Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last day of the year

It's hard to believe it's the end of 2014, as we humans measure time. Another year, another cycle of seasons, has ended, and a new one is about to begin. I didn't get anywhere near as many things accomplished this year as I wanted to, but I did get more done than I hoped I would. That's a good thing. I've lost a few friends to death, and a few others to them quitting at the plant (we were just "work friends," but still). My marriage has had it's ups and downs, but generally has grown stronger. Above all else, I have more plans than I really will have time for to work on this upcoming year, and that's going to keep me busy.

Already, I have a small pile of winter projects to work on as soon as Mom's lap quilt is done, including travel projects (which mostly travel to work with me to do a bit before work) and large (the scrap afghan) and small (socks) crochet and knitting projects to do. I have a project to work on in that I really need to get things added to my Amazon wishlist so folks will know what I want when things like birthdays come up, so they don't have to ask. Just go there and pick something. I'll be thrilled with it. There are books waiting to be finished up, neatened up, to put up on the Kindle platform as ebooks for sale. Then there's the biggie for the year - getting a standalone website going.

Don't get me wrong. I love blogger and will continue to use it. But Etsy and I are going to have to part ways. A crocheted layette there that I put up as $20 somehow got it's price changed by Etsy to $2000!!! Really? You have got to be kidding me. This isn't the first time that's happened, and all they can say is that *I* must have typed it in wrong. No, I typed TWENTY. Two-zero-period. And it added more zeros. Sheesh. Time for a standalone site. I'm tired of that kind of silliness.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

End of year cold snap

It's really cold outside. I'm wishing I didn't have to go to work at all for about a month, but that ain't happening, lol. I just hope today goes better than yesterday. Things were crazy in my section, and hubby had to wait for me for an HOUR after the lines got done so we could go home. He was about to get fresh gear on enough to come in and find me and tell the GPM he was taking me home, end of story. I wouldn't have blamed him, as we spent most of that last hour standing around doing diddly-squat. But today is the last workday of the year, then I get two days off to recuperate a bit from the creeping crud everybody gets all the time (it's hard not to, working in a cold environment all day - hence why we call it "line flu" - you have most of the symptoms of flu, but not enough to keep you home sick). As chilly as it is, and with me not feeling completely up to par, we've already decided that unless it's necessary, like for food, I am spending the next two days in bed, under covers, with the laptop and my needlework. About the most exciting thing I might do is grab one of the empty small totes from the front bedroom and put my winter needlework into it so it's neater in the closet instead of all just stuffed into a corner. I might find a few moments of feeling okay to clean out the corner of the bedroom near the mini-dresser as well, and get rid of some stuff that way, because it's a bit of a mess. Mostly, I think I'll watch movies and my TV shows on the computer and relax with needlework. Stuff ain't getting done by itself!


Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy last Monday of 2014!

Are you ready for the new year? I'm not, not by a long stretch!!! Yesterday did not go quite as planned. We split up and got errands done in jig time, but I'm coming down with the creeping crud and by the time I got home with groceries, I was wiped. I barely got in the house and got a nap in before hubby got home with water and laundry. He  got everything in the house, thank goodness, and a hot shower later helped me to feel a bit more human, but I'm still not in the best of shape. But, there's only two days to get through before I have two more days to feel crappy. And yes, this means that I got nothing done on Mom's lap quilt yesterday, because I spent most of the day sleeping to try to get well enough to struggle through today and tomorrow. We have Wednesday and Thursday off for recuperation, then Friday and Saturday working and Sunday off again, before going back to M-F work weeks. Hopefully, I'll be okay by then. I need to get through today and tomorrow to get a point back, so I have two to spare. Then if I get really bad later in the week, I can always use it again if need be and still have an emergency point to spare. That stomach flu I got back in the summer has caused so many relapses, it's going to take me a year to work off my points. Yuck. But it's the last Monday of 2014, and I'm hoping it goes well, because I want it over and done with, lol. (Feeling so cruddy yesterday is also why there were no books ... I was too pooped most of the day to do anything about it, until it was waaay late!)


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Bittersweet moments and precious memories

This weekend is bittersweet for me. My oldest child, my daughter, has moved out on her own. With a roommate, into a studio apartment, but she's officially on her own. I still remember all the wonderful firsts with her - first smile, first tooth, first steps. She has given me so many precious memories of her as she's grown from newborn baby to young woman. She's always been full of confidence, at least to the outside world. Even when she's not completely sure of herself, she manages to project that she's okay and knows full well where she is headed. She is smart, talented, beautiful, courageous, charming, awesome, and I am awed daily that the cosmos chose me to be her mother. (I still wonder how I got THAT lucky or blessed.) She enriches the life of everyone who knows her. If she's reading this, she probably thinks I'm going overboard with the profuse exclamations of how incredible a person she really is.

I'm grateful for where her apartment is. The city isn't the safest of places anyhow, but the young folks are located in the College-Cultural center of Flint, which is about as safe as you can really get. I don't know about her roommate, but she is about 10-15 minutes walk from school or work or the library, so it's going to be good for her. The bus stops are nearby as well, which makes for easy transport around the area. It's hard to believe she's so grown up that she's keeping house on her own now. In my mind, she'll always be my baby girl. (And yes, I know that embarasses her some, but it's what's in my heart.)

But, oh, the memories.

There were all the times when she was a toddler, and I'd be picking up the house, and she had left a sippy cup on the coffee table. I'd pick it up, clean, put it back down, and here she'd come with a grumpy look on her face. She wouldn't say a word. There was just a glare at me for not putting her cup back in the correct spot as she picked it up and BANGed it back down on the table where she'd had it before. To this day, she still hates for people to touch her things.

There was the time she first heard Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera" on cassette tapes that my Mom had. Amber, four at the time, learned the whole score pretty much by heart and had all the voices down pat in just a few months. I lost count of how many times we had to replace the tapes because she wore them out. But she determined then and there that what she wanted to do when she grew up was to sign Phantom on Broadway, to perform Carlotta and Christine herself. She's in college, has been for a few years, to work on her vocal performance degree. It takes a lot out of her, but for those who've seen the videos of her and her friends in the Chamber Singers performing, you know she's got the talent, poise and confidence to do whatever her heart desires in her vocal career.

And with "Phantom" on my mind, there's the trip to Toronto she, Mom and I made a couple of times, to see it at the Pantages before a major rework of the theater. She was maybe five or six at the time, tops, and had grown to love the show as much as we did. So there we are, in the lobby of the Pantages, waiting for the doors to open so we can get to our seats, and she announces to the rest of the waiting attendees that when she grew up, she was going to sing the parts of Carlotta and Christine, "but not at the same time, because you can't do that since they're different people." One gentleman decided to call her on her singing. "So sing something for us," he challenged her. My darling daughter stands up straight, takes a deep breath, and we are all prepared for her to belt out something from the show. What does she choose to sing? The Barney Song. *sigh* Yeah. That's my girl!

Or the time she was a bit younger, learning her letters. Mom had taught her to write the "A" that starts her name. "You make a line up like this, then a line down like this, and then a line across like this. That makes an 'A' like in your name." So Amber grabs pen and paper, sprawls on the floor and starts writing As, chanting as she goes, "Up, down, across, make A," over and over. A little later, Amber was singing something so much that it caused Mom to look at her and say in exasperation, "Amber, would you PLEASE sing a different song?!" Amber replies, "Okay!" and starts wandering around singing, "Different song! Different song! Different song!" Mom just buried hear head in her arms on the desk and we both started laughing, as I said, "Well, you TOLD her to sing a different song!"

I could go on and on. This young woman has brought so much joy to my life, and to her Dad's. Granted, he's legally "just the stepdad," but he's Dad to her and that's what counts. He's pleased as can be that he gets to be her Dad. Every time he sees a photo of her, he gets misty-eyed. I'd say we're pretty darned proud of her.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Baby, it's cold outside!

And it's going to be chilly for several days, likely a full week. The house, however, is nice and cozy, so I'm not bothered by the temps, other than when we leave for work and while at work. For some reason, they keep it even colder in production than absolutely necessary, and everybody freezes. I'm not in too bad a shape because I wear heavy jeans like most people, plus several shirts in order to trap layers of heat next to me.

The cats are enjoying the comfort, especially the girls  The boys are used to being indoors, so the temps outside don't mean a thing to them. The girls, having been outside for so long, are used to it to some extent, but I find it funny that they won't even go near the door now. Tink did once, a few weeks ago, when it was raining, got her head wet, shook it, and turned around to come back in, as if to say, "The heck with THAT. I'm staying where it's DRY!"

Mom's lap quilt is well into the last butterfly, finally, and that means a new travel project soon. I'm happy about that, because I'm really tired of some people at work being offended that I won't let them grab at it, because they "just want to look at it!" I'm offended at their rudeness and grubby fingers all over my fine needlework. There's one spot ON the quilt top, near the edge thank goodness, from the last gal who grabbed at it. I can hide it with the seam and binding, but I shouldn't have to hide anything. Some people just need to learn manners.

I'm working hard on getting pictures and descriptions and such together for things to sell on the standalone website once I get it going. It means a lot of hours of work putting it all in, but I'm willing to deal with that. I have a couple choices for an e-commerce setup. One I'm fond of, but it doesn't integrate with Amazon payments like I'd like it to do, but it has many of the features I like and I've seen the back end demo, which works well for me. That one's OSCommerce. The other, Magento, integrates with Amazon Payments (so folks can pay with Amazon info and login with Amazon without leaving my store, leading to more sales), but I'm not overly fond of the backend. It seems a bit complex for me to deal with. I've got time to figure it out, though.

However, to make up for having Wednesday off, we have to work today, so it's off to get ready for me! Hugs, all!


Friday, December 26, 2014

Back to work!

Well, here it is Friday, and for some reason, they have us working tomorrow as well. Probably to make up for Wednesday as an off day, which is fine, but that is sure going to make Sunday a bit of a nightmare, with having to split up and do everything in one day plus try to get a bit of relaxation time in.

I may have eaten a bit too much yesterday at dinner, as I got a bit of a tummyache after, which Pepto Bismol didn't solve. So at bedtime, it was my old standby of a hot cup of mint tea. I really like my new microwave for making a quick cuppa. Instead of nearly three minutes, it was two. I know, a minute isn't much in general, but when you're not feeliing well, and need that tea, a minute is a lifetime.

But the two days off was a blessing to work on Mom's lap quilt, because I not only got that stupid butterfly with all the partial stitches done, but got a healthy start on the very last one. Mom didn't get the one completed for Aunt Liz, and so bought her something for Christmas, and doesn't know what to do with it. Their "anniversary" of when they met and became pretty much instant friends is in a few weeks, right around Mom's birthday, and I think it would be cool to finish it for that. Mom said she has the top done, but has the rest to do. She's gotten ahead of me, darn it! But she does have more time than I do to stitch on things, though I can't wait to get this finished so I can send it up to her. I know she'll get a kick out of the backstory on it.

But for now, it's time to do homestead chores (the furkids are all fed already, as that is done first thing before I even get dressed) and get ready to head to work for my shift. Hugs, all!


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Christmas!

It's been a lovely day, in spite if it being green and brown, rather than white. I got hubby some car care stuff for the truck, a collection of hot sauces in trial sizes, and a soup mug. He really liked the soup mug, because he eats a lot of soup with his teeth in the condition they are in (can't WAIT for spring so we can see about getting them worked on and getting him his dentures!), so he can now heat his soup in the mug in the microwave and eat it in a bowl/giant mug that will stay hot, and keep his soup hot, for longer.

He got me no yarn, darn it. But I did get a couple of big jar candles, the original Star Trek Movie, a horsie calendar, a votive holder with three cups in it, and an electric can opener! The last is probably my favorite, because while I love using manual openers since they work even if the power is out, my arthritis in my hands and wrists is just starting to get to the point that a stubborn can is difficult to open even with a new one. I'll still keep my manual opener for power outages until we're completely off-grid, though, and probably even then. I'm just that crazy for manual gadgets in the kitchen.

The big goodie for this year was our new microwave. The old one was a yard sale pickup anyhow, and we've used it hard for almost 3 1/2 years (we got it right after we moved into our last place). The motor was starting to go, so it was time the poor thing got a decent burial. It's going in the trailer for the next scrap haul, along with my toaster, which decided this morning that it only wanted to work on one side. Toasting now requires toasting, turning the bread and retoasting. *shrug* At least the old microwave held out this long! We sure used the heck out of it the last couple of years!

Still have one butterfly and a bit of backstitching on the next-to-last one to do and the top of Mom's lap quilt is done and the thing will be ready for assembly and all the other stuff so it can be wrapped, packed and shipped. Yes, I AM going to wrap it in Christmas paper for her! So as it's almost time to start supper (we are having what hubby calls "spit at Eddie," aka spaghetti) for dinner, I am off here until tomorrow. Hugs, all.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Christmas Eve

Hubby woke up super-early and ran to Harrison to finish his shopping, while I slept in to our usual wake up time. He picked up a bunch of wrapping paper, too, which is good, because for the first time in our marriage, we're actually going to WRAP the presents, lol. When he got back, I pulled together and ran down to finish my stuff for him, get stuff for dinner tomorrow (spaghetti!!!) and get my butt home.

On the hihger reaches of our mountain, like where we are, we got a few flurries of snow. Nothing that stuck, though, and tomorrow is supposed to be in the low 50s, so no snow then, either. Half a mile down the road, and nothing but rain, lol. The shopping wore me out, though. It usually does when I have to be around people in an environment like that. Work isn't so bad, because people don't run into me, or get in my way much, or things like that which happen frequently in a store. I walk out saying, "I hate people." Plus with my introverted personality, being around lots of people just drains me. I'm with the cats right now. I want a nap. Hugs, all!


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

So far, this week sucks

Last night was a crappy night. Three people didn't show up, including our lead AND backup lead. The machine on my line was broke for half an hour to start. Then it broke again just before break by tearing up a belt, which couldn't be replaced because apparently, maintenance had no more in stock. Because it was still broken when we came back from lunch, the grader (they person who pulls the miscuts off the line) left, leaving us even more short-handed. We managed to run the rest of the night - 4 1/2 hours - on one side of the machine only. I thought that was bad enough, along with the supervisors having people hand load the tenders onto the lines while we were still running birds, which made my job even harder (thanks, guys, she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm). I ended up having to yell at people about "raising all kinds of holy h**l" over it to get them to slow it down to a dull roar so we could keep up. My back and arms are sore, and I don't want to go in, but I will.

Today isn't starting out much better. Woke up about 930AM to find our power was out. Call the electric company (I will be so glad when we are off-grid completely) and find it's a good-sized outage, so who knew when power would be back on. Thankfully, it's back on, but hubby was not happy. "If power's out here, is it on at the plant? And if not, then what do I do all day without my TV and PS2?" Me, I went back to sleep, dreaming of being able to spend the day knitting and crocheting and sewing and reading. Hopefully, this night at work will go better, because we have tomorrow and Thursday off, which gives cranky over there (pointing to my right, where he's sitting and getting ready for work) a couple of days to do just about nothing, and me time to do plenty of whatever I want to do in the way of needlework and reading. Yay, me!


Monday, December 22, 2014

I went shopping

Woops. Me and my Amazon gift cards, lol. Got a couple more crib cover kits to make for sale. Cost me a whopping 52 cents after my gift card balance, which is fine. They'll arrive just a bit after Christmas, to add to the stash of ones I need to work on. Mom's lap quilt is almost ready to be assembled and quilted, and then it's on to things to sell as my "take to work" projects. My at-home project will be that mile-a-minute scrap afghan, which hasn't had anything done on it in ages, but I'm not worried.

Looking into standalone hosting, I'm liable to just go with HostGator as a friend suggested. About $100 a year that way for what I want. GoDaddy quoted me $1200 a year because they wanted to sell me business hosting. Seriously? Ok, so it will be a business site, but it isn't going to chew up bandwidth or anything like oh ... Microsoft? I'm not fond of the overall starter look of OSCommerce shopping cart, either, but it's workable and will allow for customization if I'm willing to dig into the style sheets. HTML classes and programming classes from college come back to haunt me again, lol.

I like Etsy, but I'm not getting any more traffic on it than I would on a standalone site, and things there expire and have to be relisted (at a fee, again) every four months. If something doesn't sell right off, I'd like it to stay listed, ya know? Plus with getting business cards probably early next year, I'd like to be able to put a real website on there instead of the blog. Blogger covers everything for free, yes, but it's not overly professional, and with Etsy as the "farm store," those fees will get expensive as I build up a library of ebooks and crafted items for sale, along with other things, such as the Gifts (Not) in a Jar I like to do. Those are fun, and are great if you have to ship them. I just use ziploc bags instead of jars because there's a lot less chance of breakage in shipment. But it's time to hunt down books real quick and get my butt in gear for work, which is going to be interesting this week. If all goes as rumor has it, we work Monday and Tuesday, off Wednesday and Thursday, and then back Friday and Saturday. Perhaps the same next week, we shall see. On those, I have to wait and see what's being posted at work!


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Blessed Winter Solstice!!

Today is the shortest day of the year. After today, the days will grow longer and longer by little increments, a mere minute or so a day. You all know what THAT means! Time to really start cranking out the needlework (not much further to go on Mom's lap quilt, yay!). and ordering seeds! WOOP!

The tire got changed today. Hubby tried to do it while we were at the laundromat yesterday, but one of the lug nuts would not come off. So he meandered down to Wally World today, to visit a friend who works in the auto department there, and they couldn't get it off with the impact wrench! He then wanders a bit further down the road to O'Reilly's Auto Parts, and got a special little tool to get the nut off. The tool digs into the nut and forces it loose, though you do have to worry about snapping the bolt while your at it due to high pressures you're putting on it. The nut came off without snapping the bolt, and it was then that hubby discovered why the darn thing was so stuck. The last person who took it off put locking thread tape on it! ON A LUG BOLT!

So here I am, didn't sleep well last night, so slept most of the day, and just not really getting anything done. Oh well. Tons to do, so off I go. Hugs, all!!


Saturday, December 20, 2014

This day needs a do-over

And one that starts out better than the one we had started.  Hubby went to load the laundry in the pickup and found we had a flat tire. Fan-freaking-tastic. So we're thinking we're going to have to use money out of the fund we've been working on to tide us through the shutdown in February. Get to the mailboxes, and we have a $200 gift card from my Mom. She can't afford that kind of thing, and we told her not to, but it's a blessing that she did. It bought the new tire, barring 56 cents. Other than that, the day went good, and basically normal, but the frustration and worry from the early hour or so just has me wiped. I'm so glad today is over and we are home. I'm off to an early bedtime.

Friday, December 19, 2014

It's not looking like Christmas

And while I like a little bit of snow, the white stuff can stay in the northern climes as far as I'm concerned. Less than an inch of the white stuff on The Big Day will please me and be enough for me for a whole winter. I'd rather have rain. At least I don't have to shovel that, and it doesn't mess up the roads. I almost can't wait for next week. Christmas is almost here, and if I can find it at Big Lots, if they still have any, I want to get hubby a set of Louisiana Hot Sauces in those little trial bottles. They had a ton of that kind of stuff a couple weeks ago, but that was the last time I was in there, and I didn't have enough in the shopping money at that point to get them and the rest of what I got him. We do Christmas on the cheap, that's for sure. I got him car stuff, a big soup mug, his early present of the plushy fleece blanket, and I want to get him those hot sauces, too. We need to get something for the furkids this weekend, and I know he's gotten me a few things, including my early present of a giant jar candle in raspberry something scent. (He knows my addictions well - books/Amazon, crafts, yarn, candles, lol.)

I made a lot of progress on Mom's lap quilt yesterday, because I was not only able to get my usual time in before work, while sitting in the truck, but I was able to get Hulu to behave last night so I was able to watch the last episode of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." before bed, while doing some stitching on the darn butterfly with all the partial stitches in it. It is the only one so far I can honestly say I will be rather happy when it's done. The rest were, "Cool, one more down, on to the next!" I can hardly wait to see what this looks like when it's complete.

In short, life is good, homesteading is a lot of hard work but so much fun, and overall, I'm glad it's Friday and the last day of the work week!


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Some days, I just don't want to get up

Wake up, yes. Get up and go to work, no. My body is not feeling the love of a steady job and paycheck right now. I'm sore and didn't sleep well (thank you shirttail brother-in-law on first shift who thinks it's okay to text me at 730AM to ask how my night at work went and WAKE ME UP). The only love I'm feeling is that of a day in bed sleeping, which ain't gonna happen.

There's not just work. There's chores that had to be done as well. Cat boxes cleaned, dishes put away, wood stacked. There's half a day's work right there. Sitting down to breakfast and my blogging is about the easiest part of my whole day, haha! Generally, all the homestead chores have to be done before we can head to work, because that's the daylight we have available to do things in, which isn't much, since work starts about the time that daylight for the day ends. So we lose some daylight anyhow. Kind of grinds my beans about that a bit, but it is what it is for now. But like hubby and I talked about on the way in, one day, I'll be definitely back on first shift, because I'll have to be up to either hit the farmer's markets with our stuff and/or open our little greenstore (which is likely to be in a small Derksen cabin so it looks nice and welcoming - plus has that porch rail to hang flower boxes on or drape quilts and afghans over to get folks to stop and peek at things).

Speaking of quilts, Mom's lap quilt is nearly ready for assembly, basting and quilting! Just over 1 1/2 butterflies to go, because last night, while watching one of my shows on the computer after supper, I grabbed it and stitched for a bit again. Thank goodness for my little lighted magnifier I hang around my neck. I am aiming to get myself a floor lamp style one soon, but this works in the meantime in low light stitching situations. But for now, it's pull together for work in about an hour or so ... urgh!!! I'm off to relax with some gaming before heading to work. Hugs, all!