Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tribute to the wise and amazing Randy Pausch 1960 - 2008

Randy Pausch was a special and positive person whom I've never met but his wisdom touches me. I attended Carnegie Mellon University long ago, taking summer art courses, but never met him. He was a professor there, but later on. He was only a few years older than me. Randy is the author and star of the video the "Last Lecture", giving bits of wisdom on life and keeping postiive through hard times. He died a few days ago from Pancreatic Cancer after a long and brave fight. Rest in peace, Mr.Pausch, and God bless your family. Watching his lectures helps us to never take life for granted, ever.

Here is his lecture on "Achieving Your Childhood Dreams"

Monday, July 28, 2008

My interview for Cafe Press Shopkeeper Spotlight

Recently, I was interviewed by Cafe Press, as a shopkeeper, for their Shopkeeper Spotlight column. If you're curious, check it out here:


It's been a busy month, moving and adjusting to my lovely new place. It was a very successful move and I'm now back to producing designs for my shirts once again. It's a better life all the way around. This place is like home, and is double the size of my old place.

The kitchen is a dream come true. There are so many cabinets (all new and spacious)and a lovely pantry. The attached solarium is full of natural light, for my orchids who reside there. The cats sit on the chair next to the plants, to watch the nature out back at the lake. Those windows are a never ending source of cat entertainment for sure.

I walked to the grocery store for the first time the other day, and it was pleasant. The neighborhood is quiet, surrounded by a fence, and very private. Flowers are everywhere, and there weren't any people to be seen, anywhere. Perfect, quiet and peaceful. Many live up north and keep these condos as their winter homes, making it extra quiet for us residents. I loved my old place, but this is so much better in almost every way. And stores are so close, that makes everything so much easier for me. Walk to the store, then take a taxi home, costing a whole $2.50 in fares. Life is good.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Move is Nearly Complete

After much insanity and craziness, moving is complete, except for putting everything where it needs to go in my lovely new place. I had to hire movers two times, due to the first one (a well known national chain that uses a kids' design as a logo) had a thief in their ranks who stole a guitar and the stand to hold it! A police report was made and they refunded my money as I found a second mover, this time someone very reputable (Knights movers out of New Port Richey, Florida)who were amazing, professional and quick! It pays to have good movers, because the bad ones have easy access to all your stuff, and they can go slow as molasses to make the time drag out. Word to the wise, make sure your mover is bonded, insured and is registered with the Better Business Bureau.

Anyways, after all that happened, the apartment is lovely and more like "home" than the previous place, whose claim to fame was an amazing view, but lacked in square footage and no dishwasher. I have a kitchen full of new appliances now, including a powerful dishwasher, so life is great. I'm doing lots of laundry in my new washer and dryer, and the cats are watching the birds and creatures out back from the big windows. They are very happy here, and walk around the place, probably amazed at how big it is. Beau runs and plays more here, it's funny watching him be a kitten again.

One good thing about all of this is that moving has helped me exercise my back enough to be stronger. Recuperating from a herniated disk and sciatica last year, I felt like my back had been weak..well, not anymore. Now that I treat it with more respect, I didn't overdo it and was careful to stop when I felt any pain. It worked, my spine made it through without damage. Woohoo!

I will make one more trip to the old apartment to do a few last things, then I'm turning in my keys and that stress is over with forever. Moving was a good idea, this condo is close to practically every store and restaurant I need and like. This will be great for going out with friends, too. My landlords are kind, nature lovers so I cannot ask for better. Life is good.

Check out these cute kittens playing like rock stars..

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Moving Day

In a few hours, the movers will be coming, along with some of my friends. Pretty much everything is packed so I can sit back and let the movers do their thing. The cats are fascinated by all the boxes and stuff, piled high. They keep walking around and inspecting everything. As for me, I'm both exhausted and excited. A new and better place, with great landlords and proximity to everything, so driving won't be necessary.

Last night I gave my egret and seagull buddies out back the last of my granola bars. They chowed them down, happily. My orchid plants are ready for their move, spending a last few hours out on the balcony. Outside, a small but brave bird is chasing an osprey out of the area. I'll miss this lake but gain new critters at a new, smaller one.

There's a lot of mildew inside the walls here, has been from when I moved in. I didn't notice how much, though, until moving boxes in the back of my closet, where I found a foot long spot of it. Yuck. No wonder I've sneezed and itched more than normal here. Good riddance to that, and hello apartment that is mold free.

I'm taking a break from the madness, to get my rest before things start getting crazy around here.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Life is Good Again

I've decided against staying in my current apartment, having gotten too good a deal to pass up with the new place, and plan to move after all. This evening I am packing, getting ready, now that my mind is made up. What a difference a day makes. Yesterday I was planning to stay, but the new place is much bigger and more affordable, so I'm being practical about it and letting go of the familiar. My new office space will be great, it is sunny, actually an enclosed sun porch, which I will share with my many orchid plants. The cats will no doubt play "cat of the jungle" in them as I work.

Moving is a pain, so when I'm done, I'm staying a long time. The owners are wonderful and I will enjoy being their tenant (unlike the staff here which is generally uptight). As for my current apartment, for a place with no dishwasher and a smaller, apartment sized oven, management needn't be so haughty. It's elegant here but small and lacking. No wonder so many people have left. The parking lot is nearly empty. The new place will be much larger, with many more amenities (many closets, a pantry and large kitchen, sunroom, pond, dining room, huge bedroom and big, new windows everywhere) and is close to everything. I will be able to walk to a quality grocery store, Starbucks and malls, while living in total peace and quiet. It will be a wonderful day when the move is over. Tomorrow I'll see about hiring movers. They will earn their money walking down the loooong corridor it takes to get to my place, after walking stairs. The new place is right in front of the elevator, perfect.

Life is too short to live in places that aren't right for you. I will miss the big lake but will gain a smaller one, with critters to watch too. It's kind of exciting, and scary at the same time, but I'm ready for the change. More later.

Here is a great song by my favorite artist of days gone by..the amazing Billy Joel.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

To Move, or Not to Move..

My lease is up soon and my serene lifestyle at this lakeside apartment complex may be coming to an end. The rent is high to begin with, and now there is new management, who came in like bulldozers, raising rent even higher and being mean to the tenants. We are being bombarded with rude notes, stating rules that weren't there before, and warnings of various kinds - bulk messages sent to everyone, letting us all know who is in charge (among the aparment gestapo - an anal young woman with a huge chip on her shoulder and a large power complex). For this kind of money or less, I can find a better place, without the apartment dictatorship. Most rental agents are polite and want to help. Not this one. She obviously doesn't like herself or anyone else very much. What is this world coming to, geez. They hate old cars, are kicking those with dogs out, etc, etc. So much for a peaceful environment.

I found a potential new place, with a lake behind it,more square footage, convience to stores and the beach, and nice management. This holiday weekend I've been busy weighing what to do. This coming week I will make a decision and act on it. It's all a matter of money. I use my car less these days, so living in walking distance to a major grocery store would be a big plus. Plus, there's a great place for my studio office, with light, windows and room to move. Quiet neighbors and nice owners. It just may work. I have to decide soon, as I haven't paid rent for this month at this place. Hiring a mover and paying rent at the other place would be more to my liking, if (the big if), I can get a lot of items moved without breaking the bank. I have a lot of stuff and a back that can no longer handle heavy lifting. My last move nearly destroyed my spine and caused sciatica, so now I know better.

Either way, the cats will be happy. The new place has critters to watch, from turtles to ducks and egrets. There's no patio but many windows. All my orchids (currently residing on my balcony) would have to live indoors. Moving is a pain. Do I want to do this to myself or suffer through the new dictatorship (I mean management) who has taken over my formerly peaceful complex? Decisions, decisions.