It's getting better all the time...

So after three days of seriously doing nothing (except some laundry, posting show applications, and watching a ton of TV) I am getting/feeling better. The house isn't so lonely, and every sound I don't think is her. The other two cats are calming down and being less clingy and needy.

It's May soon and my month will be really busy with shows and classes and making lots of inventory. But if I can work hard this month than I will be all set for most of the rest of the year- then I can relax some.

I am going to go get cleaned up and go out for abit. Just Target for some cat litter, but it will get me out of the house and this is really the first time I have felt like leaving since I got back. I need to go pick up Pimienta's ashes today from the vet. But I don't feel like calling, or going, but I know it needs to be done. I'll call when I get back to see if they are ready.


New Fragrances for 2009

I had real hard time this year getting inspired to pick new fragrances. I didn't have the ability to do another day where my customers could come sniff so I was forced to just look at my list of suggestions and start to choose. Overwhelmingly this year the suggestions contained a lemon or citrus scent. Lemongrass is one of my top two sellers already so I didn't want to overwhelm the list with too much citrus. Still, I ended up with two that have hints of it.

I used my vacation to be inspired. Some was inspired by the fragrances of the sops in the hotels, some is from things from gift shops, still others from gardens that we toured. And of course, on the list are soaps suggested by you, the customer. Keep those suggestions coming!

New for 2009! (available in June...)

Pomegranate Grapefruit
Vanilla Hazelnut

Clary Sage
Tea Tree

Kitchen Soap (coffee fragrance)
Shaving Soap (introduced late 2008)
Merlot (made with real wine)

I hope you enjoy them as much as I will enjoy making them. I placed the fragrance order today so next week the first batches will come out of the workshop and I will get them up on the web site as soon as they are ready for sale:)

I haven't been practicing my Spanish at all

vacation does that too you. I figured I would be able to read a few chapters every day and practice. I was just too exhausted. I had a fabulous vacation, but it was tiring. I think we averaged walking at least 4 miles a day. When I got home my feet were killing me.

So I need to start again today. To refresh myself on Chapter 14 and go on to Chapter 15. My brain doesn't want to work, it wants to sit and do nothing, not think, not move. But I am forcing it to get back to the routine I depend on and learning Spanish is part of that routine.


Yarn makes me feel a little better

Knitting is bittersweet these last few days. I sit in my favorite chair with a different kitty beside me, and another on the pillow behind my head. It is a new experience with the other two cats acting differently to the yarn that moves near them and sometimes over them. I have been knitting a lot of wet yarn as they investigate and chew this ribbon of fiber that intrigues them, so they bite it and lick it, and use the ball as a pillow.

But I still find knitting comforting and it is the only thing I feel like doing since I got the news.

While I was away I did get to go to a wonderful yarn store. It is the best store I have ever been to. I love the way it is laid out- with animal yarns in one room and vegetable yarns in another, and then by type, manufacturer and color. For the first time I was actually overwhelmed by the yarn and my choices.

But C spoiled me. I planned on one or two skeins of local yarn.. I ended up with 10. One dyed locally, some camel, some buffalo (in hindsight I should have gotten the yak too), and lots of malabrigo test yarns that I could get no place else.

I can't wait to get to start knitting them. I have just a few washcloths to finish and then I can do some serious casting on. I think I'll do socks, and some lace, and I am not sure what else. Not to mention I need to start to knit my dad's father's day gift.

But I keep just wanting to put my face in the yarn, to smell it, to feel how soft it is, and to snuggle up to it and take a nap. I am fighting the desire to cast on for something right now, to take the whole day and indulge myself in knitting. But instead I have made a compromise with myself. Do 3 things on my list to do, then knit for 45 minutes. This will go on and on til bed time, and maybe on into tomorrow as well. It seems like a good way to balance right now. Balance my need for some self-indulgence and my need to catch up with work and the business. Well this entry is done, one thing down, two to go, then some yarn in my hands:)


RIP- Pimienta 5/99-4/09

I lost my best friend this past Thursday and to think about it still makes me cry. even as I type this I must pause as the tears stream down my face and I can not see through the pain.

Pimienta was a singular cat. She was an enigma. Fearful, yet courageous, if the doorbell rung she would run, growling to the door, but once she realized her attempt to thwart an entry would not work, she ran and hid under the bed. She mothered me like I was her own, and was constantly told when it was bed time, and she would lay on me when I was ill, but when a new kitten was brought into the house, she constantly protected me from this new intrusion, and never fully made friends with the one we call Baby Cat.

Pimienta was there with me from the worst to the best. Through a divorce, into a new loving relationship. She moved many times as a kitten and never fully was properly socialized. But she came out of her shell. She would sit and watch Animal Planet on TV, then moved to watching and chattering to the birds outside, then began to "hunt" pom-pom toys (orange was her favorite) bringing them to me each night. I tried to teach her to fetch, but being too smart, she devised her own game, catching the toy from the air and then returning it to me with a swift swat from her mitt like paw. She became our best (only) mouser and kept the house free of pests and showed her disapproval when I caught them live and released them back outside.

I sometimes thought that she had an opposible thumb, because without claws she was terrific at picking up toys and manipulating where she would send them, literally throwing them rather than batting at them. She would grab my knitting needles between her toes and pull them from my hands, often pulling them from a row of knitting at the same time. Many a project was restarted because of her antics, and many a needle has her distinct chew marks at its end (or even tip).

Pimienta was my best friend. My beautiful girl. She loved to nap and would come running when I took out the nap time blue blanket from the closet. I was very lucky to have her for 10 years and I will continue to miss her. I have had many pets in my life, and although all are special, every once in a while one stands out from the crowd. Pimienta touched the heart of everyone she met with her quiet confidence, and ultra special personality. Once she trusted you, she just poured love on you.

She never meowed, but she chriped and rrr'ed.. When you touched her she would make a distinctive rrrrup sound and the tone of this rolled r would tell you everything she was thinking and feeling. I often thought that she understood English perfectly and that we communicated better than I communicate with most people. Even at the end, as she was told it was OK to let go, she understood perfectly, and went quietly into the night. It was my father, her friend, who was with her at the end, who loved her and cared for her, and helped her on her journey.

I was not there to say goodbye to my precious. And this guilt tears at me. I was not there when she needed the comfort the most, I was not able to hold her as she left this earth. The anguish tears through me every time I wonder what I could have or should have done differently. I knew she was ill, but her test results showed nothing wrong. I left her with my loving father and some medicine, planning on going to the vet again if she was still ill after my return. I wonder if giving her some different food upset her stomach, I wonder if her overall anxiety filled personality contributed to her death. I wonder if it was a "stroke" as I suspect and that I should have pushed the doctor to examine her further. I wonder if more regular veterinary check ups may have kept this from happening (but I doubt it), or if having a vet that was better in tune with her personality would have understood me better when I told them "something was wrong" necaue she just wasn't being herself.

I cannot keep these things from running around my head, I cannot stop mourning her. I am consumed by grief and more so by my feelings of guilt. Writing this has been cathartic, and I feel is the first step to my healing. But I think of all the times I could have stopped to play when she brought me her toy, rather than sitting here typing, working. I cannot get those moments back, and I wish I could have just one more game.


a complete lackof Spanish practice

I really didn't practice much this past week, but I will bring the book with me when I go on vacation in a few days. I should have plenty of time each morning and evening to look it over and practice. The next few chapters comming up are short on vocabulary and long on grammar so I will try and combine a few of them to get through the grammar while I am in a situation where I can't listen to the CD every day.

So I will continue to practice Chpater 14 and go on to 15-17 over the next few weeks. I am trying not to stagnate while I am gone so I think this will be a good way to continue my studies.

Tons of knitting

Is it an addiction or a sickness when you put on your list of things to do before heading on vacation a list of knitting projects. I just couldn't stand thinking of them sitting home for 10 days and not being worked on. So in the last four days I have finished the surprise birthday present (that shall remain unnamed till I get back), I seamed 30 soap savers, finished a block for the afghan and knit the second sock to finish the knit-a-long.

While I am gone I have packed enough yarn for 20 more soap savers, and oodles of washcloths (I hope to finish 30 of them at least). The days will be filled with car rides, and knitting keeps me from getting car sick and from getting scared of traffic. I wish I could knit and drive at the same time, luckily this trip I don't think I will be driving at all. Washcloths are great because I don't even have to look at them, my hands just feel when something goes wrong, so I can still look around and knit at the same time.

And since I don't leave until Thursday, I cast on for a border strip for the afghan and for some baby booties too for charity. I think I will finish the booties before leaving, but probably not the four feet of border I need.

And in all of this I am desperately fighting off the urge to cast on for another pair of socks.

Yeah, I think it's an addiction...

I lost a week

I was reading that you need to do something for 21 days to make it a habit. Well my excercise routine didn't make it to 21 days. Last week I was just a wreck, sinus headaches, busy schedule, an overall grumpiness. I just didn't work out. I have been looking at the new cardio program for the Wii with great interest because it is acutally supposed to get harder as you get better. I get tired of the same old routines with no challenege in them anymore.

And this week I am getting ready for vacation, so I am swamped. I am looking outside at the sun thinking that I just can't take the time to go out there, I need to finish the web site, and do my taxes, and so many other adult things to do before I can go.

The good thing is that vacation isn't lazy this time. Not only is it loads of walking and hiking, but I am not near a fridge all day so it should cut down on my food intake too. I think I will come back ready to keep going. Plus it will be closer to May and the weather will be nicer , and show season starts in May which takes a lot of energy. I will be ready to get back onto the excercise wagon and get fit.


Working from home is routine

For me working from home is all based on routine. I get up at a certain time, I start my day at a certain time, I finish at a certain time, so I have time for dinner and life. So many small things can set my routine out of whack, but I feel like a routine is something to strive for. On a perfect day it all goes according to plan, and all other days, routine is just a set of guidelines to rely on when you are so overwhelmed you don't know where to start.

I clean my house on a routine. First, in the beginning of the year, each room is thoroughly cleaned. I take a little time each day and clean that room all week. Any big projects are ignored and put on a to do later list. Once each room is cleaned and de-cluttered, the house is divided into zones. Since we live in a split level I divide my home into: Living level, sleeping level, dad's level, workshop level, and attic level. Then each week a level is cleaned, straightened, and any large projects begin to be conquered one by one. For example, next week is the living level- living room, dining room, and kitchen. All will be vacuumed, dusted, mopped, and generally straightened- but this time I will also clean the refrigerator (the taking out the shelves kind of cleaning).. the next time this level comes around I will clean the carpets as the big project...

I work on a routine- 7 am- 5 pm Monday thru Friday. I try and accomplish 33 things a day (that is one thing every 20 minutes). I have a chart that I fill in each morning with what needs to be done at certain times, then what should be done gets filled in around that. Starting batches of soap goes on the list, working on the web site goes on the list, this blog goes on the list. Sometimes I get all the things done. often I don't, but at least I start the day with a goal in mind.

But so many things can interrupt a routine. For me it is having someone I live with (C or Dad) get home early or stay home later. I try and work around them as much as I can. I try not to be loud, to not wash soap molds while they are trying to use hot water to shower, to not make soap when they are home with a head cold. Sometimes it is a phone call that gets me all off my routine. Sometimes it is a headache, or even a vacation. I like to know my routine but to be flexible. To be able to go eat with friends if they call, to be able to take a long walk if it is nice out. If I wanted to be locked in a box all day, I would go back and work for corporate America.

In an odd way routines free me. I know not to worry about something (like the linen closet in the bathroom needs to be reorganized), because in just a few sort weeks it will come up in my list of things to do when I get to that level and it will be done, until then I can live two more weeks with towels falling out at me every time I open the door:)

Routines help me get back on track. Yesterday I had a bad headache and didn't get as much done as I wanted. Today I got up and started filling out my planner. I know what is important, and what can wait until tomorrow, and exactly how much I can hope to accomplish. The rest just has to wait- there just isn't enough time in the day to get it done. really. and I can see it on paper, and not stress about it.

Well, I think my 20 minutes are up.. on to the next thing to do for the day!

Chapter 14- Where and Location

Ah Ha! I am finishing the first CD of three in my Spanish Studies. SO I am 1/3 of the way through the book. I sometimes don't study as much as I would like, but I certianly see the difference it is making. Often. I can't think of the words, but I know I have learned them, so I guess that is half the battle. This chapter is particularly long but the next few are short, so at least I can continue my studies over vacation.

This week:
Here and There
To the right, left, etc..
Near and Far


My Afgan is Looking Good

This is the block for March. I have my spacer blocks almost finished and the pattern for April begging to be knit. Once I get those done I can start to assemble. Onec I have a few strips assembles I can start to knit the spacer strips because I will know exactly how much length I need.

The finished blanket will be at least 6'x4' and probably closer to 7'x5' when it is finished. It will be big and heavy and warm and pretty. I can't wait! It kills me that the patterns are relased on a month to month basis, that no matter how I try I will be knitting into 2010 to finish this up. Whew, a whole year. So far each square has taken me about 4 hours to complete on average. So it will be at least 100 hours, just in the sqaures. The spacer strips will take longer and assembly hours as well. And don't ask me how much the yarn will cost... I don't want to admit that to anyone. Let's jsut say that if I was to sell this when it was finished it wouldn't be for any less that $1500.00 due to the hours and yarn involved...

But I do think I have a love of afgans and I mught try to do another next year. There are some great patterns out there for them. The sqaures are challenging but not large so I feel like I learn something new each step of the way.

Gaining- not loosing

So I have been working out now for two weeks and I have gained at least 4 lbs. After doing some research there could be quite a few reasons for this with the two most likely being that I am either gaining muscle (that weighs more) or that I am not eating enough calories to maintain my new level of exercise.

I doubt that it is the second one.. eat plenty and haven't really cut back on anything. So I am going with the thought that I am gaining muscle. I think I am, my pants are fitting a little better, I actually FELT slimmer the other day. I have only missed one day in the last two weeks and I made it up by exercising a little longer the next few days.

But I have been starving lately. Just ravenous. I have to keep myself from eating 10 meals a day. I have tried to up my water intake because often you are really thirsty when you think you are hungry. And I started taking some acid reflux meds because when that acts up on me I feel oddly hungry, which just becomes a huge Catch-22 if I do eat...

So that is this weeks update on my exercise. I missed yesterday, today I have to do a little more and I think I will weigh in on the Wii and see what it says. Hopefully if I keep on this the weight will start to come off.


Crazy Windy Day...

I despise wind. I think for a crafter it is one of the worst weather to contend with. Rain is hard because of the wet and you worry about damage, but wind is just down right dangerous.

Ever try to put up a tent when the wind is gusting to 50 mph? Not an easy task. Then to tie it down and weigh it down so it stays put for 6 hours or more is pretty tough too. Add in the wind blowing your paperwork and your display around and the day is just not fun. The only thing harder than putting up a tent in the wind is taking one down. At some point you have to take the stakes out and just hope a gust doesn't come by as you try and collapse it to bring it home.

Campers get it. They know how hard a tent is to deal with. But most camping tents are lower to the ground and aerodynamically designed. We crafters are in a 10 foot by 10 foot by 10 foot behemoth. Just a big square set up in a field with no wind breaks around at all.

Oh did I mention that usually there are dozens, if not hundreds of us all setting up and tearing down at the same time? So you not only have to be aware of your stuff flying, but everyone elses too. And even during the day it is not unlikely to see a whole tent fly by or flip over. Someone underestimated the weather, or forgot their tent stakes and thought they would make due, or they are just a noob and don't know any better. I've seen the wind rip apart a tent and send the pieces flying, or bend it to a pretzel leaving the poor crafter speechless.

And the wind is unforgiving. It will take one tent in a row and leave the others, skip a few rows and take out two more, before going on and ravaging someone else. Many of us have stories about mini tornadoes touching down nearby (I do) or of rain storms that have hurricane gust winds (done that too).

I often joke that it is OK that I do craft shows on Sundays rather than going to Church. I pray more at a craft show I am sure. I hope that everyone is safe and that everything goes right and that all my friends and customers have fun and get home safe. Because Mother Nature can sometimes be mean...

The New Plan, Update #8, 9 & 10

Well, I did it.. two whole weeks of working out every day (except Tuesday that I made up for)...

I don't think I have lost any weight yet. I'll get on the Wii on Monday and see what it says. I am very much enjoying getting outside and walking. I also don;t mind so much getting on the exercise bike because it it not every day and that gets monotonous. I can certainly feel the difference the strength training is having, I can feel it getting easier- well not so much easier, just that I don't hurt as much the next day.

I have all of next week to keep with it and most of the week after before vacation. I think I will be running around a lot on vacation but I plan on bringing the routine with me and seeing what strength training I may be able to do on a hotel gym. Even some extra cardio won't kill me.

I am really quite proud of myself for staying on a routine. I have to admit that being up this early on a Saturday makes me want to go exercise, even though the weekends are off. I hope that maybe I can get C to go for a walk or bike ride soon too. I find the neighborhood quite enjoyable to walk around and get ideas for our house from and I bet he would too.

About a mile from my house is a wildlife sanctuary. I want to get so I can ride my bike there and back and walk around the sanctuary some. This probably won't be until I get my inventory done for the year and my days free up a bit. But it should happen in a month or two..


Chapter # 13- Gimme gimme gimmie

Onto Chapter 13. Just one more week and I will have hit the goal of being 1/3 or 1 CD through the course. And I have to remember to load a few chapters onto my I-Pod so I can still practice while on vacation. I am sure no one will want to give up the CD player in the car ever day for 15 minutes or so of me repeating words in Spanish. Although they may like the humor of my mispronunciations...

Anyway...This week I learn about This,That, and Those. They uses Deme (give me) as a way to remember/learn. So I will gave many ways to say give me this, give me that...helpful when I can't remember the actual word for an item.. I also learn...More, Less, And, Or, and But...

I am sort of glad it is a short chapter...

The New Plan, Update #7

Yesterday got the better of me. I started out my day working away... then the phone rang...than I got upset...then I got lazy...

So I didn't work out at all. In retrospect, I think that if I did I would have felt better. But I can say that I was soooo sore from the day before. By the end of the day the stairs were excruciatingly painful.

But I woke up feeling good. I added yesterdays strength exercises onto today's. I can say that this week is much harder now that I have the proper hand weights. Also, I added 10 minutes onto today's cardio on the bike. As I sit and type my legs twitch a little. Tomorrow I'll add on 10 as well to make up for the 20 I lost on Tuesday. The push ups are getting easier. I need a different chair for my chair lifts- mine is too narrow. I think I'll try the bench in the bedroom next time.