get it, it will open up for me a larger working area and I will be able to up my dye pots from three to five, almost doubling what I can do in a round, and possibly shortening my work day because of it. Three rounds of five instead of four rounds of three… I like those numbers.
I plotted all my work out to get this done, and some fiber dyed for Fiber-In, and I will be continuing to dye straight through until Sunday, six days from now. Five? What is today? Last night I dreamed I forgot to pick up my aunt and uncle at the airport.
In some ways this was just as hard as I thought it would be – it’s like kicking my babies out of the house when I know they can’t fend for themselves, but in some ways it was easier than I thought. Some of the comics that I have complete runs of… I don’t even remember. American Flagg? Cheval Noir? Oh My Goddess? But others… I’m so sorry. Akira, Animal Man, Green Arrow, Evangeline… It breaks my heart to let you go, but I never go to you to reread, and maybe some of you I can get as Graphic Novels, which take up less space.
I got all this, plus another 200 or so that I’d never even put into boxes, down to six boxes of what I want to keep. Sandman, Hellblazer, Books of Magic, Black Orchid, Elfquest, Concrete, and a couple others.
I would say this took me about three days, although one full day was just thinking about it (I am not sure, 100%, why I was reluctant to start, but it was probably some combination of worrying they’d be in bad shape, worrying I’d cave and not want to get rid of any, worrying that I’d start reading and lose a week), one day was mostly thinking about it and finally moving the boxes into the living room where I was going to sort, and one day was actually sorting.
But now I have to say it took five days, hahahahah. One extra day because I accidentally unplugged my computer while I was typing this and then went on to do other things and never got back to it, and one day to pull some comics for a couple of friends, which means that I’ve whittled the boxes down even more. I’m glad that some of these comics are going to other collectors who will appreciate them — it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to get rid of all the ones I was thinking I’d get rid of, though, and now I’m at a standstill. Tim asked why I didn’t just take them to GoodWill, and I almost fainted. Have sets broken apart? Comics tossed willy-nilly in with other things, spines bent, bags and backs thrown away? BLASPHEMY.
Maybe the lesson for me here wasn’t that I’m supposed to get rid of all of them, but just that I’m supposed to be willing to get rid of them. Akira is now spoken for, which makes me happy; I’m sending that friend Appleseed as well, because if they like the one they’ll probably like the other. What of the others, though? I thought about posting pictures on Facebook of the titles I’m willing to part with, but I really don’t want it to devolve into an episode of “oh, do you have ____ issue # ___?”. I really want it to be more like, hey, if you want 225 issues of Green Arrow, here they are. I want them to go to a collector, or at least someone who will appreciate them – with gentle hands – but I also know that if I give them up, I have to give up caring what happens to them. It’s not like I’m adopting out a pet, and want to make sure they haven’t had ten dogs who have all gotten hit by cars. “Do you drop your comics in the mud? THEN YOU CAN’T TAKE MINE.” Ugh. The perils of being a Collector. It’s hard to let go.
Verdict? Undecided. Magic Eight Ball says to concentrate and try again.
The first thing I did was one of the two things I least wanted to do: tackle the cassette tapes. I have a card catalog full of them. Well; had. I mean, I still have the card catalog – it’s just empty now as I write this.
Dream, if you will, not a courtyard but a card catalog with 30 drawers. Each drawer full of cassette tapes. About 20 tapes fill a drawer. That’s a lot of tapes. *Someone* in this house likes music. What is that, 500 tapes? 600? MATH.
Over the course of six days, I whittled that down to two and a half drawers, and the “half drawer” are tapes that I’ve put the CDs for on my Amazon wishlist, with the thought of picking up one per month and tossing out the CD when I do. Yes, I buy things off my own wish list, don’t you judge me, Earl. The rest of the tapes are mix tapes made for me by friends and/or are things I can’t replace (like the tapes my mom made for me of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, off of albums I used to listen to incessantly when I was a child). Book on ALBUM! What are albums? Go ask your parents, kids.
Dearest, darling coffee. You know there’s nobody I love quite like you. We’ve been together for so long, in various stages. From cheap instant coffee, to a French Press trial (verdict: too complicated to use pre-coffee), to different brands and flavors and sometimes with cream and sometimes without, sugar, no sugar, shots of flavor….
Six months ago, I dialed back our love affair. My mammogram and ultrasound showed a cyst, and while there’s no concrete evidence because it appears that all women are different and react differently – go figure – one consensus is that caffeine may affect cyst development. I knew I was going to have another mammogram/ultrasound in six months, so I decided to dial back the caffeine and see if that made a difference in the size of my 3mm cyst (we can call him “Lenny”, from that episode of the X-files with the murderous detachable twin). So for six months I had less and less caffeine. It wasn’t as hard to give up fully caffeinated coffee as I thought it might be, but I found I couldn’t give it up 100%. I tried, but the medicine I take when I get migraines has caffeine in it and I noticed headaches the next day or two after that (caffeine headaches, not residual migraines)… so I got down to 2/3 decaf, 1/3 regular. That seemed to work for me. Not so much that I had the jitters, but not so little that I got headaches.
Last week I got my six-month follow-up mammogram and ultrasound, and while I got a clean bill of health, there were no changes in Lenny — he was the same size now as he was then. And you know what that means? Besides the fact that he is a round hypoechoic lesion and minimally complicated? IT MEANS I COULD GO BACK TO 100% CAFFEINATED COFFEE!
With a lilt in my step I was off to the grocery store, happy for a number of reasons.
– Coffee wasn’t the culprit, I could go back to being awake all the time!
– For reasons I don’t know but guess has to do with weight in shipping, a lot of decaf only comes in either bags, or plastic containers. Since Tim and I use metal coffee cans for bacon grease (and we eat a lot of bacon), I’m hoarding tin cans because I don’t go through the caffeinated coffee as fast (you can’t use the plastic ones for hot bacon grease. ASK ME HOW I KNOW.)
– Decaf coffee tastes like donkey balls (I assume; never actually had donkey balls, but they don’t sound appetizing, and neither is decaf). I prefer flavored coffee right now, and decaf pretty much comes in one flavor: ass. I have found one flavored decaf, a French Vanilla that smells vaguely like cat piss and thank god can be tempered with creamer, and balanced with whatever flavored caffeinated coffee I can find.
Needless to say I was oh so happy last Tuesday morning when I could put TWO scoops of regular coffee in my pot instead of one, bringing the decaf down to one scoop – until I run out of decaf and then, SEE YA! Wouldn’t want to be ya!
Fast forward to 3 AM Monday morning when I am wide awake at ungodly o’clock for the third or fourth morning in a row, having heard, oh, I don’t know… a dog fart three houses away, and I have to accept… I’m not sleeping as well, this week. I wake up at the littlest noise. I can’t fall back to sleep. I have trouble falling asleep.
I suspect it’s the caffeine.
I suspect I should go back to 66% decaf/33% regular.
It’s not you, coffee. I love the ritual in the morning. I like waking up with you. I like choosing a mug for the day (and collecting mugs… and making mugs…). But we might have to make some changes to our relationship.
Like most of the world, last night, I was stunned and heartbroken to learn of Robin Williams.
He and George Carlin were my favorite two stand-up comedians. I’ve only seen Carlin live, and wish I had pestered my dad more to get me tickets when Williams played Gator Growl here in Gainesville when I was a child (as it was, I stood outside the stadium and tried to listen, but all I could hear was screaming laughter).
Probably like a lot of girls I wanted to be Mindy and wanted a frustrating but amazing friend like Mork.
Good Morning, Vietnam is one of my favorite films. I loved The World According to Garp (“We’ll take the house. Honey, the chances of another plane hitting this house are astronomical. It’s been pre-disastered.”), the little known Moscow on the Hudson, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The Fisher King, The Night Listener (filmed at my friends Beth and Joe’s next door neighbor’s house in New York). His one-shot episode on Homicide: Life on the Street remains one of my favorite episodes to this day. I laughed myself sick through countless viewings of Aladdin, and his voice work as the Kiwi on the Opus Christmas Special “A Wish for Wings that Work” gives me the giggles every single year (“AAAAAAAAAL-batross! She left me for an AAAAAAAAAL-batross!”). I could go on; I’m sure you all have your favorites, as well.
I’ve never struggled with depression. I’ve been depressed, but I’ve never fallen into that deep well that my – albeit brief – training at a suicide prevention hotline taught me was so hard to struggle out of. What that training also taught me was that if you are in that well, it’s hard to reach out for help even if it’s what you want the most. Especially if you have a plan, because that is when you are at your lowest and most vulnerable to those lies depression whispers. So if you, or someone you love, is struggling with depression, reach out. You are special. You are important. You are needed in this world. Depression lies. Addiction lies. Love is the truth. You can get help online at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 1-800-273-8255 to talk to someone who cares.
Thank you for reading. My heart goes out to Williams’s wife, children, and loved ones. He touched more people than he could ever know.
This will be cross-posted later today to my work FB and G+ accounts; I actually wrote it for them, first, but decided to cross-post here, because my heart is still stunned and silent. I apologize in advance if you follow me there and see this all over the dang place.
So it looks like buying/selling/moving is being pushed back towards the Fall, which is awesome (who wants to move in August in Florida anyway? Who wants to hang insulation and drywall in a small hot AC-less workshop in August? And the longer it takes to apply for a loan, the better we look to banks, having taken the last few months to do some prep work on loan application.) but it will also be slightly stressful (November is one of my two highest sales months, so a bad time to close down for a few weeks. December is better than November, but usually based on things I make in November… however, eyes on the prize, eyes on the prize — moving into a place where HaldeCraft has more room will only make everything easier and better going forward. A dip in sales is nothing compared to what I can accomplish with more room and better workspace).
It also gives us more time to go through the epic amount of STUFF in this house.
I was reading a thing recently, I forget where or would link to it, but it was essentially tips on de-cluttering your house over the course of 100 days. It had something like 60 tips, but the first one was the one that really jumped out at me… make a list of 100 things that you’ve been avoiding doing, and do one of those things every day. I figure we have about 100 days left in this house (cross your fingers) so that works out perfectly. The fact that I’ve been working on my list for three days now? And am not finished? SHUT UP, stop staring at me and giggling!
Here is my problem: I am struggling trying to find 100 things that are small things, even having broken some things up like “weed the strip of garden right next to the house” and “weed the triangle birdbath garden” rather than one big “fix the front yard, again, you lazy fool” sort of thing. So I’m happy that “hey, there’s not 100 things to do!”… however, many of the things on my list are going to take more than one day. I have a card catalog full of cassette tapes. Remember those? (Either card catalogs, or cassette tapes?!) I want to go through the tapes, compare them to my CDs, pitch tapes I also have in CD, buy MP3s of ones I don’t have, or just single songs if not the whole album. 30 drawers full of tapes. I suspect that will take me more than one day.
So will going through about 15 long boxes and close to 20 short boxes of comic books, pulling what I want to keep (Sandman, Hellblazer, Strangers in Paradise) and donating the ones I no longer want, or ones that I bought when working at the comic shop because all the other collectors were buying them. There’s a group in town here, The Sequential Artists Workshop, and I’m hoping they’d take the rest in donation. If not, some comic collectors at the next Friends of the Library book sale are going to spaz out. Anyway, I can guarantee that going through those boxes is going to take more than a day. Longer, if I can’t stop myself from opening and reading something. I AM MY OWN WORST ENEMY.
Some of the things I want to clean/go through/de-clutter are what they call on UFYH, invisible corners. Stuff that’s been piled up and in the way for so long that you don’t even see it any more. That should make for some fabulous blog fodder, with before and after pictures. Or just pictures of me hiding under my desk, chewing on my hair.
But that will be later. For now, I have to go get ready to start my day. In a few hours I have my six-month follow-up mammogram-and-ultrasound (so glad they’re doing both today, so I won’t get a call-back). Hopefully the story of this one will be much less exciting than the story of the last one. I’m hoping for “the only thing they saw was Clippy, The Happy Biopsy Marker.”
Recently someone said to me, “as long as you don’t start shaving your pits, then I wouldn’t know you!” and I had to just blink and keep my mouth shut, because it’s my LEGS I forget to shave. I’m definitely a pit shaver and always have been. TMI? Possibly. Also kind of funny, see “then I wouldn’t know you.” Uh, clearly, you don’t.
We were at a girly get-together, and I’d made a joke that my girlfriends who got me into this Jamberry nail thing are turning me into such a girl that the next thing you know I’ll start shaving my legs. The first time I heard these nail wrap things mentioned, was back in March. I overheard Sharon talking about it to Lala, and on the way home That Poor Man was all, “did you hear Sharon talking about some sort of nail thing?” and I was all, “yeah, and thank GOD she wasn’t talking to me because my hands are way too busy to get into nail polish stuff.”
I used to be into nail polish. Starting in my teens, and going until about mid-twenties. But it chips, and it stinks, and I was always out of nail polish remover, and it’s messy, and blah blah blah. Eventually I quit wearing it on my nails when I got a job in a document production department and was typing for hours a day; it would just chip right off so what was the point? I think I kept doing my toenails for about another four or five years until I realized nobody ever SAW my toenails except for me and Tim, and it didn’t seem like the kind of thing he noticed… and so then the last time I was out of nail polish remover I just let it wear off and never put it back on.
Aaaaaaaaand then. And then Sharon had one of those online parties. The kind of party that the women at the Engineering company used to have all the time, in person, like Pampered Chef and Candlelight and all that crap that really, please, just give me the catalog and tell me how much you need me to order and leave the the fuck alone. Don’t make me come to your stupid party and play stupid games and get lectured on how my life would be so much better if I bought a cucumber scented automatic potato dicer. This party that Sharon had was online, and it was even suggested that you wear your pajamas and be drunk for it, and hey, those are two things I’m good at!
So I went to the online party from the safety of my couch, and Sharon’s friend, a Jamberry rep, sent me some free samples when I said that yeah, a lot of the designs are neat and stuff I would have totally been into years ago, but now I use my fingers way too much in way too many dirty things (clay, dye, soap, more clay) and there was no way some plastic thing glued to my fingernail was going to hold up to that. I had kind of assumed it was some sort of polish deal, because my Pinterest feed is full of friends pinning fancy-ass stuff to do with your nails that involve three jars of paint, a toothpick, and scotch tape. Turns out these are heat-activated wraps; thicker than scotch tape but not as thick as a band-aid, and you heat it to set it and trim it around your nail.
Here are the samples after about ten days in clay, and heavy handwashing in hot water –
While the samples weren’t my “style” (do I even HAVE a style?) I decided to give them a shot. Especially since our friend Lala became a rep for them (a link to her store is a few paragraphs up). Since then, I’ve tried…
So. I’m not hooked, by any means — at the gathering I mentioned above I was probably the one with the least number of sets to her name. But I like them. I can see that I would use them more than nail polish, that’s for sure. They come in enough funky styles that the ones I would be likely to get (IE, not the French Tip things) would match a variety of my moods. I would recommend them to my friends, if Sharon hadn’t recommended them to all my friends already! (We have a large number of mutual friends, go figure.)
If you’re reading this and you haven’t tried Jamberry and you’re curious, feel free to ask any questions. This post isn’t about trying to get you to buy them, though, it’s more about “shit I’ve been doing in what spare time I do have”. Because I have a few spare minutes to write a blog post! Who am I!?