Monday, November 24, 2008

Asking for help

Over at Yesterday's Glitter Kelly has a great post about irony and compassion.

It set me to thinking about how hard it is to "make it" in business out here on the world wide web --

yes, the internet is in some ways a great equalizer -- the individual in the basement in her pjs loading up stuff to sell can look like a much bigger company

but it also means that the whole world is your competition

I realized after reading Kelly's post that she is correct when she says "All too often when people complain over something it's a cry for help that they don't know how to ask for."

Those of you that have read this blog for a while know that this is the place where I sometimes complain. (Ok, I try to complain only here, not on the studio blog)

But I realize that what I'm really doing when I complain here is hope that because it is out there on the world wide web that someone will see what I've said and offer some suggestion that will help me solve whatever I've complained about

I also think that Kelly is right about not being in the right niche at the right time. As my mother has said from time to time "when my ship comes in I'll probably be at the airport".

I know at least two bear artists (neither of which has been making bears as long as I have), that on a regular basis will make a bear, list it on their web site, and sell it within a week -- one of them regularly sells her pieces for $500 and up.

A while back, when I was feeling particularly discouraged about the whole thing, I sent an email to one of them asking for some help.

I wanted to know how she managed this feat.

Was it that my pictures weren't good enough (though I've been told they're good)?

Was it that I didn't write up the descriptions well?

Was it that the product just wasn't good enough?

I guess she didn't feel like she wanted to share her success -- since she never replied

Recently I was reading an article about the "new crafters", and I'm beginning to wonder if it's just that the whole trend of what is selling now has passed me by

I think I'm pretty tech savvy for an old broad -- I do blog after all, but I don't do Face Book or Twitter or Flickr or any of those other things -- I like doing my art, and the more time I spend on the computer, the less time I have to do art.

How do you manage to balance all of that?

And most important of all is still that question -- is it the presentation (whatever form it takes) or is the work just not good enough?

Sure would be nice to know

Friday, November 21, 2008

not such a great grandma

This is my great grand daughter

through the miracle of the internet I found out that she was born back on the 11th

since my step daughter decided we had offended her a couple of years back and hasn't talked to us since, I'm not really surprised that she didn't let us know about the baby's arrival (and for all I know the baby's mother isn't talking to her mother)

At any rate, all this means I'm (technically) a great grandmother --- HUH?

Because I knew this baby was on the way, I made this quilt and the little knit lamb toy during the summer and now I'll be packing it up and shipping it off

I hope they like it

I hope they'll use it

On the whole, it's a really wierd situation

Have I mentioned recently how much I think the health care system in this country is screwed up?

I know, I know, this seems to be a rant I have about once a month, please bear with me here folks, it helps if I can get this out of my system

Here's the latest:

My husband was told by his doctor that it was time for him to have his pneumonia vaccination. She told him that she doesn't keep the vaccine on hand and we should arrange with the scheduler for a date to have the shot so they could get it in.

So, I talked to the scheduler, and set it up and figured we were set.

But no, when we got there at the appointed time, the other person (ie the one I nearly always want to hang up on when I have to talk to her on the phone and I refer to as the "Snippy B***H") was there and said they wouldn't give him the shot because they'd had all these problems with the insurance not paying for them, etc., etc., and that we should go to the pharmacy to have it done

So, we went to pharmacy (our local Walgreens) and tried again -- they tried to run it through on his Secure Horizons medicare supplement insurance and their system told them to run it through Medicare, and then supposedly Medicare told them he's not even in their system. After about 40 minutes in the pharmacy, we came home and I got on the phone

First I talked to Secure Horizons and was told that if his primary care physician gives him the pneumonia vaccine, they will cover it. If we go to a pharmacy, we have to pay up front and then send in the stuff to be reimbursed (whenenver they get around to it).

Then I called Medicare and verified that they do have a record of him (DUH!!), and figured the pharmacy just put in a number wrong.

Then I called the doctor's office and told them his insurance will cover it (what other insurances for other people are doing is NOT our problem), and we want them to get the vaccine and give him the shot.

He was supposed to get his shot at 1:30 yesterday -- they STILL didn't have the stuff. They called me about 3 p.m. and said the vaccine had finally arrived --


Part of this of course is just people trying to pass off the hard stuff to someone else because they don't want to deal with it.

It's frustrating.

Oh yes, I did survive all of that yesterday with minimal stress, so I guess the St John's Wort is starting to take affect

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The first test?

So today, after weeks of unseasonably warm weather, it actually looks (and feels) like November -- cold, gray, drizzlie

During the time I'm on the computer every morning, the dog usually alternates between patrolling the back yard to "supervise" the construction workers in the field beyond and laying in the front window in the sun to watch the kids go to school.

This morning after a brief trip around the yard she joined me at the computer as if to ask me if we were going to have to put up with this stuff for long.

I share her dismay

As I have said many times, I don't really like winter -- which is really not quite true -- I love the pretty days -- the sun on fresh snow, everything sparkling like brand new days -- but I don't like the gray, and I don't do well in the cold.

In fact, when I had my annual visit with the doctor recently I asked her about the "gray wall of winter"

And so, for the last 2 weeks I've been taking a daily dose of St John's Wort, which was her recommendation for a "homeopathic antidepressant" -- I'm hopeful that it will do the trick

I guess today is the first test

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The current magic number is 987

I can sense a lot of question marks forming over your heads

magic number for what?

current? as in it will change?


Ok, I admit, I'm being deliberately difficult here

For a while now I've been trying to get the volumes and volumes of paper research I have done on our family's history into a computer program

The idea was to make it easier to share information, print a whole raft of reports, scrapbook pages, etc., and generally get everything into a more organized form -- not to mention being able to get rid of some of the paper (not the original birth certificates or pictures!) .

So on Sunday afternoons (and other times too) I have been putting the information in -- to date 987 names -- and I know for sure that I have barely scratched the surface of the information that I have

Good Grief!

Back when I was doing a lot of this research I guess I had no clue just how much information I had gathered because it was all in notebooks and it wasn't easy to put a number on it.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Don't Scam Me!!

I just hate it when someone tries to scam me.

When I opened this morning's emails, I saw one with the following subject line: "Invitation to Chapeau Blog Awards"

The contents were all about this wonderful award they were giving and how I was urged to submit my blog for consideration, blah, blah, blah

Ok, so I went and looked at their site

Oh yeah, I can submit my site --- for $195 --- HUH!?

So, there ya go, seems that blogland awards are about the same as the jewelry design awards and the teddy bear awards -- it's the golden rule -- they that have the gold, rule

needless to say, all future correspondance from this group will be going right into the SPAM folder

geesh (and I'm feeling stupid because I actually thought this was for real)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

learning as character building

not just in the usual way, of course

I've been thinking about how different people learn

some people learn by taking it step by step -- you know -- floating, dog paddling, swimming then diving

me, I have this whole other approach -- just jump into the deep end -- not with water, but with a whole host of other things

when I wanted to play the piano, I was not content with "Mary had a little lamb" or finger exercises -- nope, right into "Moonlight Sonata" -- which I actually could play all the way through at one point -- just not any more

so it is with other things too, and what happens sometimes is that I learn how to do some of the most difficult parts of the project before I have all of the basics -- sort of like building a bridge on a jello foundation (somehow that whole "see it wiggle" jingle is a BAD thing with bridges)

at any rate, it is at least challenging and interesting (and some times frustrating!)

So, how to you learn new things?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's gotta be the Hope

In the last week I've noticed some very interesting things here in the very conservative hamlet we live in.

While we are still in the midst of a very ugly economic mess, people in the stores and other public places are actually (gasp!) SMILING! and saying hello, or even having a full on conversation.

And, last night as I was out driving after dark I noticed something else -- Christmas lights -- all out decorating -- not on stores and commercial buildings (I'm immune to any thoughts about those, since we've been seeing Christmas merchandise in the stores since before Halloween), but these were on individual homes and apartments

This morning I mentioned it to someone and she said she had even put up her tree already.

It's like on November 4 the whole area got the most wonderful Christmas present ever -- a great BIG package of gift wrapped HOPE


what a difference

Friday, November 07, 2008

Being the memory bearer

A while ago I wrote a piece here about my mother's mother. (If you want to go and take a look, you can see it here)

And Saturday I wrote a bit here about Día de los Muertos that included pictures of other family members.

Wednesday I had a long conversation with my mother which at one point turned to wondering what my grandmother would have thought about this election. We talked a bit about my grandmother's life and the amazing things she lived through. As we talked, I discovered that there are a lot of stories about my grandmother that my mother doesn't know.

Later in the day I had a conversation with my daughter and shared some of that discussion.

Out of the mouths of our children we are lead to righteousness -- my daughter said "mom, if you don't write it, it will die with you"

Whoa! ok, I've officially been chastised.

So in the next little while I will be sharing some of those stories -- both here and in print with my mother.

Oh yes, and I need to get back to scanning the rest of those old family photos and figuring out how to transcribe about a dozen tapes my aunt made about my dad's family

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Yes, We Can

For the first time in my life I stayed up to watch the election results come in

While I have voted in every election that I could, this year just seemed bigger than any one I voted in since that very first one

For weeks I had been saying to people on my blogs and otherwise -- vote like your life depends on it -- it does!!

The last time I cried over a political event was when Kennedy was shot. Those tears were over the end of the feeling that I could be part of changing the world.

So here, 40 years later, I have held my breath as another young Democrat spoke and stirred us all with the renewal of that feeling that we still could change the world.

Held my breath because I was afraid that this voice too might be horribly, totally silenced.

I listened to Obama speak Tuesday night and was struck by the fact that the message had not changed, but he spoke more seriously. Still with conficence, but seemingly already considering the enormous responsibility of the job.

Yesterday morning's email included one from Obama saying thank you to the people that helped him get elected. It included this sentence: "We have a lot of work to do to get our country back on track, and I'll be in touch soon about what comes next."

Having used the technology of the 21st century to organize a grassroots 50 state campaign that got him elected, he shows every sign of now using it to change the direction of our country.

Do I think everything will be magically better? No -- I know that won't happen.

But I do feel like things are slowing going to be different -- he has appealed to our better angels, I think there will be a real attempt to let us all be part of the solutions.

I'm thinking about two song lyrics -- one that was used during some of his early campaign rallies:

There's a New World Coming
And it's just around the bend
There's a new world coming
This one's coming to an end

There's a new voice calling
You can hear it if you try
And it's growing stronger
With each day that passes by

There's a brand new morning
Rising clear and sweet and free
There's a new day dawning
That belongs to you and me

Yes a new world's coming
The one we've had visions of
Coming in peace, coming in joy, coming in love

I'm also thinking of another set of lyrics -- probably because Obama actually said part of it:

This is the moment!
This is the day,
When I send all my doubts and demons
On their way!

Every endeavor,
I have made - ever -
Is coming into play,
Is here and now - today!

This is the moment,
This is the time,
When the momentum and the moment
Are in rhyme!

This is our chance, this is our moment

now let's all work together and not blow it!!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Día de los Muertos

Let me begin by saying that there is no Hispanic heritage in my family line, so to any of my readers that are, an apology in advance for co-opting your celebration.

I know that this celebration is older than Christianity, having been celebrated for over 3000 years before the Spanish came to "the new world" and tried to stamp it out as pagan.

There's something that just feels right to spend at least one day a year remembering and being thankful for those that came before you.

While I believe that we each bring our own personality with us when we are born, we are influenced by the family we are born into as well.

So today, on the day that is now celebrated as All Saints Day, I am grateful for the ancestors that came before, and grateful to have even something so ephemeral as a tattered photo that gives me a tiny glimpse of who these people were.

May you also remember today those that are the reason you are here.