Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Week of New Happenings

It's a flip-flop designing marathon! Now that Zazzle has flip-flops added into our designers' repertoire if we want to do them, and I'm busy doing some for my stores. Heck, I did a whole bunch. I notice that people are putting my products into their newsletters, thank you! Any publicity is good publicity and I appreciate it all. Now, to get them selling! It's early yet, so now I wait. It's all good.

Other news..got my hair cut and it's shoulder length now, feels much cooler than it did before and no longer looks like a bush. As hot as it's been, it's so much better this way. Maybe later I'll get it highlighted but for now, just getting off some of the bulk (well, a lot of bulk, actually) is good enough. I was just too hot with all that hair. It's all about comfort, out here in the country, not fashion.

This evening I watched "Extreme Weight Loss", very educational. Someone younger than I am by a few years lost half her weight on the show, within a year. She looks amazing. I'd like to lose some more weight, and apparently it takes a lot more exercise than I'm doing because I don't eat all that much and weight isn't coming off fast enough. I used to gain and lose weight easily, but it's easier to "plateau" now. So, it's time to buy some home workout tapes and start working out much more. Ugh. Have done it before, will do it again. Richard Simmons had some long ago that I used to use to keep my weight down, so it's time to get new ones like them. Must get off the weight to keep myself healthy/keep away the possibility of diabetes, as the years go by it becomes more important. My Mom and dad eat well and taking care of themselves. Gardening is mom's exercise (and mine) and dad (when he's healed more) will go back to doing exercise at the hospital (weight lifting, treadmill, etc under the watchful eyes of nurses). I'm so glad that they're careful, want them to be happy and healthy for many, many years to come!

Watching the birth of the royal baby on the news has been so heartwarming. I can't help but think about Princess Diana and how thrilled she would be that her son chose such a lovely young woman and has such a good head on his shoulders. Prince William will make sure his son is raised right, after the healthy role model he had in his mother. And Kate is going to have the best support, she will be a wonderful mother, I'm sure. It just seems like yesterday when Charles and Diana were bringing William home from the hospital! Time sure does fly. It's such a tragedy that Diana, who was such a loving, caring mother..is gone and unable to share in the celebration. But the baby is now here, and England celebrates. I've been to Buckingham Palace, and remember standing at the front gates, looking at the immense building. A friend and I nearly got flattened by a Bentley speeding by when we went to cross the street, too, lol. London is such an amazing place. Having been all over England and Wales, the countries are so beautiful and elegant, with such wonderful people (and traditions like "high tea")! They all come together to celebrate these special events with such gusto. Love it.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

July is Hot and Heavy Here in the Country

It's been very hot lately, the "Dog Days" of Summer have arrived early this year. Neither my parents' or my house have any air conditioning so in my case, I use ceiling fans and circulator floor fans to keep comfortable as possible. They do a good job, but when the humidity is high, that's where it gets less bearable. Today I left early to go see my parents, who are feeling the heat, too. I went with mom to her doctor's appointment (she's ok), and we both enjoyed the momentary air conditioning when we stopped at Walmart for groceries and then for lunch at Burger King. Dad stayed home because it's not good for him to be out in this 90 degree heat. We brought him some food and we all visited for awhile, then I went home to install the big fan I bought, in place of the stand fan I previously had that self-destructed in grand fashion (something went off-balance and the propellers carved out the cage, severing it in two before breaking off two of its propellers!) The moral to this story is to never buy plastic caged fans..get the metal ones instead. Much more durable and safe. I always get the circulator fans because they are stronger than the average fan, meant to really push the air around.

Other happenings..a plant was stolen from my garden by the totally pathetic lowlifes who live near me. Last year some cheap annuals were taken, but this year a very nice poppy was taken instead. Bottom feeders feel the need to take instead of be normal, decent people and get their own the moral way. Also, there was broken, jagged shards of glass sprinkled on top of my freshly added, clean dirt! I went into the Sherrif's Office and made a police report and though I have surveillance cameras up now, I'm buying better, more sophisticated surveillance cameras to cover every inch of my property (and record it). When I catch them, I will prosecute. This is the peaceful country, and things like this shouldn't be happening here. Certain people need to get lives and stop doing things to others due to resentment over those who have more than they do. It's a choice..if you want a better life you work for it..legitemately. Duh. I'm not a hell-raiser but I do know how to take care of business / defend myself, if necessary..and I will. No problem.

Otherwise, my garden looks fantastic, flowers are blooming like crazy, I'm harvesting peppers and blueberries, and birds are almost always at my feeders. I can't ask for better. It's so relaxing and peaceful, a rainbow of colors. Next year, assuming most plants live, it will be twice as big, more filled out.

Mom's gardens look amazing, she has worked very hard and it shows. Everything is growing like crazy, very lush and pretty. Once my garden is better established and has extra plants I'll give her some, and I bought peony seeds directly from China, so I can split the seeds with her and we both will try our luck at growing them. One type is pure white, single and the other is cherry red and white, single, both with numerous bright yellow stamens in the middle of the flowers. Gorgeous. I'll consult the County Extension Service to find out how to plant them correctly. I've never had much luck with seeds, but will try again. It's worth a try. Mom and I both just love peony plants..her single red peony is the most gorgeous (and huge) flowering plant I've ever seen.

If you were expecting "hot and heavy" to mean something else, sorry. No romance here at this moment. I'm busy losing weight and exercising by gardening (it burns calories like crazy, believe it or not). It takes time to get some weight off, have done it many times. I eat what I want but half the normal portions, drink lots of water and snack on things like hummus and whole wheat flatbread instead of very fattening things. Anyways, hot is the temperature, and heavy is the humidity! I'll still take this over a snowstorm any day. Time to go back to lying in front of the big fan..

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Catty Women..Can't We All Just Get Along

After years of listening to catty women putting eachother, and myself, down just for the sake of being rude and troublesome, I decided to write about it. For whatever reason, some women just take it upon themselves to make things up, lie, twist situations and then gossip / snipe to their target..and others..about it. It's funny to listen to, because it just shows how little self esteem the person has in doing that, getting false bravado by putting down others for their own "benefit" (laughs, whatever). To them, it's their duty to label, put down, try to compete and snip at others for any reason (rumors, jealousy, rudeness, etc). I've seen so many of these people in office pools, who just refuse to be nice and feel the need to be catty..they just can't help themselves. I'm so glad to not be a party to it, and avoid those people like the plague.

When I was a temp in corporate offices in my younger days, it was amazing how women could be so rude. I remember one time, the territorial office lady whose cubicle was next to mine walked by with a huge piece of cake. She was a tough older woman who had a thing about temps, just hated them. She said to me, "Temps can't have any cake because they aren't real employees". It wasn't the rule, it was just her trying to dominate / rule over me, the newcomer..in her eyes, I was there to take her job..in truth, I wasn't. A man I had gotten to know came up to me and asked if I'd like a piece, said he'd get it for me, so I said, "Thank you". and he brought me a nice sized piece, loaded with frosting flowers (the best kind). I proudly ate it at my desk, talking to him, as the nasty older woman glared in the distance. I seriously could care less about her and her opinions. Felt good to hold my head up high, do my job, and leave the job later when my contract ended. The best thing to do is play dumb with rude people, smile big and laugh at them for spending so much personal energy being unfriendly and aggressive. Don't dignify any of their behavior with getting mad..that's what they want you to do..they want to lessen you or ruin your day. Misery loves company.

Things I've overheard from catty women in the past..."She (me) has too much hair", "If she gets promoted again, I quit"(I got promoted back then because I didn't engage in office gossip and worked hard..very hard), "How come she gets to leave early?" (long ago, I'd done all my work and the boss had let me go home). Ladies..let's all just be nice to one another. Not fakey nice, but really kind, friendly and not looking to gain by putting others down. No passive-aggressiveness but genuine kindness. And for those who like to joke..when you make a joke at someone, it says more about you than it does about that person. And,you come across as petty and mean. Not all office women are this way, of course..most aren't that way..it's always one in every bunch, though. I just laugh to myself, that they put so much energy on thinking about me or whoever else they were trying to dig their claws in. My way of being is to be rational, in control and ignore those who want to cause trouble. Smile and wave, just smile and wave. For busybodies, those who just can't stop gossiping.. minding ones own business is a good idea. If it doesn't pertain to you, then you need to butt out. Common courtesy. There, I'm off of my soap box and having a wonderful day..in my home office. Life is good! :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Rescuing The Mystery Iris Plant and Other Things

This compulsion of mine to rescue things has led me yet again to save another garden plant from being neglected to death. I can't resist seeing good plants being neglected or ignored by retailers. It happens a lot by multiple nurseries, greenhouses and big box stores. Well, today one less plant will need to be thrown out. It was thrown into the "Sale" area only because the identification tags were missing. Mystery iris, with no way of knowing what color the blooms will be (blooming season is well past by now). It appears to be a dwarf iris variety with multiple healthy (but a bit dry) fans of leaves. So, I bought it for five bucks and brought it home. It's planted now, and next Spring I'll see what it actually looks like, assuming that critters leave it alone / it is happy and thrives in my soil. Time will tell.

As Summer progresses, I am enjoying the results of my gardening, with handfuls of blueberries to harvest every day, fresh herbs and soon, peppers. It's been a wonderful summer, and a good break from my drawing for a bit. Sometimes I just need to get away from it all and be in Nature. My metabolism is all jazzed up, and it's making me lose weight. My health has been shaky due to the infection in my system from a tooth abcess. It's been nothing short of Hell so I've been on a kick to improve my wellbeing, to help fight it. It's a slow process but is going in the right direction.

Dad has been doing steadily better after having his gall bladder removed. He's getting his energy back slowly and his blood is better oxygenated. It's wonderful that his home nurse comes and checks him every week, and the doctor checks in with him, too. Mom is busy with her garden and whenever we can, we go greenhouse hopping, to see what's on sale or what the latest plants are. It's soo nice in the country, where fashion isn't important. Gone are the days of dressing up, but keep it casual/classic to very casual, depending on what's going on. I have nice clothes in my closets but rarely need them. I'd rather spend time and money on plants or books (my two weaknesses). Mom is the same, we love our gardening, cats and being in Nature. Dad isn't much for going out except to the store or bank, so it's good for mom to be busy with her gardens or go with me here and there (as long as we get along).

It's 11pm and I just got finished making Refrigerator Yeast Roll dough, a recipe my family has used all of my life. It came from an old Pepperidge Farm Cookbook, and mom taught me to make them when I was a kid. Breadmaking is very therapeutic to me, and it's fun to experiment. I can make cinnamon rolls out of the same dough, or a loaf of bread but the usual rolls are the best. Mom's cookbook collection is immense, she has all the classic ones and keeps detailed notes on what recipes were good and what wasn't. She's an amazing cook. I remember as a little kid being with her when she watched Julia Child's shows, along with the Galloping Gourmet, Graham Kerr. Mom got into French cooking mostly but has tried just about every recipe around. As for me, I go for a variety of styles from Mexican, Chinese, Indian and of course, American home cooking. Baking has been my thing. In college I used to make homemade apple strudel in the dorms, which requires pounding the strudel dough on the table fifty times (at least) to make it stretch across the table, to be then topped with filling then rolled up. My friends used to line up for a piece of it, so much fun. My men friends called me "Betty Crocker",some even helped me pound the dough on the table.. lol. Those were the days.

This week I'm finally breaking down and getting my hair cut (trimmed/shaped). It's been on the "to do" list forever so I'm finally doing it. Another task needing to be done is working on my new clothing store. I worked on it yesterday for awhile and will do more of it tomorrow, onwards. I got a request from a customer to do certain types of shirts so I added them to my inventory, and will do more, too. Zazzle has stressed me out with all its changes lately, so I'm doing things on a slower pace so my brain doesn't explode with stress. Change is no fun, and when they do a lot of it all at once, it's enough to be frustrating..hence, the breaks. Resting has helped but it's time to gear back up..the Fall season (and my fiftieth birthday!!) are approaching. It's all good.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Hair, Health and Whatever

It's been a wonderful week of really not doing any artwork whatsoever, after dad's gall bladder operation (he is doing fine, and recuperating nicely). I'm taking time off to relax, rest and spend some time in Nature.

What a perfect time of year to be outside! I have been busy gardening until my energy gives out, every day. I've been on a mission to get healthier, lose weight and lessen the infection (from my teeth) that has been hard to shake off, which makes me tired a lot. Taking naps, eating more fruits (blueberries from my bushes, especially) and vegetables and drinking lots of water have helped. I'm not hungry most of the time, just lose interest in eating for long periods of time, which is good. Maybe it's s menopause issue, (which for me has been a cake walk). I've known people my age who have had their hormones go haywire, mine are pretty stable and have been for a long time. I used to get cold really easily when young, not anymore. Just want to keep my health going well, and am more mindful of keeping healthy, after seeing how much mom and dad have had to go through in the last year. They are doing ok, thanks to being good to their bodies for the most part, all of their lives.

As for me, I've spent my life eating whatever I want, whenever I want. The thrill of that has lessened as the years went by as weight creeped up, was lost then creeped up again. What? I can't eat a bunch of donuts at one sitting anymore? Ok, well, a donut or two once in awhile is ok. On my birthday, the sheet cake (yellow cake/white buttercream icing/loaded with frosting flowers)..and a fork tradition continues but is tempered quite a bit. One formerly once a year pig out that now ends up with me putting most of it into the freezer for later. That tradition started when I was a pre-teen and mom wouldn't get me a cake/told me I didn't need a birthday cake since she thought I didn't need the calories. So I bought my own..from Hough Bakeries..quarter sheet cake covered with flowers. And that tradition lives on, and will, forever (unlike wonderful Hough, which unfortunately closed years ago). I miss those days when metabolism ran like a furnace, being able to chow down on these things with little worry. Good times! Time to be more mindful of my eating habits, don't want to get diabetes..or anything else from poor eating choices.

Being a night owl by nature, nighttime is perfect for reading books, researching things on the internet and working on my websites/draw pictures. I'm less into the social life in the city now that I live further out in the country and my friends have mostly moved far away or are online. It's ok, just keeping busy with my business, garden and projects is very satisfying. Independence is great. I've shied away from boyfriends ever since the last one turned out to be abusive and pretty much insane. I left him and moved to Florida, kicking myself for letting that clown into my life, never looking back. Felon in a three-piece suit. That was ten years ago, since then I don't trust easily and don't want to make more mistakes. Better to be safe than sorry. Nobody needs to feel sorry for me at all, as my life is fine! Maybe I'll let someone in, sometime..maybe. I actually tremble and sweat when flirted with at times. Other times I like it. There are few people I trust in this world..it's kind of strange but that's what happens after being with someone who turned out to be dangerous. Trust is the basis of any relationship..when I do trust, that's the biggest compliment of all.

Mom and dad's former neighbor in Beachwood has sold her home after the death of her husband and is moving far away. They lived there for many, many years. It's so sad to see her go, my parents used to go to their parties every year and they were good friends. Her husband, a doctor who is responsible partly for finding a cure for Polio, lived until nearly 100 years old. I was fortunate to visit them with my parents last year and see him before he died. She is doing ok now, but is moving to be closer to her family in New England. I won't use her name here for the family's privacy but wish her all the best. And thank you for the lovely present you sent me. Keep in touch with our family!

Next week I go to the dermatologist out at the Clinic in Chagrin, yearly check for skin cancer. Get my hair done later that week at a hair salon. After weeks of living in a big pile of hair frizz, I'm getting off my lazy derriere and getting it cut. Ugh. It scares small children and makes people run in horror (kidding), well, sort of. Short hair makes me look silly so the length stays, just needs shaping. I used to get my hair cut every eight weeks, but since working on my own, away from corporate/office settings, and living away from the hairdresser I always went to, the habit ceased years ago. Two hundred dollars to get highlights, cut with extra hair (more money) charge gets really old after awhile. This time I'm just getting the cut, no highlights. I no longer pluck silver hairs on my head. If I did, I'd be bald. Let the middle aged freak flag fly..it's ok. My dad has pure white, gorgeous hair, Scots/Irish coloration all the way. When I'm his age, that would be nice..for now, it's salt and pepper dishwater blondish whatever. I embrace my age the best I can (nearly fifty)..but won't ever fully act it (that's no fun).

My hair frizziness was alive and well in Mexico. Here I was in Tulum, this hairstyle reminds me of the wool of an unshorn sheep.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

It's a Hot, Humid and Busy July So Far

It's been a busy month already for my parents and I. Dad is home from the hospital and doing well, getting stronger day by day but still needs to be monitored closely by his doctors and home nurse. I'm glad they keep an eye on him, he's in good hands and sounding so much more energetic and enthousiastic now that his gall bladder is gone. He's glad to be home with mom and the cats. He can enjoy this Independence Day tomorrow on their porch, watching the parade instead of stuck in a hospital bed. How boring that had to have been for him! But he's out and on the mend. Thank God!

As for me, I had dental work today and am so glad to have new temporaries on top, with my gums trimmed back (love that..bye, bye gummy smile). It's a process, fighting my own health issues (infection) but Dr. Slaten says it's looking better, slowly the infection is less strong. What a contrast from last year when it raged so badly and I had to sleep all of the time. Now I'm still tired but going with the flow. Despite having a lot of work done today I feel no pain tonight.Life is good!

The weather has been extremely humid. My hair currently pretty much looks like this:

Oh, the indignity of it all! I am getting it all trimmed later this month, to control this bushy insanity. In hot weather there are times where having short hair wouldn't be a bad idea..but I'm going to keep it long..too set in my ways to make drastic changes!

The Zazzle stores have now all been converted to their new format, which doesn't allow HTML coding. Now we wait to see how sales go, given the new look. I must admit I've been very worried but to my surprise, sales are coming in pretty well so far. And for this time of year with is never a great selling time. I am keeping the faith and taking a break from drawing for a bit, concentrating on my gardening and nice, soothing things.

The Ice plant bloometh!

These little plants are in my rock garden area. I saw them growing in large masses in California, and now they are for sale here in Ohio. I bought two, held my breath and planted them. And to my surprise, they look right at home where I planted them. I hope they make it through the winter..they're marked as perennials so I have high hopes.

My garden looks happy, nearly everything is growing and blooming. It feels good to see the plants, some were rescued from Home Depot and other venues, on the verge of death, and brought here to recuperate. A little plant food, sun and rain and they look healthy again. Love it.

Coreopsis and Asiatic Lilies

And last, but definitely not least..the cats have been having a great old time watching birds this summer. If they were humans, they'd be addicted to tv! It's so cute to see Farrah cackle at the birds with her tiny little voice. The other two don't do that, they just watch with big, saucer shaped eyes as the goldfinches eat their seed only a few feet from their faces.

Traffic jam at the bird-watching window