April 20-26, 2008

This week was all about getting ready for the show (Sun-Wed), and for the subsequent impending shows on the horizon. I wanted to have enough things to take Monday and Tuesday off, but that never happened and I found myself planting the garden on Tuesday and printing out lots of things to do to take with me on Wednesday morning and generally running around like a chicken with my head cut off (as my mother used to say, graphic ain’t it?). But some how, the list got done. Some was accomplished, some was just culled from the list to be done some other time, and some things were just put on indefinite hold. I look back at the blur that was last week and it is hard to even remember exactly was I did and didn’t do, but I know I did something because the list is gone, and that is proof, isn’t it?

Wednesday we traveled down, Thursday-Sunday was the show, Monday I drove home. More in another post.


March 22, 2008 1 day 18 hours 2 minutes and counting

I love it when I stress and C sits there telling me all the reasons why I shouldn’t stress. Like I don’t know these reasons, like I haven’t been going over and over and over them in my mind…a mantra to calm myself down with. Like at this moment reason can prevail and I will suddenly look up, calm and collected and say “yes honey, you are right, I shouldn’t be stressed. So I won’t be anymore, silly me” rather than sitting there feeling my back bristle up thinking “what? you don’t know me by now? You think reason will fix this? My stress is unreasonable!!!”

What is better is when it is the next day, the day after stress, and this conversation occurs” I don’t know why you were stressed, you shouldn’t have been” and my reply “Yes, I know I shouldn’t have been, I just was”. But it is funny, it builds up like a volcano, then I loose it, and then I move past it, calm, collected, and OK with whatever gets thrown at me. The sooner I loose it the better it is for everyone involved.

I play this game called Folklore, and in it is a monster called a Bug-a-Boo. When it tried to hurt you it gets all prickled up… that is the way I have been feeling, all prickled up, but on the inside. My first show of the season, a big, huge show, far away, and the economy is in the toilet. Sure hope all my angst and stress will be worth it in the end. Hate to come out on this one in the hole financially. But let’s all say it together anyway “You’ll do fine”…say it again “You’ll do fine” maybe a few hundred more times between now and Thursday afternoon and I may actually believe it.

For you, a Bug-a-Boo…..


Monday April 21.. Thrice is nice...

After graduating college I worked in a scene shop in Las Vegas. We build ride & show elements, hotel and restaurant themeing, and sets for broadways shows, car shows, etc. Pretty much if you had the money we’d build anything. Most of what was made there was one offs- thing being done for the first time, most often with cutting edge technology. But working in this manner meant there was a lot of trial and error. A motto amongst many became “We do it nice, because we do it thrice”. Three tries before it worked and looked good.

That is the kind of day I am having. I feel like everything is being done thrice, or is taking thrice as long to get done than I expected.

I tried to get the new web site up, just to have it lost in the realm of who knows where. I can’t find it, can’t retrieve it, and don’t have time to redo it before leaving.

I brought my car in for an oil change before driving to North Carolina, just to lean that there is an issue with my unbeknownst to me leaking oil pan, the transmission needs its 30,000 check up, and there are a few other things I can put off for another 3000 miles.

Show applications took forever because I couldn’t find my darn tax info for a few different states. Applications are getting more and more complicated. Tax ID, insurance information, car license plate etc…

It took two hours to fight with the printer to get it to print new signs for me, only to realize that I don’t have enough pockets to be able to laminate them. And I have no car to run to staples. Just need 2 more….

I have learned that using my paper folding machine on my kitchen counter puts large black scuff marks on it. Here is hoping that the “magic eraser” works some magic….

Sometimes it is just better to walk away from the computer. Last week I was trying to pay my sales tax to the state of NJ. The web site kept telling me to call. So I just put it off and when I tried today, it worked!

As the afternoon progressed things seemed to get better. I got my package out to my yarn swap partner without any hiccups and scheduled breakfast with a friend who lives in NC for the morning the show starts. The car got finished and the dealership sent over a courtesy car to come get me.

Almost time for C to get home from work. Maybe we can have a nice dinner, then we can do some accounting (what fun) and I can play in the garden a bit… may turn out to be a good day after all….


April 13-19 2008

I think that stress helps you prioritize. As things get crazier and crazier you have to choose what is the most important to you to do and let everything else go by the wayside. For example, on my list of things to do was “label bath fizzys”. In my mind this meant all 2000+ of them that need to be labeled. Reality? Just the 60+ of each I need to bring to my first craft show of the season. The rest? I’ll do them later when I need to, when it becomes more important to do that than anything else. I can label other things while actually at the show, I am sure that between 9 am and midnight I’ll have some time on my hands, enough to fold flyers, label bags, address postcards and newsletter envelopes, etc.

I have friends that will stay up late, even forgo sleep, just to get “everything done”. Me I just start to tick things off the list- from both the top and the bottom. Ehh? From the top AND from the bottom? What could this mean? Well, this is a technique I learned when working in summer stock theatre. We would get a design in that there was no humanly way could be built in the two or three weeks we had to build it. OK, It could be built, but there was NO WAY the paint crew was going to get it painted. So we prioritized. We painted the pieces that were absolutely needed for the show, the big pieces, the flashy pieces, and the rest (like say a scene out a window) would be put to last. If we were lucky the show would go into rehearsals before we got to these last things, and they would be cut from the show, before paint ever hit canvas or wood. The director didn’t need them, the producers didn’t care, only the designers got mad that their entire vision never hit the stage. And the show was no worse for the cuts, take my advice.

So this is what I do now. Make a list, start from the top, and if it is properly prioritized, somewhere in the middle, the rest can just be let go. And I can relax, and get some sleep, and eat a good meal or two. And if for some odd reason I run ahead of schedule, well then I get to see my total vision, but honestly, the show isn’t any worse for it. Promise.

Sunday dad left for work in the afternoon and I had a few hours to work in the shop before picking C up from the airport. He had a scar, his bag got stuck somewhere and was the last off the baggage machine, after a long pause…

Monday was tax day. I hate doing taxes. Federal tax, State tax, local tax, sales tax, use tax… I fill out more darn tax form a year than should be needed.

Tuesday I started in with a headache, took a nap in the afternoon to try and put off the eventual migraine that I knew it would be. Got myself out of the house long enough to take a composting class in the evening and got a free compost bin out of the deal. Got home and went to bed… C was in NY visiting a friend from college so I got the whole bed and all the cats….

Wednesday.. headache city..oh wait, I forgot the darn dogwood trees are flowering- this is a sinus headache! A few good doses of allergy meds later, and voila! No headache. Nice to know I suffered for two days due to my own stupidity! But I did get a few big projects done- lost of labeling!

Thursday: made soap. Worked on my monster list of things to do. Stressed some more.

Friday I started the morning with errands and picking up stuff from H to bring down to the MLAC show for him. It was one of those days that even took the fun out of going to the yarn store because I just had so much to do that I couldn’t enjoy it, I just needed to get what I needed and get out. I did buy myself a kit to knit a cool skirt though.

Saturday I worked in the shop. We tried a new place for lunch it is Italian and has a full gluten free menu. My pizza was great, too bad C’s & dad’s calzones weren’t anything special. But at least I have a place I can get gluten free pizza! Yay! Now I just need a decent bakery and I’ll be set. At night my cousin B, her husband B and their son A came to visit for a few hours. I love getting to see them and it is never for long enough. C and I are going to try and visit them more this year for sure.


April 6-12, 2008

This week my “list of 24” really has started working out for me. I haven’t gotten 24 things a day done yet, but I have gotten close, and I am getting better and better at being able to gauge exactly what I can put off for the next day and what I can’t. It is also helping me see how busy my day will be a few days in advance because things are added continuously. For example, if today I “take soap from molds” then I know tomorrow I need to “cut it into bars”. If I “pour shampoo” today than I know the next day I need to “release it from molds” and the day after “cut shampoo”. So I am writing down the steps that come next as they apply. This means that if on Monday my Friday is already pretty full I know not to add “lunch out” or “give the cats a bath” to the equation. And then I keep a “master list” of all the big things that need to be done so I don’t forget them, but I am not sure exactly when they will fit into the schedule yet.

The good thing is that I am doing, the bad thing is I am loosing track to what I am doing for blog purposes. I think these will be come a more overall idea of accomplishments for the week rather than a detailed list of what has been happening each day, unless a day warrants it’s own post. So there will probably be more of those in the future.

So this week I have been working on small chunks of a few big projects:

The web site- it is almost at a point where I can post the new site. Just a few more days to go.

My “favorites”. I have literally thousands of web sites bookmarked for ideas and for education, and for sales leads, etc. I have stated going through them about 20 or so a day and cleaning them out. Good ones get written down in a notebook and then deleted from the computer, bad ones just get deleted and others get filed where they belong.

Ravelry: my stash of yarn. I have been inputting it, and need to take a bunch of photos. But eventually it will be all logged in one place and be wonderful

Magazines: I have over a year’s worth of magazines that I haven’t read. I am trying to go through 2-3 a day, glean out the important stuff (to add to the notebook) and then recycle the rest. No more clutter!

The notebook: It is a place where I am gathering all of my thoughts into one place. The magazines I have saved because of one website- write down the site and recycle the magazine. The page I ripped out from a magazine because it has a cool recipe for an herbal bath- write the recipe in the notebook, toss the page. Computer full of “favorites”- write them down and delete the link, no more thousands of links to wade through when searching for something. Think of it as the mother of all lists of things to do.

Also this week was my UWBW meeting with B. And C went to Mexico Wed-Sunday. That gave me a few days to get lost of soap made and long days to work without worrying about dinner. So the business overall is getting back into shape.


March 30- April 5 2008

Sometimes things just come together in the strangest ways. Maybe because it is spring…maybe it is the fact that dad started his new job so I am less worried about him, maybe it is because the sun is rising earlier and I am getting up earlier and enjoying my morning so much more, maybe it is because the warmer sun is working the pain and stiffness out of my underused joints, maybe because it is making the workshop brighter and warmer, and just maybe it is because of all of these things, but this week has felt like a turning point.

I have made changes, I am getting up earlier, I am doing more things, and doing more things I have put off and haven’t wanted to do. I have started working on my web site again, a brand new design with a brand new concept and theory (KISS- make it clean and functional, and done). I have started a new way to approach each day- the list of “24”- 24 things that I need to do each day from sunrise to bedtime- both work and personal- the “hot list”. It is keeping me focused, I start tomorrow’s list as I work through today, and when I am done, I am done and can relax. I have also broken some big “frogs” into little “frogs legs” (like 3 years of filing- now just trying to put 20 things a day where they belong). Some days go fast and I can start on the next day, some slow and things get pushed till tomorrow, but things are getting done and I feel more accomplished than before because I am recognizing more things I am doing not just recognizing the things I haven’t done yet.

So as a recap of the week:

Sunday I spent the morning in the workshop. I got things ready for the week and C helped me get the 2007 stuff out of my files and into some order.

Monday I was sick- really sick. C stay home from work to take care of me sick. Can’t leave the bedroom because I’d be too far from the bathroom sick. Don’t even feel like knitting sick. Sick.

Tuesday By the mid-morning the “bug” had passed but I was physically drained still. No calories in 24 hours and sore all over. Are rice and chicken broth all day. I also slowly started getting some things done- some laundry, the cat pan got cleaned, I sent e-mails and regular mail, did dishes, paid bills, ordered supplies, blogged, and played a video game, as well as napped a lot.

Wednesday I began the list of 24. It stated out as an overwhelmed feeling of things to do so I started to list them in importance- 12 for the business- 12 for the house. I figures I am up 16 hours a day so I only need to do 1.5 things an hour from waking to sleeping. In the shop I made soap and lotion bars, and samplers, in the house I did more laundry, dishes, and cleaning up.

Thursday I tried again with the list of 24. many things were a direct connection to things I did yesterday (put soap into molds on Wed, take them out on Thursday) and many were things I usually never wrote down but had to do anyway (like answer my inbox of emails). I actually had a tough time thinking of 24 things I needed to do without hitting my “procrastination list” (that list of things you put off forever and feel guilty about), so I started doing some things off of that list too (like starting my web page again).

Friday I cleaned the house and did an accounting spreadsheet I had been putting off. In the afternoon C and I went to pick up a loner car for him till his gets back from the shop. That way I can have my car back if I should need it during the week.

Saturday I started out early at the grocery store and then C and I went to Target and BJ’s. I worked on the web site more and putzed a little in the shop. Dad made it home late in the evening, after dinner. He had been gone training for his new job.


I didn't write it.....

see more crazy cat pics

March 23-29, 2008

Overwhelmed, I just feel overwhelmed. The list of things to do just keeps getting longer, the number of days till my first show and a very busy May are getting shorter, and I just don’t know quite where to start with it all. I haven’t had time to really relax, I just feel like I am going all the time, and when I do have time, life comes in and smacks me on the forehead getting me going again. But then again, that is they way isn’t it? When I finally could sit, pull the covers up over my head, and start to have a private pity party, the phone would ring, it would be an order and I would have to put on my smile and then go back to the shop to get it filled. I think this is just life’s way of telling me to get off my arse and get going. That the only way the list will get shorter is by doing something on it, and the only way to loose time, which you can never get back is to sit around and waste it.

Sunday was Easter. I made a really good pot roast and we all spent the day painting (after a run to Home Depot to choose the color and pick up the paint)

Monday: Dad and I went to pick up lye and oils, we also stopped at a cheese factory and a wholesale distributor nearby. We had lunch along the way and when I got him I ordered supplies, paid bills, emptied the van, mailed orders, and knit some. Dad got notice that he got a new job- at the place where he wanted to work- I am excited for him and he is excited too!

Tuesday: B and I went to Longwood Gardens. I had never been there before but the place is spectacular and the weather was perfect to enjoy it. We had a great lunch too and we stopped at a yarn store where I got some yarn to knit B socks. I should get to them next year sometime, LOL! Later that night I cooked dinner and got the dishes put away.

Wednesday: I caught up on e-mails, made soap with the new lye and oils, vacuumed, put soap away, started cutting soap and putting away supplies and got some show applications mailed out.

Thursday: I made soap, worked on getting samplers finished, and started pouring lotion bars.

Friday was errand day: We went to Target, the bank, Office Depot, CVS, the drycleaner and the grocery store. Then I tried to hide in bed- didn’t work!

Saturday: I worked in the shop, getting soap cut up, getting samplers almost finished, and generally cleaning up and getting ready for a busy next few weeks. I made some Aloe soap and got some more lotion bars poured.