New Hair Day!

I had a revolutionary hair day today. I got a random impulse to get my hair done and since my normal salon has stairs to get in I drove around until I found someplace that looked accessible and interesting. I stopped by a place I had never noticed before a few miles from my house called The Texture Room. I liked the name and the inside was very loft like but not over the top trendy. By the luck of the draw I was with a young stylist named Mary who had spiky green hair and several ear tattoos. I liked her right away.

I told her to give me the usual, an inch or so trimmed off and some shaping in the front. As she started working I told her that I'd basically had the same hair style for the last decade. She said we could do something about that very easily. After the winter I've had I decided it was time to shake things up a bit. So we got a new game plan and she started cutting. I then said something about how I'd started to notice some gray hairs and that my overall color seemed to be fading as I got older. She then said, "Well, you know we could do something about that very easily too." So before I knew it we were picking out colors to blend together using a demi-permanent hair color. I had never heard of this process before but basically it doesn't use all the chemicals and is a less harsh method of coloring your hair.

She turned my chair around to face the TV and wouldn't let me look through the whole process. We did the final reveal and I had my own Ah Ha moment that you always see on the makeover shows. She even did my eyebrows and spent so much time making sure that everything was perfect.

I was actually worried about what my reaction would be if I didn't like it since she'd spent so much time and energy on me but my reaction was sincerely thrilled. I love the color so much. It goes with my skin tone naturally and Mike even likes it. The cut is just right too. It has a nice asymmetrical look without being too dramatically so and I like the swoop in the front and back. I still have some length which I've had forever to hide behind when needed.

Kai was over last night for his weekly guitar lesson and he had his own revolutionary hair day this week. He got himself a mohawk which I think is adorable, but don't tell him that since he thinks he's such a rebel. His mother hates it which is exactly why he loves it. If she had her way he would have long flowing hair like he did when he was a kid. I remember the days when my hair was one of the few things I had control over and I too punished my mother with some wild styles in my day.


Bring On the Sunshine

I had been thinking that I've been using my blog too much to complain recently about all of my winter blues and ankle turmoil. It is totally okay for me to express what I'm going through here since this is my own personal blog but I was feeling guilty for sending out negative vibes into the blogosphere. The always helpful Duni from Lovely Purses chose to overlook this period of gloom and doom and awarded me the Sunshine Award today. Duni has a shop full of spring bags with bright colors and flowers blooming at Dawanda and is working on getting her own site up and running.
The Sunshine Award is awarded to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspires others in the blog world. I would like to pass it on to a few bloggers who really exemplify this spirit. I don't know if you've already received this award or not and please don't feel obligated to play along.

1. Duck and Wheel with String --For always putting a smile on my face with her humor and amazing spirit.
2. Live Passionately -- For being the place I turn when I need positive words to uplift me. She always seems to be talking just to me!
3. Nature With Me --For all of the good she does with her charity projects and Change the World series.
4. Ann's Snap Edit & Scrap -- For always leaving the most positive and heartfelt comments and being such a wonderful member of my little blog community.
5. Nfall2rt -- For being a good blog buddy through the past year to me and supporting the handmade community in such a great way on her blog.
6. Missy-Ellen-- I wanted to include a new blogger on my list that I just discovered and Missy-Ellen was the perfect choice. She has a lovely and bright blog that is full of potential.

This week has been a turning point in my recovery with working a full time schedule and getting more of my life back. I even went out last night with a group of friends from the office for the first time in months. I also saw a student yesterday that had obviously been crying for much of the last 24 hours. She had recently found out that she did not pass the nursing entrance exam and wouldn't be admitted this year to the program she had been working towards. It's my job to work with the nursing students and with the program just filling this week I'll be seeing many more in her position. I talked to her for 30 minutes or so and used all my positive counseling skills and when she left she had a partial smile on her face. She told me that she always feels better after she leaves my office. This made me feel good and happy that I could help her to accept her situation.

So thanks to Duni for brightening my day with the award and helping to remind me that there is a lot of positive energy out there if you know where to look.


To Etsy or Not to Etsy, that is the Question...

Since I can now drive and get into and out of my car with my walker I am back to work full time this week. Getting a big part of my routine back has made a huge difference in my energy level and outlook.

So I started thinking about whether I should take my Etsy shop out of vacation mode or just leave it alone for now. Honestly a sale at the moment would be more trouble than it's worth. I would have to have Mike go into the room that dare not speak it's name (my horribly disorganized craft room if you must know), find the item and wrap it up, and then drag myself into the post office, which sounds like a nightmare to me.

This year on Etsy has been a bust for me anyways. I had a few sales and a few decent trades but nothing much to speak of. Ironically I sold the scarf at the top the day before my fall and had to have Mike take care of shipping, which he wasn't crazy about at all.

I could never get into a good rhythm of picture taking either through the Fall. I wasn't crazy about my setup out on the porch but was too lazy to come up with something better. I tagged the bulk of my inventory for the craft show season before I had taken pictures of them. I've found that it's harder to get a great shot of something after it's been tagged since you have to find an angle were the tag doesn't show.

Speaking of lazy I just don't have the motivation to start up my own website or try a different venue on-line either. My 1000 Markets shop was unceremoniously shut down for lack of activity. I really don't know how some of you do it, keeping multiple sites active and full. For me craft shows have been my biggest success with my business and that is what I plan on focusing my energy on for next year.

My quandary is whether I should keep the shop up and running once I am really up and running, even if it is a shell of its former self. There was a time when if I didn't have at least 3 pages of items listed I felt bad. The main reason I think it is important to have at lease some presence on-line is that some of the craft shows use it to evaluate your work. It has been more like a portfolio of my work than a real business venture for the past year. If I'm wanting to continue to do these shows I'm thinking it is probably worth it to maintain at least a few pages of inventory on Etsy. I've also passed out hundreds if not thousands of business cards over the past few years with my shop address featured prominently.

What do you think. Am I wasting my time on Etsy or should I continue to plug along keeping it somewhat up to date?


My Tween Reading List

My niece Jessica is turning 11 later this week. It's hard to believe how grown up she is becoming. She definitely has the hormones starting to rage and is already becoming quite a handful for her mother. I was shopping this weekend for her present, which got me thinking about what I liked as a tween back in the day. In addition to an outfit which I got her from Aeropostale, her favorite brand, I wanted to get her some books from my own tween reading list.

Jess and I are pretty different. I have a lot more in common with her sister Kate in terms of personality. I was a huge reader and read literally everything I could get my hands on. Along with all the books that were giving to me including of course Anne of Green Gables, I would sneak my Mom's Harlequin romances and even my Dad's Zane Gray novels. My favorites were actually the old hard bound historical romances I found in my Nana's attic. Most of these were printed in the early 20th century and were set in Victorian times, most often in some English castle.

This is not the reading list that I would encourage for most 11 year old and certainly not Jessica. I ended up buying her a box set of Judy Blume classics. Are You There God, It's Me Margaret should be required reading for all pre-teen girls. I also got her The Diary of Anne Frank since it was on my mind. We are going to see the play in a few weeks at the Rep. I am now wishing that I had remembered the book at the top of the page, To Be A Slave. I can remember the first time I read this series of letters and stories from actual slaves. I still have my very well worn copy that I bought from Scholastic Books many moons ago. It was without a doubt the most moving and personally impacting books I've ever read. It will definitely be on the list for the next holiday.

How many of you remember the Sunfire Romance series that was published in the 1980's? Each of the books were named after a girl and were set in some historical time period. She was always pursued by two different perfect guys. She was always head strong and ended up with the one that helped her to find her own way in the world. I read most of these books multiple times and as sad as it is to say much of my history context comes from these books. I remember the California gold rush from the perspective of Caroline who disguised herself as a boy to travel to meet her brothers. I have trouble remembering the details of books I read last year but I can remember the images from these books that I read over 20 years ago. They are unfortunately out of print which I think is a crying shame. Thankfully we kept our set of them and I think Angie is in current possession of them. Jess will be ready for them in a few years. Even my little sister who was more of a tomboy and jock like Jess enjoyed reading these books.

What was on your tween reading list? Do you have any recommendations for the next time I'm book shopping for the girls.


In Training

I had my big doctor visit today. He said the bones were healing nicely and that my ankle movement was not bad. He told me I could start partial weight bearing and work my way up to full weight bearing over the next two weeks. I am using a walker now and I'm definitely not going to win any races but I'm standing on my own two feet which is pretty darn good. In a couple of weeks I will transition to a cane and if I need physical therapy we will start it then. He gave me some exercises to do now to work on getting my full movement back.

It hurts to move it sometimes but that is to be expected. My toes are tingling like crazy when I walk and it feels like I'm stepping on pins and needles sometimes. Mike says that is the nerves coming back to life.

I can also scrub it down tonight and get all that dried skin cleaned off. I am debating about taking a picture first to memorialize it in all of its glory. I don't think I would torment you all with it though. Most of it has been dyed a fascinating orange color from the chemical adhesives they used in the first two splints.

You are probably wondering why there is a picture of a llama at the top of this post. Well, I was talking to Mike about a tour I found in one of the guide books I'm reading for our vacation to New Mexico this summer. It is a Llama Trekking Adventure with Wild Earth Adventures, which can just be a day trip or if you are really adventurous overnight camping. We would of course choose the day trip but it sounds absolutely amazing. The llamas carry all of the baggage and the supplies for the guides, including provisions to make a gourmet lunch. They offer custom hikes for any fitness level with experienced guides who will explain all about the wildlife, native plants and history of the area.

I really need something to push myself towards and this could be the motivation I need. Mike has been humming the Olympic theme song every time I have pushed myself a little further tonight. I need to think of myself as being in training. No I'm not training for a marathon or even a 5 K. Nothing ordinary like that for me. I'm training for a New Mexico Llama Trek Adventure. One step at a time...


Eye Bobs

A few of you commented on my glasses in the picture from the previous post. I don't think that I have ever talked about my favorite eyeglass makers. EyeBobs are actually made as readers but you can take them to any optometrist and have them put in your prescription lens. They are handmade by a fun indie company whose catchphrase is "eyebobs specializes in eyewear for the irreverent and slightly jaded." (This is totally not a paid ad BTW, just me talking about a company I like).

I've been thinking about buying a new set of frames in black. They of course have lots of round frames to choose from but I think that they make my face look even rounder. The ones above have an interesting shape similar to my tortoise shell ones I think. They are called Cool Whip and they say that they give you an instant face lift. This might be a bit much too expect from your frames but I do like them.

If you are looking for wild color combinations they have that too. My friend Leslie, who introduced me to them rocks a red pair. I like this pair called zippy in watermelon too but I think it might be a bit much for day to day.

Speaking of day to day. I'm at work today after a few more days off of because of more snow and doctor visits. I find out on Friday if I can put partial weight on my ankle which will allow me to drive myself and get more of my life back I hope.


My Valentine

Mike is not a big proponent of Valentine's Day. He says once you are married you should be able to just celebrate your anniversary and not have to worry about v-day anymore. I don't care too much myself to be honest but there is nothing wrong with having a day to honor Love. I just got him a few little things from the Hearts for Haiti site along with a custom card/print from riricreations like this one.

I forwarded her the above picture of the two of us, which is one of my favorites, and 60 words that sum up our relationship and the past 7 years of our lives. I thought I would share the words with you. They are:

February 17, Minor League Hockey, Adaptation, Sun Valley Lake, India Palace, Tanzanite, June 19, 2004, "In My Life", Family, The Chimes, Friendship, Lenox Farms, Laughing, New Orleans, Art, Higher Education, Writing, The Bloolights, Lenox Knits, "The Office", Archon, Sushi, Nieces & Nephews, Teaching, Companionship, Mean Bags, Games, Mr. Fidelity, Long Naps, Creating, Books, Friday Dinner, Guitars, Yarn, Acceptance, Judge Judy, El Maguey, Matching Quirks, Forgiving, Poodle Joy, Mayan Ruins, Comforting

Some of them might seem random but they will have meaning to Mike if no one else. Mike and I met on February 17 when we were set up by my now sister in law at a Minor League Hockey game. There is a somewhat amusing story about our first meeting that I don't think I've ever told here. My sister in law, who is married to Mike's twin brother Mark, and I had met about a year before through our mutual friend Leslie. We hung out periodically as a threesome and they had joked about how Debi should set me up with Mike but nothing had ever come of it. Mike had just gotten divorced and Debi said she was unsure whether he was ready to meet someone right away. I smoked at the time and she knew that would be a turn off to him so it took some time before she decided to just put us both in the same place and see what happened.

She called me out of the blue one day and said that they had a spare ticket to a hockey game and asked if I wanted to come along. She hinted that Mike would be there. I got to where we were meeting and saw that Debi was in the car with just one guy and when I walked up she said that Mark had unfortunately gotten called into work and wouldn't be able to join us. I said that was too bad and we headed in. As we were sitting down I let her sit next to who I thought was her husband and spent the first half of the game interacting with Mike as if he was married to my friend. I had only ever hung out with Debi with Leslie and wasn't really solid on the names of the twins or their occupations.

At halftime Debi and I went to the bathroom as women tend to do together. I said that it was really too bad that things hadn't worked out with the setup. She looked at me kind of strange and said "oh, what is the matter." Then it hit me that the twin I was supposed to meet was the one that was there. I went back and sat down next to Mike and said, "So, I just realized that you aren't Debi's husband." We laughed about it and it actually made us relax and we enjoyed the rest of the evening. Mike said he knew right away that he would be spending a lot more time with me. And the rest is history, or our history I guess you could say.

Debi and I had briefly met years before through our friend but hadn't clicked at that time. She even has a picture of Leslie with half of my body in it that she discovered after we became reacquainted. I have wondered what would have happened if Mike and I had met 10 years earlier when we were all in college. I think about how we both would have avoided a lot of heartache if we had found each other then. But who knows if we would have been ready for each other at that time. That heartache helped to make us who we are and how we accept each other as a couple. Mike and I came together fully formed and with our quirks ready to connect. I honestly don't think that would have happened back then.

I doubt that we will be getting out of the house tomorrow since another snow storm is coming our way. I'm looking forward to finding out what he picked out for me from Hearts For Haiti. It's been on top of the refrigerator out of reach for me to sneak a peak all week. I hope you have a sweet day. If you don't have your own special Valentine now keep in mind that the time just might not be right for the two of you yet.


Still Seeking Inspiration

So I'm still feeling pretty unmotivated and uninspired. I think that it is actually getting harder as more is expected of me. I went into work for most of the day on Wednesday but it was a colossal effort for very little payout. It was nice to see everybody but I was caught up on my paperwork after two hours and since I wasn't able to see students there was nothing else for me to do. I don't think it's worth it until I can put partial weight on it and can drive myself. Then I will be able to see students and start feeling more productive again. I did find a very helpful forum that I thought I would share called ehealthforum. I was most interested in the posts from other people who have had my surgery and their recovery but there are groups with all types of injuries or illnesses. It was nice to read other people's stories and get some encouragement and ideas.

I spent the afternoon today looking through last years Fall Collections for inspiring knitwear on InStyle. I know that I'm looking backward but I live in the midwest so we are usually at least one year behind. I'd have to say that Missoni was the most amazing discovery. His collection was full of extra long scarves and hoods often times in layers like this look. I spent over an hour looking at the line. I also adore the color palette and is very similar to the organic yarn that I recently bought and have been working with. The colors are more muted then my usual fair but I think it is appropriate. It's more earthy and bohemian which I think will go over well at next year's Strange Folk Festival.

I was equally inspired by the Michael Kors look in the type right corner of my mood board. This lime green super scarf and hat with ear muffs is a great pop of color and style. There wasn't much else in his collection that got my juices flowing though. The Marc by Marc Jacobs line, including the top left look, was full of great color combinations that I loved.

I'm feeling the call of the fiber much more strongly tonight than I have in the past month. It's definitely time to get the needles clicking again which will hopefully help me to feel more balanced again.


Change of Luck

One of my mother's saying goes, "If he didn't have bad luck, he'd have no luck at all." It is usually directed at my brother. Well, I feel like this year has started off under a very unlucky cloud around here. First there was my fall, and just when I'm ready to get back to work this week we get a snow storm. We only have around 3-4 inches but it has me scared to venture out since that is what got me into trouble in the first place. I might attempt to go in tomorrow with the help of a colleague who lives close to me. She doesn't leave until around 10:00 a.m. so I'll call ahead to make sure that the sidewalks are cleared on campus.

On top of this another very close friend is having surgery this week and is facing a life changing illness. And because they are self employed they happen to be without insurance, so who knows how that will affect their future. And in the bigger picture with the loss of the super majority, which I still don't fully understand the significance of, there is a real chance that the health care reform the country is in dire need of is about to be lost once again. It breaks my heart to think about how many people are without insurance and are just one serious illness away from bankruptcy.

So many people who are following their dreams must make the chose to go without insurance because of the extreme costs to get private health insurance in this country. The fact that in order to live life on their terms means giving up the security of health insurance is just wrong. Too many creative people make this difficult choice now because there are so few options. I pray that it won't mean bankruptcy for my friend and that our government can get their act together so that people will have more options in the future.

I made the above treasury using Made by Hand a site I had seen around before but never really explored until today. It allows you to search, make wish lists, and create what they call spotlights like the above, incorporating items from all of the major handmade sites. If you click on the item it will take you directly to the listing for sale.


Inspire Me

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

‘You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.’

Jack London

I know that you would think with 4 weeks on the couch that I would have a whole lot of finished knits to show for it. But you would unfortunately be wrong. The first 2 weeks are a blur to me since I was in a lot of pain and taking some serious pain meds that left my brain in a fog. The last two weeks have been pretty unproductive too. I have a small pile of hats that I've made and that is it. Ani was over tonight and looked at the few things at the end of the couch and she said "is that it." I thought you would have filled a room with hats by now.

I made the Flickr widget of my knitted creations at PictoBrowser to help get my creative juices flowing. I have been completely lacking in inspiration. My craft room is a cluttered mess at the moment and I can't really get in there to get to my yarn. When I'm lacking inspiration normally I will go in my room, get out piles of yarn and start playing with different color combinations. I will look through my stitch books until something lights my fire.

I had Mike bring me out some books and some yarn but it just wasn't the same. Tonight Ani went deeper into the yarn stash than Mike chose to venture. She drug a bunch of different things out and helped me to come up with some color combos that peaked my interest. That is what I needed to do a week ago.

I'm not going to beat myself up about not using this time off from work more productively. My body was healing and that was the priority. I wasn't really in a position to make the most of the time and sometimes you can't force it.

I've been thinking a lot about the direction that I want to go with my business in the next year. I just don't know if trying to sell on-line is really worth it to me. It is a lot of work for very little pay off. I'm sure I will have a post soon with my thoughts on this.


Dreaming of Sunnier Days

“I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life -- and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.”
Georgia O” Keefe

As I mentioned in my previous post I have found myself randomly obsessed with New Mexico recently. It started like 6 months ago. I honestly can't remember what the spark was but ever since I see hints of it everywhere I look, in books, movies, websites, etc. I have talked Mike into vacationing there in June for a week to 10 days. No, I don't think we will be moving there anytime soon but I told Mike yesterday that I thought we should retire there. He gave me a really strange look like he was wondering what I had been smoking.

This afternoon I was playing travel agent for Tif and Chris and looking for an all inclusive package somewhere sunny for their honeymoon. If you are looking for a similar trip let me recommend the Dominican Republic. There are some amazing deals there right now. I don't know if it's because of the earthquake but the prices were even tempting to me on some of the resorts I was looking at.

But back to New Mexico. I've been trying to get my head around our itinerary. I know that we will be flying into Albuquerque since that is the only major airport but I don't think we'll spend more than a day there. From there we will head to Santa Fe for at least 3 days. There are lots of cultural things to do here and beautiful scenery for golfing/hiking for Mike, as well as Los Alamos which as a physics teacher he is already nerding out about.

From there I am determined to head up to Taos via the high road which supposedly has views out of this world (This is the area that Georgia O'Keeffe made famous). I want to hit as many galleries and studios that I can as this is one of the most artistic communities in the world. I don't think there will be as much for Mike to do here so I probably won't be able to get him to stay more than 2 days. We'll stay at a local B & B here which I always love to do when traveling.

Here is where I get fuzzy in my planning. I want to get the full experience and I don't think the trip would be complete without heading southeast to Roswell and the White Sands. I just don't know how many extra days that would add to the trip. I know that it is going to be a half days drive to get there. I think it would be worth it but I also know that Mike isn't the best traveler and I wonder if we might be better served sticking to the Northern territory and really doing it right.
My family took a trip to the Southwest when I was really young. I think I have a memory of the White Sands but Mom doesn't think so since we were there for less than an hour and I would have just been 3 or 4 years old. I have a feeling associated with it of wonder as I felt the sand in my toes, but it could be a created memory from the pictures I've seen from the trip. I would love to see it again if it is possible. I really think I need some wonder in my life after the year I've had.

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